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Originally shared by Grand Comics Database
The Gumps, a popular comic strip about a middle-class family, was created by Sidney Smith in 1917, launching a 42-year run in newspapers from February 12, 1917, until October 17, 1959.
As revealed in Life in 1937, Smith’s strip was inspired by a real-life person he met through his brother: „Born 47 years ago in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, as Andy Wheat, he acquired his unusual physiognomy as the result of an infection following the extraction of a tooth, which eventually necessitated the removal of his entire lower jaw. Through Dr. Thomas Smith of Bloomingdale, Illinois, a dentist and a brother of Sidney Smith, he met the cartoonist, who saw in him an ideal comic character. Andy subsequently had his name legally changed to Gump. His wife’s name is Min and he has two children named Chester and Goliath, now living in San Francisco, and an Uncle Bim who lives in Georgia. His home is in Tucson, Arizona, but he also has a farm near his birthplace in Mississippi.”
The Gumps made its debut in an unusual way. Cartoonist Sidney Smith had previously drawn and written Old Doc Yak, a talking-animal strip that sustained only a brief run. The very last Old Doc Yak strip depicted Yak and his family moving out of their house, while wondering who might move into the house next. On Thursday, February 8, 1917, the last panel showed only the empty house. On Monday, February 12, 1917, after the Gumps were introduced in the space formerly occupied by Old Doc Yak, they moved into the house formerly occupied by the Yak family.
The Gumps in the Grand Comics Database: