Happy Turkey Day

It is always a challenge to come up with fresh ideas to mark the annual holidays.  Thanksgiving is celebrated on Thursdays, so we usually do a daily strip on that day.  The scene we show most frequently is the family sitting around the table discussing what they are most thankful for.  Other topics involve the preparation, cooking and eating of the meal.  Here is a strip from 1991 that shows the aftermath.

Hi and Lois daily strip, November 28, 1991.

Hi and Lois daily strip, November 28, 1991.

Thanksgiving also falls during football season and the NFL currently broadcasts three games during the day.  On a number of occasions, we have shown Hi and Thirsty, stuffed with turkey, snoozing in front of the TV.  The family also sometimes goes outside for a game of touch football.

For this daily strip from 1994, I tried a different twist on the scenario that incorporated an element of Thanksgiving history.

Hi and Lois daily strip, November 24, 1994.

Hi and Lois daily strip, November 24, 1994.

On Sundays before Thanksgiving we have shown Lois shopping for food and on Sundays after the holiday Hi is often eating leftover turkey.  Here is a Sunday page from 1989 that predicts what will be taking placing four days later.  Our readers don’t seem to mind if we play around with time a little bit in the strip.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, November 19, 1989.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, November 19, 1989.

We are very thankful for our many loyal fans.  Have a happy Thanksgiving!

– Brian Walker

Chip Protests

It is fun to go back and look at vintage Hi and Lois pages and see experiences that I can remember from my youth reflected in the strip.  When I was a kid, my father made me rake leaves on Saturdays in the fall and it has always been one of my least favorite household chores.  He obviously found humor in the situation because he used it on numerous occasions for gags in Hi and Lois.  This Sunday page was published when I was thirteen years old, so I might have been an inspiration.

HI and Lois Sunday page color proof, November 7, 1965.

HI and Lois Sunday page color proof, November 7, 1965.

This seasonal battle has a long tradition in the strip.  Every autumn, Chip is forced to help clean up the yard and he always complains vociferously.  In this Sunday page from 1997, he expresses his rebellion by adapting a familiar protest song.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, November 2, 1997.

Hi and Lois Sunday page, November 2, 1997.

Chip is not a bad kid, so he usually ends up doing what Hi tells him to do.  I also learned, when my father made me rake leaves, that resistance was futile.

Many years ago, I hired my neighbor’s son to clean up my yard. I still feel a sense of relief when I realize I don’t have to spend my weekends raking leaves. It is money well spent.

– Brian Walker

Leaf Peepers

The foliage in New England is past peak, but there are still many colors on display.  It’s the end to what locals call “leaf peeping season” when tourists travel the back roads craning their necks to look up into the branches of the trees overhead.

Chuck Saxon captured this annual ritual in a classic New Yorker cover, which was published on October 7, 1974.

The New Yorker, October 7, 1974, cover by Chuck Saxon.

The New Yorker, October 7, 1974, cover by Chuck Saxon.

An old friend of my father’s, Chuck lived in New Canaan, Connecticut.  In 1988, I was serving as the curator for an exhibition at the Museum of Cartoon Art entitled “The Artists of The New Yorker.”  I asked Chuck if we could borrow a few pieces for the show and he invited me to stop by his studio.  While flipping through a stack of originals, I came across this leaf peepers cover and told him it was one of my favorites.  He said the piece I was holding was actually a preliminary drawing and pointed out the changes he had made in the final version. He agreed to lend it to the Museum for the exhibition and offered to sell it to me when the show was over.  Unfortunately, he passed away on December 6, 1988 while his work was still on display at the Museum. When the show ended, I returned all of Chuck’s art to his widow, including the leaf peeper piece, and didn’t mention the offer he had made to me.

This piece was also included in a 1984 exhibition at the National Academy of Design entitled Seasons at The New Yorker: Six Decades of Cover Art. The original art for the covers was displayed next to the final printed versions. I have a copy of the catalogue, which is where I found the image above.

We also try to mark the changing seasons in Hi and Lois and autumn is our favorite time of the year.  Here is a fall-themed Sunday page, with leaf peepers, from 2004.

Hi and Lois Sunday Page, November 7, 2004.

Hi and Lois Sunday Page, November 7, 2004.

I’m sure many Grateful Dead Heads enjoyed this episode but some readers might not have understood the reference.  That’s the risk you take when you riff on contemporary culture.

­– Brian Walker