Thursday, December 6, 2012

POGO Christmas 1949 & 1958

Walt Kelly *loved* Christmas. Every year in his comic-strip POGO he had his critters celebrate the holiday in several ways. One of the most famous was having his characters sing the nonsense Christmas Carol, "Deck Us All With Boston Charlie!" I have read that this was Kelly's way of making fun of the crass  commercialization of the holiday; people running around not knowing what they were supposed to be celebrating. "Christ is the reason for the season" was definitely a sub-theme of the strip, as every year when the holiday hi-jinks got especially out of hand, one of the children or Porky Pine would remind everyone what they were actually supposed to be celebrating.
Which brings us back to the other, less famous Walt Kelly POGO tradition. I haven't read *every* Christmas POGO strip, but I have seen enough to know that it was a trend for Porky Pine to go over to Pogo's house on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning and give him a present. Porky Pine didn't like showing his true feelings to his friends, but Pogo was his best buddy and he couldn't let the day go by without giving him a token of his affection.

Below is the strip from 1949, the first time Porky Pine went over to Pogo's place. Albert was there, but usually he was not...

Oddly enough, this "gag" was repeated several years later, in 1958. In 1949 POGO was not yet nationally syndicated; it was a local strip only. So Kelly probably realized that this situation was good for another go. Compared to the first instance, the 1958 *is* better executed. Plus I like the idea that all of the characters know that Porky is only pointed on the outside; on the inside he loves 'em. kindly.

Next Week: More Christmas POGO fun!!

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