Scamp, from a 1950s comic book cover. Artist: Al Hubbard.


Original Medium: Theatrical animation
Produced by: Disney
First Appeared: 1955

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From Dopey the Dwarf to Sebastian the Crab, the animation scene is rife with subordinate characters from …

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Walt Disney features that became ongoing stars in their own right. Of all Disney's minor feature players that went on to fame, none played a smaller part in the original story than Scamp, who wasn't even named in Lady & the Tramp (1955), where he first appeared. The final scene of that film showed the couple living happily ever after with four adorable puppies. Three of the puppies behaved properly, and looked just like Lady. The one that took after his dad was Scamp.

Scamp was almost immediately spun off into a comic strip, which King Features Syndicate launched October 31, 1955, only four months after the movie opened. King Features editor Ward Greene (who had earlier been the first writer of Rip Kirby) wrote it, and it was illustrated by Dick Moores (a Disney comics stalwart, who later took over Gasoline Alley). A Sunday version, titled Scamp, Son of Lady & the Tramp, also by Greene and Moores, followed in January. Greene and Moores did the strip with a continuing storyline, but less than a year later, new creative personnel were doing it in a gag-a-day format. Among the many writers and artists who contributed over the years were Bill Wright (Lippy the Yippy), Sparky Moore (Winnie the Pooh) and Roger Armstrong (Ella Cinders). The longest tenure was that of Manuel Gonzales (Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland), who inked it from 1956-81. The strip ran until June, 1988.

This led to other Scamp tie-ins, including a comic book from Dell, which began in 1956. After devoting two of that year's issues of Four Color Comics (the catch-all title that ran everything from Little Joe to Calvin & the Colonel) to Scamp, and two more the following year, Dell gave him a regular series of his own in 1958. For the back pages, Dell used an obscure character named Bongo Bear. It ran until 1961. Most of the artwork was done by Al Hubbard, who also drew Dell's versions of Chip'n'Dale, Mary Jane & Sniffles, Jiminy Cricket and many others.

Little Golden Books published a couple of Scamp volumes during the mid-1960s. Gold Key Comics launched a new comic book series with a November, 1967 cover date. It started out as reprints only, but eventually ran through the 17 issues Dell did. Gold Key published a total of 45, ending in 1979.

The Scamp property lay mostly dormant during the 1990s. But as part of a recent policy of making straight-to-video sequels to many of its animated features, Disney released Lady & the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (in which his voice was done by actor Scott Wolf) on February 27, 2001. Which proves that Scamp's usefulness as a character is far from finished.


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Text ©2003-07 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Walt Disney Co.