Tuesday, September 9, 2014

KIT CARSON Tales, 1953

(Continued from KIT CARSON, 1952)

This BOYS' LIFE series ran from March 1951-May 1953.  With the popularity of western series all through the 1950s, I find it very odd that the series ended only 8 months after the color comics section made its debut.  I would have thought a western series would have fit easily side-by-side with the science-fiction of Space Conquerors! and the historical mythology of Stories From The Bible.

The series had started out with some very rough art.  They added graytones, (apparently) replaced the artist, then upgraded to 2-color printing, then 4-color printing, with the simultaneous addition of a classier logo.  Along the way, the "Old Timer" who introduced each story (telling them to a group of Boy Scouts on vacation at the Fremont Ranch) vanished. With the February 1953 episode, the title finally changed to reflect this, from "OLD TIMER TALES OF KIT CARSON" to simply "KIT CARSON TALES".  In these, Kit was shown telling the tales himself!  But after only 4 episodes, the series ENDED, replaced with "FRONTIER TALES", again with art by Lee Ames.

Was it the possibly-excessive level of violence in a magazine aimed specifically at young readers? Hard to say. At any rate, BOYS' LIFE was far from the only source of KIT CARSON stories.  In addition to a then-current TV series that ran from 1951-55, there was also the following info I ran across while doing research:

In 1931 Kit Carson was the subject of J. Carroll Mansfield's daily comic strip High Lights of History, collected as a Big Little Book, Kit Carson (1933).
In the Italian comic Tex Willer (1948- ), Kit Carson appears as Tex's sidekick.
Avon began a series of Kit Carson comic books that lasted nine issues (1950–1955). Boy's Life includes a continuing strip story "Old Timer Tales of Kit Carson" from March 1951 to May 1953. Classics Illustrated No. 112, The Adventures of Kit Carson (October 1953), is based on John C. Abbott's 1873 book; the comic book went through nine printings between 1953 and 1969. Blazing the Trails West, another Classics Illustrated publication (Special Issue No. 144A, June 1958), includes a chapter on Kit Carson.[61]
In England and France, there was a Kit Carson comic that lasted at least 350 issues (1950s), and seven Kit Carson Annuals (1954–1960), often drawn by D. C. Eyles.[62] Six Gun Heroes had two Kit Carson titles (1957 & 1958), and there was a Kit Carson No. 10 in 1963.
The 1970 Walt Disney Comics Digest included Kit Carson.

At any rate, here's the final 5 BOYS' LIFE episodes...  ENJOY!

Old Timer Tales Of KIT CARSON
January 1953  /  Episode 20  /  ["Shoshone War Party Warning"]
story by Stanley Pashko  /  art by LEE AMES
February 1953  /  Episode 21  /  ["Trappers' Rendezvous"]
March 1953  /  Episode 22  /  ["New Mexico Smugglers"]
April 1953  /  Episode 23  /  ["Heavy Rains"]
May 1953  /  Episode 24  /  ["Snowstorm Battle"]
(Continued in FRONTIER TALES) --you saw that coming, RIGHT???

Copyright (C) 1953 by Boys' Life magazine

Raw scans from the Boys' Life / Wayback Machine website
Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

For more:
Read about Kit Carson at the Wikipedia site!
Read about Lee Ames at the Wikipedia site!
See the covers of Avon's KIT CARSON series at the GCD site
Read Avon's KIT CARSON series at the Comic Book Plus site!
     at the Western Comics Adventures blog!
Read about the CLASSIC ILLUSTRATED version at the Comixology site
Read about the KIT CARSON tv series at the Google.com site!

Read SPACE CONQUERORS! at this blog!
Read STORIES FROM THE BIBLE at this blog!
Read Old Timer Tales of KIT CARSON at this blog!

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