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Gasoline Alley by Frank King

Updated on November 25, 2016
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I'm trapped in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. The golden age of radio, comics, cartoon strips. I love it, I collect it, I feel it...

Skeezix Out West

Skeezix comic strip leads to a book.
Skeezix comic strip leads to a book. | Source

Gasoline Alley, a classic comic strip...

Gasoline Alley has been in continuous distribution since the 1920's. What is truly unusual is that the comic character's have aged in (sort of) real time with it's reader's.

We watched Skeezix grow from an infant, through childhood, marry Nina, go off to fight in WWII, and raise children. We saw Walt Wallet woo and eventually marry Phyllis. We followed them through all of life's adult stages, and were there the day Phyllis died. Walt is still alive, a feisty but forgetful character.


Skeezix, left on a door step...

Frank King started Gasoline Alley in a single panel cartoon, dated variously between 1917-19. It was a full fledged strip in 1921, the year Skeezix was born. His birth-date was set on Valentine's day, February 14, the day he was found on Walt's doorstep. Walt eventually adopted Skeezix, but was always known as Uncle Walt.


The mystery of Skeezix's mother?

For the life of the strip, Skeezix's real mother has been kept a mystery, but I've long suspected that it was Phyllis, who became his stepmother. The strip has had a tradition of remembering certain days with strips that show the family, and often friends as they are at the time on
Skeezix's birthday, Christmas, and New Year's days.

The Compass, a classic fantasy Sunday page by Frank King

The Sunday strip was generally less about story arc, and more about creativity for Frank King
The Sunday strip was generally less about story arc, and more about creativity for Frank King | Source

Frank King was one of the comic strip pioneers

He took us along with the Wallet family into the 1950's when Bill Perry took
some of the load by taking over the Sunday strip. In 1969,

Dick Moores took over the strip on Frank King's death. In 1992,

Jim Scancarelli took over the strip on Moore's death.

The different artists brought different drawing styles and a little different slant to the Alley, but all remained true to Frank King's original vision that began in the early 1900's - a different family than ours, for sure, but very real to the fans, none the less.

Frank King, editorial cartoonist

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Rectangle, from the Chicago Sunday TribuneThe Rectangle, from the Chicago Sunday Tribune
The Rectangle, from the Chicago Sunday Tribune
The Rectangle, from the Chicago Sunday Tribune | Source
The Rectangle, from the Chicago Sunday Tribune
The Rectangle, from the Chicago Sunday Tribune | Source

Gasoline Alley, a timeline of the early years

Year
Month
Day
Event
1883
 
 
Frank King born in Tomah Wisconsin original home of Gasoline Alley
1917-19
 
 
Frank King begins Gasoline Alley, various dates attributed
1921
2
9
Skeezix is born!
1921
2
14
Skeezix is left on Walt's doorstep. Celebrated as his birthday
1923
1
1
Skeezix wakes up Walt, and then Walt's mother - Ap Nooya! (Happy New Year!)
1923
1
5
Who gave Skeezix the $100 bill for Christmas?
1923
1
18
Rachel stands up in court for Walt.
1923
1
19
Skeezix speaks up in court - weee.
1923
1
29
Presenting the cast of characters and how they fit into the story
1923
2
7
Blossom says she knows who the mother is? The Judge awards Skeezix to Walt!
1923
2
10
Walt decides on Feb 14 for Skeezix birthday celebration, Pal looks on (first appearance?)
1923
4
5
Blossom suing Walt for breach of promise?
1923
4
12
Skeezix gets the measles and is quarantined
1923
5
3
Skeezix seems attracted to the lady in the poster, a Mme Octave?
1923
5
22
Nina reveals that she was in Hospital Service with Mme. Octave in France.
1923
5
24
Phyllis takes Skeezix to meet Mme Octave, without Walt's permission!
1923
5
31
A box of toys arrives for Skeezix, another mystery?
1923
12
26
Who gave Skeezix the two $100 bills for Christmas?
1924
1
4
Blossom gives Mandy some mistletoe; but it gets Rachel a kiss from Plato.
1924
1
11
Walt's mother suspects that he has deeper feelings for Mrs. Blossom than he's admitting.
1924
1
16
Walt's mother sadly says goodbye to the family and leaves for home.
1924
1
17
Avery rear-ends another sedan.
1924
2
7
Walt spots a letter from Octave to Blossom and begins worrying
1924
2
9
Walt surprised when package for Skeezix says his birthday is Feb 9th
1924
2
14
Three candles on Skeexiz's cake
1924
4
7
The mysterious coat of arms. Walt sees it everywhere.
1924
4
15
Walt figures out who's behind the mysteries in his and Skeezix's lives
1924
4
17
Mme. Octave makes a startling announcement.
1924
4
29
Skeezix disappears!
1924
5
27
Walt and Skeezix are reunited.

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