See you in the funny papers

Poor old Scranton (that’s Scra-ann to some). It’s always been the butt of jokes and ridicule but now the joke has spread to the funny pages. Back in the days of vaudeville Scranton and Wilkes-Barre both were fairly important stops on the tours. The legend goes that booking agents for New York would try out acts in this area because the audiences were difficult to please. The catch phrase became “If you can make it in Scranton, you can make it anywhere!”

Over the years Scranton has made it to the big and little screens but not always with a positive spin. Witness this exchange from the legendary TV show “”All in the Family”

Archie:”We’re going to fly to Florida”
Edith: “Florida? No, I want to go to Scranton.”
Archie:”Scranton? What’s in Scranton?”
Edith: “My cousin Emily”.
Archie:”The only way you’ll get me to fly to Scranton is if some screwball hijacks the plane.”

In the Movie “Home Alone” Macaulay Culkin’s mother ends up in van with John Candy’s Polka band in Scranton. It’s a very funny scene.

In the “Sopranos” Paulie Walnuts takes a trip to Boston and describes it as “Scranton with Clams.”

Andy Rooney in a 60 minutes segment mentioned the Electric City in a disparaging way commenting on housing prices here (he thought they were too low) and the fact that garbage collection was suspended on Columbus Day.

Then of course there was the wonderful portrayal of Scranton in Jason Millers “That Championship Season.” If you’ve never seen it it’s worth it for the scene where the Mayor hands out roses. You can’t make this stuff up.

But I think this is the first time we ever made the funny pages.

On Friday August 1st, 2008 The King Features syndicated cartoon “Blondie” showed tightwad Dagwood trying to buy a birthday gift for his long suffering wife Blondie.

He turns down perfume from “Roberto Lemongello of Naples at $125 an ounce and from “Antonio Scentonelli of Venice” at $65 per ounce. In the last panel we see Dagwood and Blondie on the couch as Dagwood proudly hands her genuine “Ted McGillicutty of Scranton” for $6.50 an ounce.

Blondie is delighted.

Blondie, whose maiden name was Boopadoop and Dagwood appear in 2,300 newspapers all around the world and have been translated into 35 different languages in 55 countries and are read by an estimated 280 million people every day.
I sense a marketing opportunity. If someone could bottle the essence of Scranton (and I am not real sure what that would smell like) and sell it as “Genuine Ted McGillicutty of Scranton” I bet you could get more than $6.50 an ounce.

See you in the funny papers.

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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