Monday, September 7, 2009

Frank 'Hop' Hopkins

Frank ‘Hop’ Hopkins was a Chicago cartoonist who had a runaway hit with The Snuggle Pups comic strip which ran through 1923 and 1924. Hop’s strip was syndicated by the John F. Dille Company. It was not his first comic strip. Hop created Scoop, the Cub Reporter, in 1915 and sent him off to the trenches of WWI. The Snuggle Pups strip was helped along by a Pokemon type craze among kids for little wood-carved snuggle pup toys. It’s unclear if the yearning for pup toys led to the strip or if it was the comic strip which created the craze. Pups were advertised as early as 1922. At any rate contests were run with Pups as the prizes, a short film was produced, and huge crowds stormed department stores hoping to please little Jimmy and Joanie. When the fad was long over, in the forties, the phrase ‘snuggle pups’ was still in use to describe teens going steady.

In Toronto the strip was run in the Toronto Telegram as the “Tely Snuggle Pups,” replacing Richard ‘Dick’ Taylor’s home grown Mystery Men strip. This image shows a huge Pup float overlooking a crowd of kids surrounding Pick, Wick and Hick, the Toronto Mystery Men.

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