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Home » Arts & Entertainment, Old time radio (OTR)

Lum and Abner coming to First Arkansas News — maybe

By: 12 May 2011 22 Comments

'Lum and Abner' is a registered trademark, used by permission of Chester Lauck, Jr.

Anyone who’s a regular visitor to First Arkansas News knows that we’ve dedicated a fair amount of space to old time radio (OTR).

We post a new OTR episode every week in our Weekend OTR series and one of the first major articles we published was one about Lum and Abner — a comedy duo that was prominent on radio stations around the country from 1931 to 1955, made a few movies and was so popular that a whole town changed its name to more closely associate itself with the program (go here for a detailed history of the series). The show was developed by a couple of Arkansas boys — Chester “Chet” Lauck and Norris “Tuffy” Goff.

Abner

A few weeks ago, Donnie Pitchford — president of the National Lum and Abner Society — approached First Arkansas News with the idea of creating an original comic strip featuring the characters. Pitchford worked up some character models and we approached Chet Lauck Jr. and Scott Lauck — the son and grandson of the “Lum” half of the comedy team — with the idea of a comic strip.

The Laucks generously gave First Arkansas News and Pitchford permission to pursue the possibility of putting together a Lum and Abner comic strip and finding sponsors for it. And that, folks, is where we’re we find ourselves at this point in time — we’ve got a good concept, some great artwork and enough story lines to run one strip per week for years if we so choose. Want to see for yourself? Go here to take a look at a sample strip to get an idea of the artwork, the treatment of characters and the scope of the project.

Lum

Our goal is to maintain a separate section for Lum and Abner strips on the main navigation menu at the top of the site.Everything is ready to go and we’re ready to start the series.

Well, we’re almost ready. Here’s the thing — obtaining the license that gives us the rights to create and publish a comic strip featuring Lum and Abner requires money. If the series doesn’t generate revenue, we’ll not be able to maintain it. Simple as that.

To that end, we need sponsors and we believe the companies and individuals who choose to sponsor the series will benefit greatly. The fact of the matter is there are a lot of Lum and Abner fans out there and we’re confident they’ll stop in to read the strip. Sponsors will buy the right to put a banner ad near the strips and catch the interest of those OTR fans who make it a point to read the series. In short, sponsors will be able to reach audiences by supporting a project that is as unique as the day is long. Want to get ahead of the competition? Consider the value of getting on board with a one-of-a-kind project that has the potential to grow and attract a lot of attention.

Interested? Get in touch with Jim Russell, our intrepid advertising rep, by sending an email to jimrussell@lumosmedia.com.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.

22 Comments »

  • Kenneth Smith said:

    LOVE IT!!!!

  • Kenneth Smith said:

    Wish I owned a big ole company!! I would sponser these guys for five years hand runnin’!!!

  • J D Weeks said:

    What a neat idea. There are lots of us still around that recall the Lum & Abner radio program. My cousin, Zack Mosley, was the creator of the old Smilin’ Jack comic strip.

  • Ethan C. Nobles (author) said:

    Kenneth — Thanks for the kind words. Donnie’s done a heck of a job with these — I was amazed at how great they looked when he started turning in samples.

    JD — I grew up listening to Lum & Abner reruns out of Hot Springs with my dad. Great memories. You’re related to Jack Mosley? Cool! Smilin’ Jack ran forever in comic strips and, if memory serves, there was a radio serial and a movie serial, to boot.

  • Jimbo said:

    Don’t that beat the bugs a fightin? What a wonderful idea and having Mr. Pitchford run the dad done thing was a swift move on the paper’s part. No one loves L&A more than Uncle Donnie.

  • Brian C. Farmer said:

    Love this idea! To persons and/or businesses reading:

    Sponsor. This. Now.

  • Mike Ambrose said:

    Great news! If that sample strip is an indication of future strips, you’ll have a reader for life here. Sponsors, come a-runnin’!

  • Donnie Pitchford said:

    The response so far has been encouraging and I appreciate everyone who has written to me at my “home address” as well as the National Lum and Abner Society address! I encourage everyone to post comments here as well. One question I received was, “Will this appeal only to people who remember the old radio show?” Well, I hope it appeals to everyone! The idea is to place the classic Lum and Abner characters into this “new medium” and entertain the readers. At the same time, the original radio shows will likely pick up new fans. Arkansas has much to be proud of, and “Lum and Abner” is an amazing source of entertainment as well as an important aspect of radio and film history.

    Thanks to all!

