Saturday, November 19, 2016


Today’s bloggy thing resumes my 136-part series on the comic books that hit the newsstands in the month of July 1963. That month was pivotal to my comic-book career because it was the month when Fantastic Four Annual #1 ignited my desire to write comics.

Augie Doggie #1 [October 1963) was a one-shot starring the Hanna-Barbera cartoon canine and his doting dad. Though the Grand Comics Database doesn’t have writer or artist credits, we know from Jerry Bails’ Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928-1999 that this issue was likely drawn by Harvey Eisenberg and written by Carl Fallberg. Eisenberg was an animator who worked for Hanna-Barbera and who also drew a great many comic books featuring the company’s characters. Fallberg was a writer/cartoonist of animated features and TV cartoons for Disney Studios, Hanna-Barbera, and Warner Brothers. He wrote comics for Disney Comics, Dell Comics, Western Publishing  and Gold Key Comics.

The inside front cover of the issue has a “Keys of Knowledge” page on “Domestic Animals,” specifically “The Cocker Spaniel.” The GCD identifies it as a text page, but that’s wrong. It’s a comic page consisting of a title panel and five panels drawn by Jack Sparling. Most of the information on the page concerns Flush, a dog owned by the invalid poetess Elizabeth Barrett.

I’ll be describing this issue’s comics stories in detail, so let’s throw up this warning...


Augie and Doggie Daddy pay a visit to “Dear Grandpa” in “Frontier Fracas” (8 pages). They have to enter through a window because the front door is blocked by a pyramid of milk bottles. Inside, a note informs them that the absent-minded Grandpa has left to become the  sheriff of Bushwack...without telling them or canceling his milk delivery. That absent-mindedness is key to this story.

By train and then really slow stagecoach, Augie and Daddy travel to Bushwack. Their stage is held up by an owlhoot, but Grandpa manages to capture the bad guy despite his absent-mindedness.

Scared for Grandpa’s safety, father and son tie up the sheriff and his guns...just as a bank robber hits town. Worse, Grandpa didn’t remember to lock the cell he put the stagecoach robber in or check the bad guy for hidden guns. But...

The bank and stagecoach robbers are enemies. They start shooting at each other. When they run out of bullets, the townspeople capture them easily.

Entering the sheriff’s office, the citizens are not pleased to see Grandpa tied up:

CITIZEN ONE: We like the way his absent-mindedness works!

CITIZEN TWO: Things always end up peachy keen-plus!

DADDY: Hmmm...come to think...just since we’ve been observing, justice has been victorious!
Daddy and Augie apologize for interfering. Grandpa forgives them. As they leave, he runs after them:

Oops! I just now remembered...Howdy, fellas!

In the next story, Daddy has a job as a “Night Watchdog” (6 pages) and has hired the energetic Mrs. Harf to babysit Augie. The older woman can match Augie beat for beat, save that he’s able to remain awake longer. Sneaking out of the house, he goes to visit Daddy at the Boxa-Bones warehouse.

Augie arrives just after crooks have broken into the warehouse and tied up Daddy. Daddy tells Augie to take the phone of the work to alert the operator, but the phone rings before the lad can do that. Mrs. Harf has awoken and, discovering Augie gone, called Daddy at his job. The crooks hear the phone and spot Augie.

Mrs. Harf goes to the warehouse to retrieve Augie, bringing along the toy gun she carries. She thinks she’s getting the drop on the lad, but, instead, she startles the crooks long enough for Augie to bury them in boxes.

Daddy and Augie are mightily impressed by the babysitter. In fact, when Daddy gets home, Mrs. Harf is handcuffed to a chair.

MRS. HARF: I can’t go home! He likes me so much, he’s handcuffed me!

AUGIE: Terrific, huh, dear dad? And she only charges 75 cents an hour!

DADDY: *Ulp!*

In 2016 dollars, seventy-five cents would be just under six bucks. Good luck finding a babysitter who works that cheap!

Augie and Daddy come across a dog with a big problem in “The Last Lap.” As the dog explains:

I was raised as a lap dog, and a lap is the only place I can sleep! But I’ve outgrown most laps!

Father and son try to find the dog a suitable lap. A man waiting for a bus has too skinny a lap. A carnival fat lady has no lap when she’s sitting down. Three men on a bench have enough combined lap space, but proclaim:

We’re not a flophouse for a flea bag!

Finally, success. A statue of Sitting Bull proves just right. But all three dogs are now so tired that they all decided to sleep on the statue’s lap.

Next up is “Champion Sugar-Bowlers,” a one-page text story starring mice Pixie and Dixie and the feline Mr. Jinks. I almost never read text stories in comic books and didn’t read this one either.

Second-class postage regulations meant most comic books had to have more than one feature. So this issue presented “Will the Real Yakky Doodle Please Stand Up” (6 pages).

Fibber Fox is practicing with a Yakky Doodle dummy in the hopes he will be able to catch the real duckling. Yakky coats the dummy with invisible hot sauce and the race is on. It ends with Yakky seeking refuge in Chopper’s doghouse. Fibber turns tail and runs away.

However...Chopper isn’t there. Yakky goes to a costume shop to get a Chopper costume to fool Fibber.

Fibber sees Yakky in the protective arms of “Chopper” and sees that the dog - who he thinks is the real Chopper - isn’t wearing a dog license. Fibber reports this to the dogcatcher. When the man tries to grab the fake Chopper, he is not amused by his discovery that it ain’t Chopper. He bops Fibber with his net.

