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Shrdlu Keeps the Home Fires Burning

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The La Feria News staff this week got out the Christmas edition of the news and the January issue of a new magazine, The Border Scope, and closed doors until after Christmas. Everyone needed a rest. Everyone was dead tired.

Everybody, that is, except Shrdlu our office cat. Shrdlu, who no longer believes in Santa Claus, was punished for his rank disbelief and made to stay at home to keep the home fires a-burning. As you read this, Shrdlu is probably fuming over his plight, but a smart cat like him ought to know there is a Santa Claus. It seems that Shrdlu got into bad company and got told that there wasn’t a Santa Claus.

But the story goes back further than that.

Shrdlu came to us on a Christmas Day, with a red red ribbon tied around his furry neck. He was a downright cute kitten to have turned out to be such a headstrong stick of feline dynamite.

So we always told him that Santa Claus brought him to us. It was a good story and sounded good to him, too, until he took up with bad company.

One day while casually discussing cats and cats we mention the fact again that Santa Claus have brought Shrdlu to us.

Shrdlu sniffed mightily, arched his back, and purred nastily, “I know better than that, you can’t fool me! There ain’t a Santa Claus, the stork brought me!”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Shrdlu our Office Cat is a feature that ran weekly in the mid 1948 – 1949 editions of La Feria News. The feature ran in a one column section entitled “The Corner” which was used as a forum for small editorials and filler stories. The feature usually consisted of a small illustration with a humorous story.

Throughout the year we’ll be running the Shrdlu cartoons, as well as other vintage cartoons from our archives, as space allows.

We’re trying to discern the identity of the cartoonist that produced the Shrdlu feature, but haven’t been able to find very much information online.

At present our best guess is that it was a throwaway filler by cartoonist Nathan Collier.

According to Lambiek Comiclopedia: Collier was born in Orangeville, Illinois. He studied at the Acme School of Drawing and at the Lockwood Art School. He did cartoons for the Chicago Journal, as well as the feature ‘Our Own Movies’ (1920). His panel ‘Little Journeys to Yesterday’ alternated with ‘Wouldn’t It Make You Mad’. He did the comic strip ‘Kelly Kids’ around 1923 and cartoons for Life and Judge. In the 1930s, he made the panel ‘Can It Be Done?’ and the comic strip ‘The Professor’.

If any readers have any information on the identity of this cartoonist, please email us at news@laferianews.net.

This cartoon ran in the December 23, 1948 issue of La Feria News.

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