‘Rick O’Shay’: blast from the past

When I was working on yesterday’s post about author/historian Robert Utley–which came to mind when I read some tribute articles about him in “Montana, The Magazine of Western History”–I couldn’t help but notice the picture on the magazine’s cover was the character Hipshot Percussion from the comic strip Rick O’Shay that was syndicated from 1958 to 1981. I wonder how many readers recognized the guy before they read the “on the cover” blurb on the contents page.

Rick O’Shay was a small-town western sherrif whose best friend was the gunslinger Hipshot Percussion. I remember Stan Lynde’s comic strip since it appeared in our local paper. I was rather put off by the characters’ names which, as Wikipedia reminds us, “were gambler Deuces Wilde, dance hall owner Gaye Abandon, physician Dr. Basil Metabolism (and his nurse, Ophelia Pulse), gunsmith and Civil War veteran Cap’n Ball, banker Mort Gage and a boy named Quyat Burp. The neighboring Kyute Indian tribe includes Chief Horse’s Neck, his ugly but sweet daughter Moonglow and her persistent suitor Crazy Quilt.”

According to Wikipedia, “Hipshot is frequently referred to as an ‘outlaw,’ and in one strip he decided to regain his losses at poker by holding up the local bank. Sometimes in the Sunday strip he is shown alone, on horseback, in the Western background, speaking to his Maker, whom he addresses as ‘Boss.’ He does not attend church and prefers to recognize his God in a privately styled fashion.”

I think I read the comic strip last in the Sunday comics, preferring Dick Tracy, Blondie, and Beetle Bailey.

–Malcolm

P.S. My favorite comic strip of all time was Krazy Kat. It ran before I was around, but my father had the collected episodes in a book.

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