Obscurity of the Day: Rich and Famous

Stu Hample, in amongst his varied activities as an entertainer, had a long-running panel cartoon titled Children’s Letters to God. In 1976 either Stu ran out of entertaining missives to the Creator, or the last newspapers that ran it finally ODed on the intense sugary sweetness of the feature. Left without a gig, Stu must have prayed just a little too hard for a new entree into newspapers, because he ended up with two of ’em. One was Inside Woody Allen, the other was this feature, Rich and Famous.

Hample was engaged by two competing syndicates, so on King Features’ Inside Woody Allen he chose to work under a pseudonym at first, using his real identity on this feature for Field Enterprises.

Rich and Famous had a good gimmick with its tale of would-be entertainment mogul Bruce Rich. The endless parade of offbeat acts he represents gives the strip plenty of room for comedy. The problem, I think, is that Bruce is such a lazy good for nothing, and borderline cruel to his doting wife Daphne, that he’s a complete turn-off. He really has no redeeming features, and he’s not even an amusing ne’er do well. He’s just off-putting.

Hample undoubtedly would have preferred to make a success of this feature, being lock, stock and barrel his own, rather than the other feature where he was in the comedic and financial shadow of Woody Allen. But it didn’t take long to figure out in which basket his eggs would do best. Rich and Famous started on November 1 1976, and seems to have pooped out less than five months later, on March 12 1977.

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