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Walt Kelly

KELLY, WALT - Our Gang #1 painted cover 1940's

Media Type: Paint - Acrylic
Art Type: Cover
Artists: Walt Kelly Painter

This piece is an original, one-of-a-kind painting of Our Gang by Walt Kelly and is being sold by the one and only original owner. This is a remake of the cover of the comic book "Our Gang", No. 1 first published in 1942, and is not being represented as the original drawing made for the comic book. Walt Kelly and his wife lived with the owner and her family in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in the early 1940's. She remembers him painting this picture on the front lawn of her home for her and her brother, probably in 1944. He signed the front and back and presented it to her mother, Kay. She states that she played with it for a couple of years before her mother placed it in a frame. Many years later it was professionally matted and framed by Kennedy Studios in Fairfield, Connecticut, and it has not been removed since that time until now. As far as we can determine, it was painted with watercolors. The bottom of the painting is signed "Best Wishes - Walt Kelly" and the back is signed: "Kay: This was made for "Our Gang"comics magazine as a cover about 1942-43. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't! W". He was referring to the No. 1 issue of Our Gang comic book published in 1942 which featured Our Gang, Barney Bear, Tom & Jerry, Pete Smith, Johnny Mole, Three Kittens. This was the first time that Tom & Jerry appeared in a comic book. The painting measures about 12 3/4" x 13 1/2". It appears to be in excellent condition and the only flaws that we can find are some minor wear and very light scratches consistant with its age.

Here are some brief highlights of Walt Kelly's life:
Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (August 25, 1913-October 18, 1973)
Moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and graduated from Warren Harding High School in 1930
Landed a position as a crime reporter on the Bridgeport Post and took up cartooning and illustrated a biography of Bridgeport native P. T. Barnum

Worked at Walt Disney Productions in California as an animator on Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Disney feature-length cartoons from 1935 to 1941

His work also appeared in early comic books (DC Comics),br> He began a series of comic books along with annuals for Christmas and Easter for Dell Comics.
He also produced a series of stories based on Our Gang films, provided covers for Walt Disney's Comics and Stories.
He then created his most famous character, Pogo, who first saw print in 1943 in Dell's Animal Comics. In 1948, Kelly began to produce a pen-and-ink strip of current-events commentary populated by characters from Okefenokee Swamp. The first Pogo strip appeared on October 4, 1948. In 1949, he arranged for syndication through the Hall Syndicate with re-launched the strip in May of 1949. Kelly eventually arranged to acquire the copyright and ownership of the strip.


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