Sunday, December 02, 2012

Number 1273: Captain Tootsie and the interplanetary joyride

This will be the first of four postings this week that, for lack of a better term, I'm calling “silly science.” That would be stories that use science fiction themes, rocket ships, aliens and in one case, time travel, but share a certain screwiness in the plots. First up, Captain Tootsie, who stepped out of a series of popular candy ads and into two issues of his own comic in 1950.

Captain Tootsie full-page comic strip ads appeared in the forties and fifties, well drawn by the C. C. Beck studio, which also did artwork for Captain Marvel comics. Tootsie Rolls, in those days touted as giving a kid energy (think sugar high), are still being sold.*

I've chosen three examples of the actual ads, with art credits.

C. C. Beck

C. C. Beck and Peter Costanza:

Bill Schreiber:

Two issues of Captain Tootsie were published by Toby Press in 1950, neither of which mentioned Tootsie Rolls. I'd have thought a story of Captain Tootsie taking his Secret Legion kids** on a rocket ride to Venus would have been ripe for product placement. The kids stowed away in the rocket, which Captain Tootsie had volunteered to fly 200 miles in space, orbit for a couple of days and then come home, (“What is there to eat, Captain Tootsie?” ”Why, I just happen to have brought along a whole case of delicious Tootsie Rolls, boys!”)

Captain Tootsie, apparently forgetting his mission, ended up being gone a lot more than a couple of days. If Dr. Wertham had examined this comic book he might have concluded it was a lesson in taking someone else's property, like a car, then bringing it back after joyriding for several days. 

Go to Sherm Cohen's Cartoon Snap! blog for Captain Tootsie #2

*I haven't eaten a Tootsie Roll in years. Not that I wouldn't like to — I still recall the taste and texture — but the last one I ate pulled a filling out of a tooth. Tootsie Rolls are yet another product that brought me pleasure as a child that I have had to give up as an adult.

**And what was it with comics about grown men spending their time hanging around with young boys?


Daniel [] said...

I first encountered Captain Tootsie in an ad in a 1948 copy of Action Comics given to me by a friend when we were in middle school. I noted Beck's signature, with mild surprise, given the unhappy relationship between Superman and Captain Marvel.

I love Tootsie Rolls. When the concept of Christmas was first explained to me, I asked for a Tootsie Roll. But I gave them up because of the trans-fat in them. Once, within the last couple of years, I found a package that claimed 0 mg trans-fat; I happily ate those. But, since then, every one that I have examined has listed some trans-fat.

DEMiller said...

Grown men with young boys on an adventure? The Tootsie Roll is a phallic symbol. There seems to be plenty here for us to analyze. Still a fun read with nice art.

Pappy said...

Daniel, and I write this without trying to be funny: I admire someone who can actually read those tiny labels on products. I would have to carry a Sherlock Holmes-style magnifying glass in order to read them. You would laugh to see me in a grocery store, attempting to read labels.

Pappy said...

Dave, you have your symbols and I have mine. Personally, this talk of Tootsie Rolls has jogged the pleasure center of my brain. I can just imagine the chocolatey goodness of a Tootsie Roll, biting off a chunk, letting it melt on my tongue...then I think, yeah, and pay for it next time I visit the dentist.

I am good at killing joy, even in my own fantasies.