Dick Huemer and Mussolini

As long as we’re talking about animation personages getting ideas from Axis dictators in the 1930s…

Dr. Richard Huemer, son of Dick Huemer, was nice enough to give me copies of some clippings his father had tucked away. Here’s one from a Baton Rouge paper (undated, but presumably from 1930 or 1931) about Dick and Toby the Pup, the character who’s most famous for being even more obscure than Scrappy. A few notes:

1) You’ve gotta love an article with the line “Dick Heumor, who’s [sic] real name is Dick Huemer…”

2) The uncredited author of the story wasn’t all that excited about interviewing the creator of Toby, apparently–in both his lede and conclusion, he or she makes an ungainly attempt to associate Dick with Mickey Mouse, well before Huemer did join the Disney organization.

3) Scrappy cartoons often have a postmodern, self-referential quality, as if they’re parodies of 1930s animation. I see something of the same tone in Dick’s tale of how Toby had been inspired by a dog he’d owned named Toby, who saved his life. In France.

4) Whether or not the shocking truth about Walt Disney and Adolf Hitler’s relationship is ever uncovered, at least we’ve learned this: Il Duce had a hand in the creation of Toby. Who knew?

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