Classic Mr. Mum: 100 cartoons from "The Strange World of Mr. Mum"

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iUniverse, Jul 29, 2010 - Humor - 108 pages
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Irving W. Phillips created the widely syndicated cartoon, “The Strange World of Mr. Mum," half a century ago, but his ironic, whimsical humor remains just as relevant today.

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About the author (2010)

Irving W. Phillips created the widely syndicated cartoon, The Strange World of Mr. Mum, half a century ago, but his ironic, whimsical humor remains just as relevant today. Mr. Mum appeared from 1958 to 1970 in 180 newspapers in 22 countries. The perpetually silent title character is a good-humored, urbane, perennially befuddled gentleman who walks through the world's chaos with a deadpan expression. Mum's core is often shaken by what he observes but somehow remains stable. Mr. Mum was based on the lead character in a Broadway play written by Phillips. Rumple, which starred Eddie Foy, was the story of a cartoonist whose character materializes and starts to dominate his environment. Phillips also syndicated the comic strips Scruffy, from 1945 to 1951, and Barnaby Bungle, in 1979. In addition to the international syndication, Phillips expanded on the long-running Mr. Mum character in two books -- The Strange World of Mr. Mum, with a forward by Herblock (1965), and No Comment by Mr. Mum, with a postscript by Victor Borge (1975). Earlier, as a scriptwriter, Phillips wrote three movies and 14 plays. Song of the Open Road (1944) introduced a young Jane Powell and featured appearances by W.C. Fields and Edgar Bergen with his wooden sidekick, Charlie McCarthy. Phillips also wrote another Powell film, Delightfully Dangerous (1945). In addition, Phillips wrote or co-wrote more than 250 scripts for television shows, including The Ray Milland Show, Four Star Playhouse and The Ruggles Family. He also contributed both scripts and animation art to the ABC children's program Curiosity Shop. His cartoons were exhibited at the New York World's Fair in 1964-65 and at the National Cartoonist Society. The Strange World of Mr. Mum won the International First Prize and Cup of the Salone del'Umorismo of Bordighera, Italy, in 1969. Born in Wilton, WI, in 1905, Phillips studied art, music and theater in Milwaukee and at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. His early gigs as a musician were with dance bands. He traveled with repertory and stock companies and wrote vaudeville acts. Phillips and his wife entertained in vaudeville in the Chicago area until the Depression. Phillips began his cartooning career as humor editor for Esquire magazine in the late 1930s. This led to a job writing gags for the comedy team of George Burns and Gracie Allen, and assignments with RKO Studios and Warner Brothers. Phillips moved to the Phoenix area in 1974 and taught cartooning at Phoenix College and Arizona State University. Two of his former cartooning students are creators of the syndicated comic strips Zits and Baby Blue. Phillips died at the age of 95 in 2000.

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