Yakky returns, but Fibber is between him and the doghouse. A chase ensues. Chopper returns to his doghouse, sees his double and thinks it’s cute. He puts it in the doghouse and then takes a nap outside same. You know what happens next, right?

Yakky eludes Fibber and heads for the protective arms of the napping Chopper. Fibber bops the dog on the head. Chopper wakes up and he’s not happy. POW!

With stars spinning around his head, Fibber asks Yakky where he got the Chopper costume. He promises not to use the information against the duckling...and he keeps his word.

What Fibber does is get a Fibber costume. The story ends with Fibber kicking his dummy because “As long as I’m going to kick myself, I might as well do it the painless way!”

“Autograph Hound’ (6 pages) is the last story in the issue and it’s a wild one. Augie has collected “autographs of all the most famous people in the world, except one!” That one is Tidewater Tycoon, the zillionaire. Daddy says that will be tough. Augie is well aware of that: “Nobody has ever been able to get his signature! I’d be the first one!”

Daddy is there to help his ambitious offspring. A direct visit to Tycoon’s office gets them a printed copy of Tidewater’s name. It’s not a real autograph.

Augie and Daddy pose as window washers and learn Tidewater doesn’t even sign business papers. He uses a stamp. Discovered, father and son are thrown out of the office.

The undaunted duo take things way too far when they go to Tycoon’s house and gain entrance by digging under the stone wall surrounding the place. They trigger alarms and are caught by a shotgun-holding Tidewater. He locks them in a storage room while he goes to phone the police.

DADDY: This room must contain every document, deed and letter Tidewater has ever had! I’ll bet his signature is here someplace!

AUGIE: Gee! There’s even a little box filled with his old school papers! He saves everything!
Including a letter from a former teacher:

Dear Mrs. Tycoon:

We’ll have to expell Tidewater. He’s so busy buying and selling marbles at a profit that he never studies. He can’t even write his name.

Sincerely, Miss Teachum

[Yes, I know “expel” is spelled wrong. Makes me wonder if part of Tidewater’s problem was that he had a lousy teacher.]

Confronted with the truth, Tycoon cancels his call to the police. He thinks Augie and Daddy want to blackmail him, but all they want is the man’s autograph. But he says they know he can’t even write his own name.

Augie says that doesn’t make a difference as he shows Tidewater the autograph of actor Rock Mudson. The zillionaire explains that you can’t even read it. The lad explains: "The more famous people are, the less you can read their autograph!" 

Since Tidewater is very famous, he realizes a wiggly line would be enough for his autograph. He’s very happy because he always wanted to sign his name. Augie is thrilled because he now has the rarest autograph in the world.

The story ends with Tidewater Tycoon sitting behind a booth on the sidewalk giving out his autograph to anyone who wants it. Augie and Daddy are understanding about this.

AUGIE: Gee, my Tidewater’s autograph is practically worthless! He gives out so many these days!

DADDY: Heh-heh! But you’ve made him happy and that’s the best sign of all!


The inside back cover is another “Keys of Knowledge” page drawn by Jack Sparling. It’s the tenth installment of “Fish” and it focuses on the Sea Horse.

The back-cover is a repeat of the cover art sans the comic’s logo, trade dress, price and other copy. It’s designated as “Augie Doggie Pin-Up No. 1".

A quick closing thought...

Augie Doggie and Daddy Doggie were a funny and heartwarming pair. In these days when single parents are common, I think they deserve another shot at stardom. The key would be to find the right balance between their relationship and today’s often crude world, fraught as it is with challenges that would have never seen the light of a 1963 comic book.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2016 Tony Isabella


  1. Two things:

    1) It's Fibber, not Fiber. He's not good for your digestion.

    2) Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy are clearly influenced by Spike and Tyke, who Hanna and Barbera created at MGM. Both feature fathers who talk like Jimmy Durante. Whoever owns the copyright to Augie and his Dad are unlikely to bring them back, if for no other reason that Spike and Tyke have been showing up pretty regularly in the DTV Tom and Jerry movies.

  2. 1) Thanks for the correction. I think I fixed them all.

    2) For some reason, I never watched many of the Tom and Jerry cartoons. I know who Spike and Tyke are, but never made the connection. I'm guessing Hanna and Barbera like the duo and did another take on them for their own company.

  3. HB was not averse to mining their past successes. At the same time they were turning Spike & Tyke into Augie Doggie & Doggie Daddy, they wrought the very talky Pixie, Dixie & Mr. Jinks from the silent Tom & Jerry.

    But that's nothing compared to how they milked Scooby Doo. As soon as they knew they had a hit, they came up with Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Here Comes Buford, The Funky Phantom, Jabberjaw, Speed Buggy, Captain Caveman, even a teen-aged Pebbles & Bamm Bamm. (Should it worry me that I came up with that list with no research?)

    When they weren't ripping themselves off, they grabbed inspiration from almost anywhere. Joe Barbera admitted he liked The Honeymooners and used them as the template for the Flintstones. He never did that again -- admit it, I mean. Top Cat was a furry Bilko; the Jetsons were (supposedly) a space-age Life of Riley. Even the cast of Scooby Doo were said to be the leads of the Dobie Gillis show plus Marmaduke. The new Scooby Apocalypse book pays homage to this theory -- two of the scientists who brought this hell to Earth are Drs. Hickman and Krebs (the actor who played Dobie, and Bob Denver's character, respectively).

    There's a book out there called the Art of Hanna-Barbera: Fifty Years of Creativity. In my meaner moments I imagine they overestimated by a factor of ten.