Please support ‘Lum and Abner’ comic strip
For those who missed that announcement, here’s a brief recap. The artist for this is Donnie Pitchford, president of the National Lum and Abner Society and avid old time radio fan. Pitchford approached Ethan C. Nobles, owner of First Arkansas News, about pursuing the project. That conversation resulted in some sample art from Pitchford and permission from Chester Lauck Jr. to use the likenesses of Lum and Abner.
In short, here’s where we are on this project — we’ve got four sample strips from Pitchford that are impressive (click here to look at the first comic strip Pitchford drew). Lauck has given us permission to produce the series provided that we can pay royalties for the rights to use the characters. That’s a reasonable contingency — Lauck’s father was one-half of the comedy team that developed Lum and Abner (he played Lum, of course) and that is a valuable property that is well worth protecting.
In other words, we’re ready to roll on this series, but we need money. Jim Russell, the intrepid advertising representative for First Arkansas News, came up with a great idea — ask for donations. We’ve gotten a lot of very nice comments from readers who would love to see the strip become a regular feature here and, perhaps, some other sites and publications wanting to run it. Russell’s idea is to ask those who like the idea of the strip to send in a little money so we can send Lauck royalties and have permission to produce this project.
To that end, we’ve set up a series of levels in hopes of giving everyone who wants to help finance this project the chance to do so. All donations are appreciated and everyone who sends in some cash will get some recognition on a permanent page on the site that will show our gratitude to all contributors. Here, then, are the various annual donation levels and what comes with each of them (and you can have a look at the rough draft of the sponsorship page and the various ad sizes by clicking here):
* Chet Lauck and Tuffy Goff Platinum Circle — $400 (donation includes a large banner ad). It only seems appropriate to name the highest donation level for the men who developed the Lum and Abner series and played the lead characters, doesn’t it?
* Pine Ridge Planetarium Club — $200 (donation includes a medium banner ad).
* Lon and Kathy Stucker Appreciation Society — $100 (donation includes a small banner ad). The Stuckers, of course, own the Lum and Abner Museum and Jot ‘Em Down Store in Pine Ridge, Ark. Any Lum and Abner fan needs to get over there at least once.
* Pine Ridge Possums Booster Club — $50 (donation includes a large text link). Hooray for the pink and green!
* Pine Ridge Library Club — $25 (donation includes a medium text link).
* Lum and Abner Appreciation League — less than $25 (includes acknowledgement, but no link).
What’s the point of all this? Russell pointed out that generating ad revenue for this project is a challenge because it’s so unique for a number of reasons. One of the more noteworthy aspects is that this project won’t see the light of day unless we can come up with enough money initially to pay for the rights to use the characters — a wrinkle that appears to concern advertisers.
That being the case, Russell thought it made more sense to look for small, annual donations from organizations and individuals who want to support the project and still offer a chance for some advertising through banners and text links. Furthermore, Russell thought it prudent to hold any money received in trust so that it can be returned should our fundraising efforts fail, thus making it impossible to produce the strip. Of course, that requires anyone making a donation to trust they’ll get their money back should the project not see the light of day.
All we can say to reassure people that this is a legitimate project is that it does have the support of Lauck and the National Lum and Abner Society. Furthermore, we are accepting donations (credit cards, electronic checks, etc.) through PayPal and there is quite a bit of fraud protection built into that service so as to thwart scammers.
Speaking of PayPal, you can make a donation by either clicking the “Donate” button located on the right sidebar and below:
What happens if the project doesn’t get off the ground? We’ll send your money back through PayPal. If you don’t like the PayPal option, just get in touch with Russell at email@example.com or Nobles at Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net to work out something else. Get in touch with those two should you have any other questions regarding banner sizes, etc.
For those wanting a good history of Lum and Abner and why the series is so important to both old time radio fans and Arkansans, just click here.
Thank you, in advance, to everyone who donates to this effort. No one involved in this project will get rich, but we think it’s well worth doing. We are working on getting some newspapers to pick up the feature and are hopeful that will work out and we’ll be able to expand the strip beyond this site in the months to come. One thing that is particularly exciting to the creative team is the preservation aspect of it — a lot of the original audio recordings of the program didn’t survive, but Pitchford has access to those scripts. It is our intention to dedicate a lot of strips to relating those great story lines, thus allowing people to enjoy them even though it’s impossible to listen to the original broadcasts.
Having said all of that, Pitchford and Nobles will be promoting the strip at the Lum & Abner Festival in Mena, Ark., on June 4. Stop by and see them if you happen to be in the area.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.