No recent wiki edits to this page.
Forgotten today, in the 1920s and 1930s Skippy was a very popular newspaper comic strip about a boy who spent most of his time figuring out ways to get around the rules of his father, a doctor and health inspector, and palling around with his friends.
Skippy was created in 1923 by cartoonist Percy L. Crosby and became a regular feature in "Life" magazine. It proved a great hit of its time. It was converted into a comic strip for King Features Syndicate, lasting from 1926 to 1945. Reprints in book form were available. Crosby also wrote prose books with illustrations about Skippy. Skippy was adapted into two films for Paramount Pictures in 1931-1932.
In 1934, "Skippy's Own Book of Comics" was published/ A comic book reprint of his tales in the style of "Famous Funnies". It was a give-away publication accompanying Phillip's Toothpaste. It sold 500,000 issues. A Skippy radio show was also launched in 1934. The character appeared in all sorts of merchandise. The strips were reprinted first in Popular Comics by Dell and secondly in All-American Comics by DC. Starting in 1936 and 1939 respectively.
Crosby had a secondary activity in the 1930s as a political writer, criticizing the policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Edgar Hoover and questioning their legality. Since 1933, Crosby had an ongoing legal battle against Rosefield Packing Co. Ltd. , a company which had appropriated Skippy's name and image to promote their brand of peanut butter. Both facts would lead to the downfalls of Crosby and Skippy.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) started investigating Crosby for alleged tax evasion in 1934. A politically-motivated investigation which never really ended. It continued well into 1946 and involved freezing Crosby's assets, keeping surveillance over him and gaining him a negative reputation for being crooked.
The effects started showing in both his personal and artistic life. The stress adversely affected his creative skills and the strip suffered a decline in popularity. His wife left him, taking their four children with her. He spent part of the early 1940s hospitalized for stress-related disorders. By 1944, Crosby could not afford legal representation to continue the legal battle with Rosefield. They won by default. On December 16, 1948, a depressed Crosby allegedly attempted suicide. He was immediately committed into an insane asylum. Rosefield gained a trademark on Skippy within days of the incident. Cosby died in the asylum during 1964.
In 1954, Rosefield sold the Skippy brand name to Corn Products Corporation. Today the trademark is owned by Best Foods, Inc. Currently this brand of peanut butter is all that remains of a once extremely famous character.