Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Today in Comics History, March 27: Happy birthday, David Janssen!

Born on this day in 1931: David Janssen, star of movies and TV including To Hell and Back, Francis in the Haunted House, King of the Roaring 20s, The Green Berets, Shoes of the Fisherman, Marooned, Richard Diamond: Private Detective; O'Hara, U.S. Treasury, Harry O., and of course the series that made every kid in America want to go on the run searching for the One-Armed Man: The Fugitive!

from "The Phewgitive" in MAD #89 (September 1964), script by Stan Hart, pencils and inks by Mort Drucker

Janssen also starred as Dealey in the motion picture Dondi (based on the comic strip by Gus Edson and Irwin Hasen:

from Four Color #1176 [Dondi] (Dell, January 1961), script by Gaylord Du Bois, pencils (and inks?) by Joe Certa, letters by Ben Oda

But it's his role as fugitivestic Richard Kimble that captured the hearts and minds of America. The whole country was so Fugitive-mad that they went on the run accused of murdering their wives demanded MAD put the flee-ful Kimble guest-starring in more stories! Of course, they got what they wanted, setting a terribly dangerous precedent for Americans.

from (top) "BrandXed" in MAD #102 (April 1966), script by Lou Silverstone, pencils and inks by Mort Drucker; and
(bottom) "Loused Up in Space" in MAD #104 (July 1966), script by Dick DeBartolo, pencils and inks by Mort Drucker

Of course, this just made the audience mad (hee hee) for more guest appearances in the nation's favorite humor magazine/fish wrapping!

from (top) "Mad "Celebrity Feature" Merchandising Gimmicks" in MAD #90 (October 1964), script by Phil Hahn, pencils and inks by Jack Rickard; and
(bottom) "The Mad Treasury of Unknown Poetry" in MAD #101 (March 1966), script by Tom Koch, pencils and inks by Jack Rickard

So what did David Janssen himself think of all this publicity?

from the letters column of MAD #92 (January 1965)

Happy birthday, David Janssen!

1 comment:

Blam said...

All the girls
Think he’s so weird
He’s got
David Janssen ears