Realism is an important element in Hi and Lois. For readers to identify with the Flagstons, they must be convinced that they are living people. Mort Walker went so far as to draw up a floor plan of the Flagston home, so that scenes around the house would be accurate and create a feeling of familiarity.
In his 1975 autobiography, Backstage at the Strips, Mort wrote about his own home in Greenwich, Connecticut. “We’ve lived in our big old house for 20 years and it’s filled with the memorabilia of our tenancy – doors broken from temper tantrums, railings gouged by bikes ridden indoors on rainy days, round marks on ceilings from ‘room tennis,’ and places where little ones ‘helped Daddy paint.’ It has taken on our character and will never stop echoing from our years of bustle.”
The Walker house inspired this Sunday page, which was reprinted in Reader’s Digest.
Hi and Lois Sunday page color proof, May 17, 1964.
Over the years, the Flagston house has been modified to fit various situations. It is not always depicted exactly the same. This is what it looks like today.– Brian Walker
Three years after Hi and Lois started, Dik Browne moved his family from 106 Rynda Road in South Orange, New Jersey to 85 Rivergate Drive in Wilton, Connecticut.
Dik’s studio was in the basement of the house in Wilton. “It was a very informal set up, not meant for public viewing – a private workshop,” Chance Browne recollected. “It was right next to the laundry and all of the chaos that engenders coming and going. He would just get up early and stay up late every day. He was pretty much a full time worker. If he was awake, he was at the table.”
Chance described his father’s working methods at this time. “Dad often did things over twice. To see some of the first-time stuff he redrew is mind-boggling in trying to figure out what he didn’t like about it. He had a bunch of stuff taped up on the walls to keep away from kids and animals. He was not a very organized man.”
“The Tracy Twins was always a presence there. They were large pages, up on the wall. The Hi and Lois dailies were smaller in size, more organized, and kept cleaner. He did all the penciling and inking on The Tracy Twins.” The staff artists at the Johnstone and Cushing art agency in New York did the coloring, with input from Dik.
Here is a classic Tracy Twins page that Dik drew for Boys’ Life around the time they moved to Connecticut.
The Tracy Twins from Boys’ Life, May, 1957.
– Brian Walker
If you haven’t decided on a Mother’s Day gift yet, here is a Sunday page that might come in handy.
Hi and Lois Sunday page, May 14, 2000.
Hi, Chip, Trixie, Dot and Ditto had their work cut out for them on this particular Mother’s Day after Lois decided to use all of her credits right away. Chance designed the coupons to look like Dot and Ditto drew them and added spaced borders to encourage readers to cut them out. We have no idea if anyone ever did.
Mother’s Day is the most important holiday of the year in the world of Hi and Lois. Lois is the glue that holds the family together and deserves appreciation for everything she does. We never forget this and always do a special Mother’s Day Sunday page, although it can be hard to come up with new ideas. Lois being served breakfast in bed is a familiar scene that is often repeated. In the end, it’s the thought that counts.
We hope all of our readers have a wonderful Mother’s Day.
– Brian Walker