I was born in Philadelphia. Well, I wasn't exactly born, I was
discovered there by Benjamin Franklin (Oct. 5, 1922). I grew up in
that city with a penn by my side--William Penn! When asked who
cracked the Liberty Bell I replied, "Not me!"--my first association
with that invisible gremlin who showed up in "The Family Circus"
many years later.
Taught myself to draw, so I can't blame anyone but me. Started
cartooning in high
school which I attended when I grew too tall for low school.
Spent 3 years in the U.S. Army during World War
II, but we won anyway. While stationed in Australia I met a cute
koala bear named Thel Carne who was trying futilely to throw away a
boomerang. I, too, returned--5 years later and we were married in
In Roslyn, Pa. we started our real-life family circus. They
provided the inspiration for my cartoons; I provided the
I worked at the Phila. Bulletin for 15 years where I was a staff
artist. I drew staffs. I launched "Channel Chuckles" in 1954, a
syndicated cartoon about TV.
The TV repairman was at our house so much I thought he was part
of the family. In fact, later I named one of my cartoon characters
after him: Barfy. I drew free-lance cartoons for the major magazines
and a Sunday comic for the Bulletin called "Silly Philly."
In 1959 I decided to work from my home and we moved the whole
family lock, stock and barrel to Arizona. We managed the lock and
stock okay, but had trouble with the barrel. We still live in the
same house near Phoenix and love the state.
Even its canyons are grand.
"The Family Circus" bowed in 1960 and I've been going around in
circles ever since. It now appears in over 1500 newspapers whose
editors have excellent taste in comics. Readership polls place "The
Family Circus" at the top regularly. And it's a very nice view from
atop a poll.
"Family Circus" has appeared on TV in holiday specials and has
been published regularly by Fawcett Gold Medal Books in paperback
There are over 14 million "Family Circus" books in print. If you
can't find a copy in your book store, come over to my house--I have
13 1/2 million of them.
In 1983 I was named cartoonist of the year by the National
Cartoonist Society and at the awards dinner I was given a sitting
We now have nine grandchildren who I like to follow around for
Thel is my editor and consultant. Youngest son Jeff inks and
colors the cartoons. The Syndicate does the selling.
Come to think of it, what do I do? I keep in shape (I'm not sure
what the shape is) by playing tennis and jogging.
If asked when I will retire I say "probably about 11 o'clock
tonight. But, hopefully, I'll be back at the ol' drawing board in
the morning and happy to be there!"
Love to All!