Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

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» Monday, January 10, 2005
Adventure! Fun! Puzzles!
Curiosity has finally been [partially] satisfied in a years-long memory of the past.

Sometime during the 1960s--I was pretty sure it was pre-1968 because that was when my father fixed the basement--the Providence Evening Bulletin ran a comic strip I remembered being called "Einstein."

(What did the basement have to do with it? Well, before Dad fixed the basement, there were newspapers stacked in one corner. I had always planned to look through these papers to see if I could find some of the "Einstein" strips, but I was told not to touch the papers and so never did.)

This was a daily strip--no Sundays--that lasted about a year (in the end, it could have been early 70s, but I swore I was in elementary school when it was published). It concerned the adventures of a talking dog and his human friend (a little like Mr. Peabody and Sherman, but they didn't time travel and I remember the dog being more like a terrier-type). (It was NOT Tintin and Snowy.) They had Indiana Jones-type adventures around the world, finding lost treasures in the jungle, etc. The gimmick (well, besides the dog being able to talk) of the strip was that the last panel was always some type of puzzle they had to solve to get on to the next sequence of adventures (their lives might depend upon it, or they needed it as a clue, etc.). The puzzle could be an anagram, a number square, a jumble, something like that.

I loved the puzzles and the story and was very unhappy when it ended (and it did actually end, the paper didn’t quit carrying it). After a few years, the memory of this strip became kind of surreal. My parents didn’t even remember it, nor did anyone I ever asked about it. I was wondering if I’d imagined the entire thing.

Three years ago I asked about it on the Usenet group rec.arts.comics.strips. These folks had a vast range of comics interest, maybe one of them knew. Unfortunately the result was disappointing. One gentleman said he looked it up and could not find it in a book called 100 Years of American Comics. (I then wondered if perhaps the strip was locally produced or perhaps Canadian.) Another person wondered why I didn’t contact the newspaper, which I did; they said they were "too busy" to help me.

Since hitting the Providence Public Library and the microfilm stacks from 1100 miles away was a bit out of the question, the strip identity simmered until a week ago, when I posted the question yet again.

Glory be, someone actually had a few crumbs of information. Thanks to Merlin Haas, who got the info from Allan Holtz's Strippers' Guide:
Einstein, daily only, Jan. 6, 1964 to Feb. 13, 1965.
writer: Jay Heavilin; artist: Frank Johnson (who later drew "Boner's Ark")
George Matthew Adams Syndicate
"Einstein the dog presents puzzles in a standard daily format."

It also ran in the Staten Island Advance.
I had always assumed the strip ran about 1967 and was quite surprised to see it went that far back that far. I would have just turned eight when the very first strip was published. Maybe sometime I’ll get the chance to look it up and see again what charmed me so back then.