  • Jon Robertson said:

    What a great way to bring the boys from Pine Ridge back! I think this was one of Lum’s very id’s and to have Donnie Pitchford bring it to life in today’s world is so cool! It will be really fun to see the great and funny story lines of the radio show portrayed in this colorful format. I certainly hope you find the sponsors you need to bring this idea life! Uncle Donnie’s artwork is very impressive. Great job! Keep it up and keep us posted.

  • Janet McMurrin said:

    I love it! What a great idea for continuing the Lum & Abner tradition. I hope you find a sponsor soon so I can see more! Lum & Abner is my very favorite OTR show – I still listen to them almost every day – and I appreciate what the National Lum & Abner Society has done to preserve and promote the program.

  • Bill Pearson said:

    Talk about retro! It seems like the modern world (the internet) has turned every hamlet in the world into a cosmopolitan enclave, so perhaps there’s a longing among many for the simpler days of years gone by. In which case, this would be perfect.
    I know Donnie as a writer, but didn’t know he was a talented cartoonist as well!
    I know from personal experience how difficult it is to interest comics syndicates in new strips, so I hope this turns out to be a little easier way to find a place in the newspaper.
    Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to advertise, but here’s my best wishes for success with this feature.

  • Ethan C. Nobles (author) said:

    Donnie — Well, there you have it. Uh, I think it’s very possible you had a great idea.

    See? Told you the strips looked great!

    I do hope we get the necessary sponsors so we can start on this in earnest.

    You might say I’m “rearin'” to go ;)

  • Lum and Abner Museum said:

    Howdy from downtown Pine Ridge! I’m excited abt Donnie’s new project and hope it goes well. Great job on the graphics, Donnie. I know you’ll stay true to Chet and Tuffy’s original concept.
    So far the old stores haven’t blown or washed away, but the weather has been a real problem this year. Let’s hope it calms down to a nice travel season soon so all of you can come see what’s new (and old) in the museum.
    Kathy Stucker – Lum and Abner Jot’Em Down Store and Museum

  • Donnie Pitchford said:

    Mrs. Stucker is the co-owner-curator of the Lum and Abner Museum in Pine Ridge, Arkansas, for those who do not know. It’s a wonderful place to visit, and the store image in the “Lum and Abner” sample strip is based on the actual store, which is the former Dick Huddleston store. The Museum portion is in another old general store that used to sit across the street, just like Lum and Abner’s Jot ‘Em Down Store. Mr. and Mrs. Stucker have done a great job of preserving these two historic buildings and the history of Lum and Abner.

    Mena, Arkansas’ “Lum and Abner Festival is the first Friday and Saturday in June, and it’s an excellent time to visit both “home towns” – Mena (Lauck and Goff) and Pine Ridge (Lum and Abner). I hope to see everyone there!

  • kathleen gramsgibbs said:

    Thanks very much for considering this. It is a wonderful idea. I look forward to reading the strip.
    Peace from Kathleen Gramsgibbs

  • Donna Porter said:

    Lum and Abner is good, clean fun that needs to be in print. Readers of all ages will appreciate their humor and wisdom. Thank you for considering these gentlemen in your newspaper. Sincerely, dp

  • Donnie Pitchford said:

    Speaking of Lum and Abner, I’d like to invite everyone to visit Mena, Arkansas on Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4, 2011, for the annual Lum and Abner Festival. There are all kinds of family activities available, and the Ouachita Little Theater will be presenting a Lum and Abner stage play both evenings at 7:30. Tickets are only five dollars. The National Lum and Abner Society officers will speak briefly before both performances. At 2:30 Saturday afternoon, there is a free show by the National Lum and Abner Society at the theater. Come join us and see rare video of Lum and Abner plus enjoy a Q&A session. We hope to see you there! Come join us and chat about the Lum and Abner comic strip.

  • Gina Sue said:

    This is soooo great! Lum & Abner are entertainment & histroy; and, not only is it important to honor history, but how great to offer it in this medium to a whole new generation! Great idea!

  • Gina Sue said:

    O – and perhaps they are “histroy”, whatever that is, but they are mostly history! :-)

  • Mike Leach said:

    Note to anyone thinking of sponsoring this great strip,

    I like it so much I will buy ANY product associated with it, as long as it costs less then 50 bucks and its legal…

    Heck, even if it’s not legal, if costs less the 50 bucks I’ll buy it anyway!

    I want more!!

  • Jerry Williams said:

    Great Work, Lets hope we can get enough interest to keep it going.
    Jerry Williams

  • Hendle Rumbaut said:

    Let’s all give Lum and Abner a big welcome back. Donnie Pitchford has done a first-class job reviving this beloved comic strip. How this world needs some clean fun. Donate today!

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