Friday, September 5, 2014

Old Timer Tales of KIT CARSON, 1951

BOYS' LIFE, the publication of the Boy Scouts of America, was first published in March 1911.  Their first "Comics" section debuted in July 1940, with reprints of then-popular newspaper strips, including "Bringing Up Father", "Felix", "Tippy and Cap Stubbs", "Krazy Kat" and "Popeye".  Although other features appeared from time to time, including the long-running "Scouts In Action" (which made its debut in January 1947) and many comics-style advertisements, it was only with the September 1952 issue that a COLOR comics section made its debut, the work of the Johnstone & Cushing advertising agency.

However, a year-and-a-half before that, a bona fide WESTERN series made its debut, in the form of "Old Timer Tales Of KIT CARSON".  The "Old Timer" was apparently a character that popped up here and there in the magazine, as the "host" of various features. KIT CARSON was a real-life figure, a "trailblazer" and Indian fighter, who lived from 1809-1868.

The 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.

Far too typically with BOYS' LIFE, credits are intermittent.  Apparently the art was by Lee Ames, most known for an entire series of "DRAW 50..." books, but I've only found one installment that listed a writer-- "S. Pashko".  A Google search revelaed that Stanley Pashko, later on, was listed as "Senior Editor, Special Features" for the magazine.  I would figure these 2 guys did the entire run, except, the art in the first 2 episodes seems much simpler, cruder, and, the lettering & word balloons are completely different.  If there were 2 different artists involved, it would seem whoever did the first 2 installments, Lee Ames took over with the 3rd for May 1951.

BOYS' LIFE  /  March 1951
Philmont Scout Ranch  /  photo by D.L. Richardson
Page 3  /  "This month's cover"
Page 29  /  "The Old Timer" logo
Old Timer Tales Of KIT CARSON
Episode 1  /  "Trapping In Colorado"
story by Stanley Pashko  /  art by ??
This was originally formatted as a 2-page spread, with each "tier" read from the left page to the right page. To read correctly on this blog, I had to cut EACH segment and put them back together, in a sequence that would make sense on the computer screen.
Part 2

April 1951  /  Episode 2  /  "He Traps Fur Thieves"
May 1951  /  Episode 3  /  "Ambushed By Comanches"
story by Stanley Pashko  /  art by LEE AMES
 Unlike Episode 1, this one was formatted to be read 1 page at a time,
which saved me a lot of trouble re-cutting it (apart from the title area). 
Page 2
June 1951  /  Episode 4  /  "Duel With A Horse Thief"
From here on they started using 2-color printing instead of adding graytones.
July 1951  /  Episode 5  /  "Treed By Two Grizzlies"

After skipping August, the feature returned with another 2-page installment...

September 1951  /  Episode 6  /  "Wounded In Action"
Page 2
October 1951  /  Episode 7  /  "A Blackfoot War"
Part 2
November 1951  /  Episode 8  /  "A Bully Learns A Lesson" 
Artist Lee Ames began using 3 "tiers" instead of 4 with this episode, allowing the images to be bigger and more visually impressive. As far as I can tell, this is the only episode where the writer was credited. Also, this must be the unlikeliest "Christmas" story I ever read. Good grief!

December 1951  /  Episode 9  /  "Fighting Fire With Fire"
(Continued in Kit Carson, 1952)

Copyright (C) 1952 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 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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