Skippy (Paramount, 1931). One Sheet (27" X 41").
    One of the most important and influential American comic strips of the 20th century, the adventures of eternal fifth grader Skippy Skinner were brought to life by cartoonist Percy Crosby, initially in the pages of Life magazine and, two years later, as a syndicated newspaper strip. Crosby's deft melding of everyday reality and humorous fantasy proved a winning combination, and soon Skippy media and merchandise was everywhere: card games, coloring books, ice cream, toys, movies, novels, articles of clothing, comic books, lamps, and more. The strip was a goldmine for Crosby, who quickly shot from utter anonymity to the dizzying heights of fame, earning at his height a staggering $2,350 per week, an enormous amount at the time. In 1933, California food packager Joseph Rosefield, began to market his new brand of peanut butter under the name Skippy, presumably to capitalize on the success of Crosby's strip. Crosby objected and took Rosefield to court, beginning a legal battle that would last well into the 21st century, pursued by Crosby's heirs. A beloved and long-running strip - it ceased publication in 1945 due to excessive personal problems that would lead to Crosby's institutionalization as a paranoid schizophrenic just a few years later - it is often cited as an early influence on the creation of Charles Schulz's iconic Peanuts. As part of the licensing juggernaut that was Skippy, Crosby sold the motion picture rights to his character to Paramount, who released an eponymously-titled film in 1931, starring nine-year-old Jackie Cooper in his first feature film. The story was about Skippy and his friends (played by Jackie Searl, Mitzi Green, and Robert Coogan) attempting to raise enough money to buy a license for Coogan's pet dog. Bypassing the inherent cynicism of Crosby's strip, the film opted for a more sentimental take on the character, a decision that audiences of the day found most appealing. The result was four Academy Award nominations - including Best Actor (Cooper), Best Picture (the only movie based on a comic book or strip to be so nominated to this date), Best Writing, and Best Director (Norman Taurog) - and a win for Best Director. The charming stone litho offered here is exceptionally rare. Indeed, Heritage has never before offered a copy in more than a decade of vintage poster auctions. With a wonderful image of Cooper, it presents beautifully. Professional restoration has addressed edge wear with small holes near the bottom, a tear in Cooper's hat, face and background, paper lifts with tears, and holes along the left side, top right corner, and in the credits. There was a piece missing from Cooper's right side and ear. Additionally, approximately three-quarters of an inch from the top border has been replaced. These flaws notwithstanding, this is an exquisite find and a true rarity, one that will hold great appeal for vintage movie fans and classic comic connoisseurs alike. From the Berwick Discovery. Good+ on Linen.

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    Auction Dates
    March, 2012
    23rd-24th Friday-Saturday
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