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Comic Strip / Toots and Casper

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Toots and Casper was a long-running family newspaper comic created by cartoonist Jimmy Murphy. It was distributed by King Features Syndicate between 1918 and 1956.

It centered on the eponymous newlyweds, blonde beauty Toots and her smaller and somewhat older husband Casper. The family was rounded out by their son Buttercup (born in 1920) and their pet dog Spare-Ribs, who often participated in dog races.

Initially a "gag-a-day" comic, by the late 1920s the strip began developing story-lines that lasted for months featuring the couple's close circle, including their neighbors the Hoofers as well as Casper's millionaire uncle Everett Chuckle and Toots' Uncle Abner.

This comic provides examples of

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Toots was initially a brunette until 1925, when she became a blonde, with tones varying with the years, from brownish to yellowish to reddish.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: The strip was quite popular from the beginning, but it was not until Buttercup was born when the comic became a hit.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The strip began with a "gag-a-day" format, but by the mid-to-late 1920s Murphy introduced lengthy romance and mystery story-lines
    • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Later story-lines were Denser and Wackier, often featurng fantasy elements (this after melodrama stories lost their place in the funny pages during the war). Towards the end of the strip's life, continuities were ditched altogether in favor of the self-contained format used at the beginning.
  • Character Title/Name and Name
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first few years of the strip had Casper as a minor character, playing Henpecked Husband to Toots. He was also smaller and was depicted as an explicitly middle-aged guy.
  • Happily Married: Toots and Casper's marriage, while not too different from those that populate the comic pages nowadays, was a huge departure from most strips of the time, which often featured put-upon husbands abused by their wives.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Buttercup was depicted as a toddler until the 1942, when he abruptly became a six-year-old boy.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Casper was nominally an attorney, but he was rarely featured working on cases.
  • Print Long-Runners: The strip ran daily from 1918 to 1951, with a Sunday page running from 1920 until 1956.
  • Sexy Secretary: Toots once posed as one (with a brunette wig and a French-like accent) to check on Casper, who eventually catches the ruse and "fires" the "secretary" to avoid interfering with his marriage.
  • Sunday Strip: The Sunday installments not only featured separate storylines, but also sparked a fad for "comic stamps" beginning in 1931 and "paper dolls" starting in 1932. Both innovations were copied by most comic strips during the 1930s. It's Papa Who Pays! ran as a "topper" strip from 1926 to c. 1941. And unlike other strips, Toots and Casper's Sunday installments were in full-page format until the end.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Casper was small and balding, while Toots was one of the first good-looking women featured in the funnies.