Monday, October 27, 2008

Payback Mary Worth Style

For those who enjoyed Sunday's post about Li'l Abner's parody of Mary Worth, I have searched and searched for the Mary Worth story that was satirizing Al Capp, the beloved author of Li'l Abner.

Using a resource sent to me by Tina, I've been able dig through the Cedar Rapids Library archives and grab these scans from the original 1957 paper. They are hard to read, but I think they're worth the effort! You can click on the images for larger versions.


Nathan said...

I love how Old Mary curses..."Shades of Bluebeard..."; how classic!

The rest of the story is good, too, replete with unrequited love, evil theater stars, and violence (but now that I think about it, Old Mary really doesn't do any actual meddling in this story...a little disappointing, to be honest), but that has to be the highlight.

"Shades of Bluebeard..." Could Old Mary get any cooler?

Wanders said...

I'm not sure "Shades of Bluebeard" was an oath, but rather an observation regarding Hal Rapp's behavior. However, when I first read it, I also thought it was an excellent expletive.

And I agree; this story is cooler than any Mary Worth story I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

Excellent work Wanders. How fascinating to see an example of "Mary Worth" in her prime. The contrast in quality is astonishing. Comparing the superior writing and art of 1957 to that of 2008 is like comparing a professional to an amateur. Just another example of the "ebbs and flows of progress" I suppose. I said it before and I say it again: Moy is not up to the task of preserving the Mary Worth legacy.

Anonymous said...

nathan-what do you mean no meddling? How about dropping the bombshell that Phil just married Leah as the nervous understudy is about to go on stage? While it may not be actual meddling as we're accustomed to seeing, it's certainly fouling up someone else's life at an inopportune moment. Some things never change.


Incidentally, my word verification for this post is "stona," which puts me in mind of some karaoke we were doing at my sister's house in VA a couple of months ago. I sang "King Tut" (of Steve Martin fame), which ended--according to the karaoke text--"Got a condom made of stone-a" Not exactly what we were expecting to expose the many kids in the room to.

Nathan said...

Anonymous is right; I did indeed miss the one instance of meddling in this story, where Old Mary, in her light, diabolical fashion, almost succeeds in ruining Ms Unrequited Love's only chance at fame by telling her of Mr. Bland Love Interest's marriage to Ms. Snooty Theater Star... I'm sorry, Old Mary! I should not have lost faith!

Though I will have to take off points for her not actually succeeding in destroying the poor girl's life. But, ah, well...better luck next time, Old Mary.

Anonymous said...

not wheelhead anonymous and wanders--

totally agree on the old Mary being far superior. Perhaps Karen Moy dug out some of the archived stories recently and saw how briskly they moved along. Might explain how Mary made it from Santa Royale to Lake Tranquil in two days, vice the amny months I was anticipating.


Hal Rapp said...

The artwork is also far more energetic and varied in the half-century-old strips. I wonder how many times they'd need to be run through the Giella/Moy Bland-erizer(TM) to start looking like the Mary Worth we know today? Twenty? Thirty?

Amber said...

This made me so happy, I almost cried. Of course, Mary would NEVER read "Lil' Abn--excuse me, "Big Abe" while it was actually current, but you can bet your Posturepedic shoes she reads him now, if only to find fault and ascribe platitudes to all the situations.

Wanders, you're wonderful.

JLH said...

Oh thank you! You ARE wonderful indeed!

boojum said...

[Dateline: Wednesday]:

Uh... wanders? Should we send out a search party? Do you have any idea how we worry when you go off like this and your mother and I don't know where you are?!?

Also: WARNING, READERS! Do not be fooled by the small ad under the banner claiming "Mary Worth is here," and promising to provide her address and phone number. There is no "Mary Worth" listed for Santa Royale! And we know our Mary would never have un unlisted number, as that would drastically reduce the number of her vict—... I mean, the people who come to her for help.


Drak said...


I'm sure wanders doesn't complain when you click on his Google Ads!

I'm going to go visit his sponsors right now!