Sunday, January 02, 2022

Today in Comics History, January 2: Born today: Ross Allen, terror of all animals

If you're a fan of TV's Mystery Science Theater 3000 like I am (and why ain't you?), there's a reason why these words will strike terror into your heart at the very first utterance:

from "Ace Sportscaster" in Real Fact Comics #6 (DC, January 1947), pencils and inks by Jack Lehti

That's because Ted Husing is the announcer on one of MST3K's most infamous shorts: "Catching Trouble."

Ted's smoooooooth radio voice heralds the arrival of bring-'em-back-alive animal catcher Ross Allen, who did a lot of serious research/conservation work for Everglades reptiles. And today is Ross Allen's birthday!

from "Ross Allen: Alligator Man" in Real Life Comics #44 (Pines, May 1948), creators unknown

In this film, however, Ross spends a lot of time, as Joel Hodgson says, "raping the land." In "Catching Trouble," watch Allen (Husing refers to him repeatedly as "my boyfriend") terrorize and kidnap baby bears and a wildcat, among others.

What's next? Joel: "Hurting the people you know and love?" Crow: "Chasing rabbits on a minibike until their hearts explode?"

That's why no viewing of "Catching Trouble" is complete without watching the follow-up MST3K sketch "Catching Ross," where Joel and the 'bots treat Ross to exactly the treatment he dishes out to the animals.

Anyway, happy birthday, Mr. Allen. Hey! Ross! Leave those crocs alone!

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