Rudy in Hollywood (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984).

§ January 19th, 2010 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives § 4 Comments

Here’s another one I’ve mentioned on the site before:

William Overgard’s Rudy is one of the classic overlooked newspaper strips, running only for about a year or so in the mid 1980s. Rudy is a talking chimpanzee, a retired vaudeville star and stage performer, and the strip chronicles his semi-return to the outskirts of showbiz. I first encountered it during that brief period in the Los Angeles Times…a paper we didn’t get in our household, but one I would look at on occasion at the local library. Even just the few strips I saw there, and a tantalizing review that appeared in a long-ago issue of The Comics Journal, instilled in me the desire to track down its one and only paperback reprinting. Well, okay, that’s putting it a little dramatically, but I did keep an eye out for it at any used book stores or comic shops I happened to visit.

And of course, it takes the advent of eBay for me to finally track down the darned thing, where I managed to score a copy from there a couple of years back. I was pleased to discover that my anticipation for the item did not diminish the experience of actually having it in my hands and reading it…the linework was as finely detailed and elegant as I remembered from the strips I saw decades ago, the writing still witty and understated, preferring the subtle over the slapstick. The book is interspersed with text pieces allegedly written by Rudy himself, offering his opinions on various topics which generally would play into the next sequence of reprinted strips. It’s a wonderful presentation for these strips, giving it that touch of “Hollywood Tell-All Autobiography” that fits right in with Rudy‘s milieu. The only downside is that (I believe) there are still Rudy strips not reprinted, which will probably only happen on the extremely unlikely chance someone decides to do a Complete Rudy volume.

A quick look at Amazon has prices starting at about $35, and someone actually has a copy for $999. Why do people even do that? Are they really hoping someone will buy a copy for that price?

Anyway, it appears I got very lucky when I found my copy on eBay, as I didn’t pay anywhere close to that. The Comics Journal enters this story again, after a fashion, as I need to thank former TCJ editor Milo George for not getting into a bidding war with me over this very item. He opted not to bid on it when he saw that I was the high bidder, for which I am very grateful.

4 Responses to “Rudy in Hollywood (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1984).”

  • milo says:

    You’re welcome! RUDY is great stuff; Overgard’s doing George Burns [specifically the George Burns from the Burns & Allen TV show, which often indulged in the straight-faced weirdness that RUDY enjoyed] as a talking chimp, an idea that couldn’t be more beautiful if Burns had put on a Planet of the Apes chimp makeup and costume and performed the strips himself.

    I think I have to go paint a portrait of George Burns made up like that now. RUDY!

  • Erik Von Halle says:

    The Rudy Strip was canceled at the end of 1985 and Rudy in Hollywood came out in 1984. Does anybody realize there must be enough strips for another book? I clipped some from the newspapers when the Rocky Mountain News reran them in the late 80s. I wish I could find more. I may have to search the newspaper archives.

    Erik Von Halle
    Golden, CO

  • […] will put out a complete edition of William Overgard’s Rudy. (Hey, let a boy […]

  • Peter Hemming says:

    In the 1980’s I was living in LA trying to break into the movies. This strip was a favorite for the people in the industry because it was a satire of the industry. When the strip left the LA Times I called them to ask why. They said it was because when the strip played on other newspapers no one could understand it. It was a regional thing.