I grew up reading Parade magazine in the Fargo Forum. It had a comic about a very large dog, which I think was drawn by the same fellow who did that long-running account of marital misery, “The Lockhorns.” Googling . . . yes. Bill Hoest. To my surprise, the big dog comic, “Howard Huge,” did not start until 1981, long after I lived in Fargo. As long as we’re at it:
The character was based on a real family pet. According to Bunny Hoest, the character was based on a real pet acquired when the family was looking for a Labrador Retriever as a companion to an aging black Lab. The kennel was vibrant with lively Labrador puppies, but a quiet, little animal was alone in a small cage. When they took the furry, disheveled dog out for a stretch, he tried his paws and immediately sprawled on his belly.
The kennel owner speculated that the dog had been sent to the wrong kennel (where he remained unwanted) and had been taken from his mother too soon in the breeder's haste to find a Christmas buyer. The family was appalled, and with something less than enthusiasm, they kept looking at the playful Labrador puppies. But the littlest girl held the disheveled dog on her shoulder, where he promptly fell asleep. Without being able to come to a decision, the family started to leave and told her to put the dog back. The good-natured animal kissed her face and lay quietly alone. The family was captivated.
This good-natured, placid puppy was a Saint Bernard who eventually became an enormous, loyal and lovable member of the family for the next 13 years. Howard Huge is based on that Saint Bernard.
Awww. Anyway. The other feature I read was Walter Scott’s Personality Parade, wherein people asked Walter questions about famous people and popular culture, and Walter - having stated up front that the volume of mail made individual replies impossible - would answer. There was no Walter Scott. That was the pen name of Parade writer Lloyd Shearer, whose byline graced other Parade stories. From his obit:
Mr. Shearer received an average of 5,000 letters weekly. Although it was known that Mr. Shearer wrote many of the questions, Derek Shearer insists they were composites.
Ah HAH I knew it. But if you get 5,000 letters, why would you have to make up anything? Did he go through 5K requests and think “man, there’s not a useful query in the batch this week, again.
Anyway. This week’s Personality Parade had a question from someone who wanted to know whether the “Driving Miss Daisy” production coming to movie theaters was a film or a play. Why, it’s both! Which you would know, if you just googled the name of the thing. Or there’s the question about Jimmy Page remastering the first 3 Zep albums. Why did he do that? asks Ted J in Patterson, New Jersey.
Wonder how Ted’s friends reacted to that. Hey, you hear from Parade yet? No. Probably next week. Look, I’ve been reading lots about the remastering online; Page is a fascinating and articulate musician whose intuitive grasp of the studio technology of the day - both its limitations and possibilities - seem matched only by his recollect of the processes he invented to get that signature sound. Why, the New Musical Express - “
Shut up! I don’t want to know! Walter will tell me what I need to hear! I know he will!
As it happens, the question was most timely, since Parade has a clip of an alternate take of “Heartbreaker.”
When I was in high school listening to Zep the idea that Walter Scott would ever admit their existence, let alone point us to an alternate take, would have been insane.
The town is in Bee County.
iSYNERGENATION What will Apple announce today? Please please:
VotD But that’s not the Video of the Day. This is: lots of dominos. In reverse.