If British cartoonist George Studdy never drew Bonzo in headphones we would still love his little dog more than any other pooch in print, our own funny little dog-faced ham excluded, but of course.
Not an amateur radio operator, at least not in the avocational sense, Bonzo flogged Bontone headphones and Crosley radios, among an astonishing range of mostly English consumer products for a strong run roughly after the first world war through the second. We don't have the figures, but we suspect in today's money we might be talking Snoopy Money, if not real SpongeBob SquarePants Scratch -- if kindly Mr. Studdy had more aggressive reprensentation and was not quite so generous a man to all and sundry as he seems to have been.
We can't stress enough, despite our focus on radio-related imagery, that Bonzo's mug moved more goods and services than ever dreamed of by the likes of RCA's exponentially less than visionary mascot Nipper.
We're talking a WalMart load of merchandise and more. Not just the toys, puzzles and mega-plush you'd expect, but stove paint, garters, safety razors, relish, jam, tires, and hospitals -- yes, London's Princess Beatrice Hospital in Earl's Court. And that's not counting counterfeit gewgaws and gimcracks.
Yes, in addition to magazines, postcards and newspaper syndication, Bonzo worked all the angles. And by today's antiseptic standards, he went well beyond the fringe smoking a fag bigger than life smack dab in Piccadilly Circus. But in 1925, the pop pup was just livin' large-- and who just passing by couldn't get a vicarious charge from this smokin' shootin' star. You go, Bonzo!
No one with a taste for retro comic art and pop culture should be without Bonzo,The Life and Work of George Studdy, by Paul Babb and Gay Owen, published by Richard Dennis of Somerset, UK.
This colorful, well-written, smartly put-together hardbound is pretty much the gateway kit for anyone unafraid of cultivating a full-blown Bonzo jones, well beyond mere comic art appreciation to the point of (gasp!) starting a collection of Bonzo tchotchkes.
You'll enjoy biography, artistic development and best of all, a bonanza of Bonzo graphics, -- from magazine illustrations, advertising art, publicity shots and family photos, to an extensive color catalog of Studdy's postcard lines as well as a fascinating color overview of collectible merchandise.
Too, graphic artists will find it a useful period reference, for styles, palettes and especially burlesque comic expression and gesture, of which Studdy was a master.
Some proper Bonzo links: