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Comic Strip / Alley Oop

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Alley Oop and Dinny

"There's a man in the funny papers we all know
He lives way back a long time ago
He don't eat nothin' but a bearcat stew
Well, this cat's name is-a Alley-Oop."
The Hollywood Argyles , "Alley-Oop"

Alley Oop is a long-running Newspaper Comic featuring the adventures of the eponymous caveman and a supporting cast that includes his girlfriend Ooola, his dinosaurnote  Dinny, and his best friend Foozy (who speaks entirely in rhyming couplets).

The series was created by V.T. Hamlin, and debuted in 1932. A major development came in 1937, with a storyline in which Alley Oop and Ooola were accidentally zapped into the 20th century by an experimental time machine invented by one Dr. Elbert Wonmug. Subsequent storylines have involved Alley Oop visiting many intervening periods of history.

The comic strip also inspired a novelty song of the same name, which became a #1 hit for the Hollywood Argyles in 1960,note  and was covered by The Beach Boys for their Party! album in 1965.

Alley Oop provides examples of:

  • Art Evolution: Alley once receives a visit from his "no-good" lookalike cousin Early Oop, who looks like Alley from the early days of the comic. Alley can't understand why his friends keep saying they look alike.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Alley Oop enjoys a good brawl every now and then.
  • The Bus Came Back: Foozy had been Brother Chucked years earlier, but when the Benders took over as creative team, they chose to bring him back as Alley's best friend.
  • Contemporary Caveman: Alley has been shuttling back and forth from our time to his own for so many years that he's perfectly comfortable in our world, but he's still always happy to return home. Ditto for Ooola. Recent years have seen King Guz, Queen Umpa, and th' Wizer visit the present as well.
  • Dumb Dinos: There was a series of educational strips called "Dinny's Family Album" that went into detail about the dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures in the comic. Many of them played this trope straight. In the strips proper, Dinny was friendly but not very smart.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Oscar Boom went straight so many decades ago that many current readers weren't aware that he started out as a crook, and that he had never gone to trial or served jail time for his crimes. Recent storylines have finally addressed this.
  • Eternal English: Everybody in Alley's time speaks modern English. It's not a case of Translation Convention, either — when Alley and Ooola were first transported to the 20th century, they could instantly communicate with Wonmug and his assistant.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: The first storyline where Alley visited the present time was all about this. Averted later in the comic's run, after Alley learned what life in the 20th century is like.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Oscar Boom, during the Benders' run.
  • Insistent Terminology: If anyone calls Dinny a pet, Alley will be quick to correct them: Dinny is his friend and he's free to come and go as he pleases. Dinny spends most of his time out in the wild and it's not like Alley could restrain Dinny (even if he wanted to). Dinny hangs out with Alley because he likes him.
  • No-Neck Chump: Alley and a few of his caveman buddies. Acknowledged in-universe; it actually prevents a vampire from biting him in one story.
  • Not the Nessie: Dinny tagged along on Alley's adventure in medeival Scotland. Suffice it that the Scots still remember his visit.
  • Primitive Clubs: Alley Oop traditional fights with a simple stone mace. Parodied when a "Faraweek cage" disables all advanced technology in the area, including Alley's "Super Club 2000" — despite it being just a wooden stick with two, instead one, stone heads.
  • Punny Name: Doc Wonmug = "One Mug," that is, "Ein Stein"
    • "Alley Oop" is itself a play on the French acrobatic term "Allez, hop!"
    • Ooola's full name is Ooola La, as in "Ooh la la!"
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: The kingdoms of Moo and Lem are named for Mu and Lemuria.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Foozy
  • Theme Park Version: Over the decades, Alley has visited just about every place and time period you can think of, but they are usually the theme park version. Especially the prehistoric world he comes from.
  • Soft Reboot: After the Benders retired from the comic, the new creator established that his stories take place in an Alternate Continuity universe, where the old strip's events can be referenced in Broad Strokes, but things aren't quite the same.