Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Scooter, Scooter, Scooter (in a Cary Grant Voice)

Swing with Scooter 20 (Aug-Sep/69), the Giant Summer Fun annual, needed reprints, but the title was only three years old. That wasn't a problem; DC had repurposed old stories before—modernizing hairstyles and fashions (Binky, romance stories) or outright turning characters into new ones (Dobie Gillis and Maynard G. Krebs into Windy and Willy).

By this point, though, Scooter had been transformed from the original design ghosted by Jerry Grandenetti in a Joe Orlando look into a more-or-less Bob Montana look, with Henry Scarpelli's full art on covers and his inks over other artists' interior pencils. (The Binky and Debbi titles would soon follow suit.) Anything from five or ten years earlier would have to be redrawn to match the style in Scooter 19 and 21.

But since the point was to save money on "reprints," the bare minimum of revision was called for. That meant some characters were not redrawn. People with Scarpelli's Archie-style heads would interact with Bob Oksner's and Mort Drucker's caricature-realistic folks.
Date with Judy 77, Swing with Scooter 20
I had no idea at first where the original stories (evidently untitled and so not cross-indexed on the GCD) might be turned up. Then I found that the long-time artist of the radio tie-in A Date with Judy, Graham Place, did most of that title's run but not the last of it. Oksner and Drucker came aboard for the final year (Oksner had been given the cover art assignments on Judy a bit before that). I don't know who was writing the Date with Judy stories in 1960. Cal Howard?

Their A DATE WITH JUDY Sources

"If It's Free, I'll Take It"
  Story 1, ADWJ 77 (Jun-Jul/60) a: Bob Oksner
"Sign Here, Please"
  Story 3, ADWJ 79 (Oct-Nov/60) a: Mort Drucker
"Carnival Time"
  Story 3, ADWJ 78 (Aug-Sep/60) a: Drucker
"Cousin Roger's Hang-Up"
  Story 2, ADWJ 77 (Jun-Jul/60) a: Drucker
"Golf Anyone"
  Story 3, ADWJ 74 (Dec/59-Jan/60) a: Graham Place
"Cool Bongos"
  Story 3, ADWJ 78 (Aug-Sep/60) a: Drucker
"Johnny, You Kill Me"
  Story 1, ADWJ 76 (Apr-May/60) a: Drucker


  1. Does anyone know if DC actually had the rights to do this, or if they just did it and hoped the Date with Judy folks didn't notice?

    Under a standard licensing contract, those Date with Judy stories would have belonged to the Date with Judy company, and DC couldn't have re-purposed them like this. Now, there is some evidence that DC liked to sign non-standard licensing contracts when possible, where DC owned the copyright on the story and art while the copyrights on the characters still belonged to the license-owner. Which would make this totally above board. But I think it's just as likely they didn't have the rights to do this, and just went for it...

  2. Of course the Date with Judy owners probably never did notice.

    On Windy and Willy, even if DC had the rights to the Dobie Gillis material, you'd have to think that they then lost the permission to use Dwayne Hickman's and Bob Denver's likenesses; but the two were still pretty recognizable, added granny glasses or not.

    I'm surprised DC didn't redo Jerry Lewis stories as Steve Martin ones in the 80s...

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