Baby Snoots and Uptite Mouse on the occasion of their first meeting.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Gold Key Comics
First Appeared: 1970
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Gold Key Comics, an imprint of Western Printing and Publishing, was best known for its comic books about licensed licensed cartoon characters such as Woody Woodpecker and The Pink Panther. But right from the start, it supplemented …

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… that with fully original material like Doctor Solar and Wacky Witch. Baby Snoots, a Gold Key original launched with an August, 1970 cover date, was a young elephant based, in name at least, on actress Fanny Brice's well-remembered character from the first half of the 20th century, Baby Snooks.

Brice's Snooks already had a toon connection. The name came from "Snookums", as the baby in cartoonist George McManus's The Newlyweds was often called. Baby Snooks first appeared in 1912 as part of Brice's vaudeville act, and stayed in the public eye until her death in 1951, when the character was a star on radio.

Baby Snoots was born into a family of circus elephants. As the first issue opened, "Mama Dear" and "Papa Dear" (the only names readers knew for the family's senior members) were retiring from show business to devote their attention to their darling offspring's career as a concert trumpeteer. Unfortunately, Snoots's trumpeting ability was a lot like that of Little Lulu's friend Tubby on the violin — worse, in fact, because Tubby at least managed to stay with the same music teacher, whereas Snoots drove at least one to graduate him so he wouldn't have to listen to the cacaphonous din any longer. But Mama Dear and Papa Dear always loved to hear Snoots play.

Also introduced in the beginning was Uptite Mouse, who scared Snoots the first time they met, as mice are said to do with elephants, but soon became the child's best friend — tho Mom and Dad, especially Papa Dear, never did warm to him. Another cliché about elephants that Baby Snoots violated was the allegation that members of the species never forget. Snoots forgot things all the time. In fact, his bad memory was an ongoing schtick.

Baby Snoots was one of the longer-lasting of Gold Key's original series. It didn't run as long as Magnus or Space Family Robinson. Nor was it even close to Turok, Son of Stone, which Western had been publishing even before Gold Key existed, back when its comic books went through Dell Comics. But Snoots lasted a respectable 22 issues, a little bit longer than The Jungle Twins or Dagar the Invincible. The last issue was dated November, 1975.


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Text ©2007 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Western Printing and Lithographing.