Wednesday, June 02, 2021


This 'un reminds me of that old joke that was goin' 'round a few years back, the one about that old tee-vee show where a Jewish family adopted a Christian bear---GENTILE BEN! Hokay, only someone with a cornballus sense of hummus such as myself can appreciate a gag such as that, but I do recall watching this Sunday night program back during my single digit days an' fer the life of me I can't recall appreciating the thing one darn bit! At least when Walt Disney was filling up the Sunday night cathode connection there might be a cartoon in it but all ya got here was Ronny Howard's little brother walking around with some bear and his father used to be on GUNSMOKE and we all wonder why he left it because his career sure didn't seem so hot until he starred in McCLOUD 'n by that time he was startin' to look old anyway. 

Well at least GENTLE BEN spawned a comic series from Dell from their later-on days after Western Printing decided to form Gold Key thus leaving 'em inna lurch, and this comic echoed every bit of mundane triteness the series had successfully transferring it to the comic book medium without one beat being skipped. 

I dunno, maybe I have such a feh opinion of the series because for me Sunday night only meant Monday morning school which is why everything from ED SULLIVAN to BONANZA holds creepy kidhood memories for me. All these centuries later I still have weirditie feelings about GENTLE BEN, like this was supposed to be the kinda show I was supposed to watch so I watched it if only to placate the oldsters in my life plus I hadda look forward to another week of degradation thinkin' about it all while plopped in front of the boob tube...yech!v The nature angle was way too dull for a ranch house suburban slob such as me as well, though next to an outright turdster like LINCOLN VALE OF THE EVERGLADES it was kinda sturdy sorta as Beaver woulda put it.

The sagas in his particular ish are as blanded out the tee-vee show what with youth identification character Mark and pet bear Ben getting set adrift on an old beat up houseboat and being accused of swiping a purse from some stuck up city lady and things like that. I think that the best of these stories is the final one where some mean kid is shooting arrows at the preserve and taunts Mark for being such a hick, until he gets into a pickle himself and has to be rescued by Ben. It's good if only for the appearance of the Eddie Haskell-ish antagonist (who doesn't have the admirable negativity of Our Hero but is still irritable enough), though if I were to write the story I woulda left that bigmouth stranded in the middle of the lake to rot if only to teach him a lesson! Hey, Dell didn't subscribe to the Comics Code so maybe they woulda gotten away with that even if for the most part they were more timid'n even Harvey!

Artwork's typically post-Gold Key Dell dull and the stories coulda used some more paprika in 'em. But eh, how else are you gonna relive those laze-about summer afternoon days without a book like this! Sure brought back some youthful memories of times that coulda been better but wha' th' hey, as well as make me wonder why Dennis Weaver left GUNSMOKE inna first place because like the show wasn't the same without him and Festus seemed like a total slob in comparison. And come to think of it, by that time that other Sunday night perennial LASSIE wasn't so hot either without some kid onna farm to get into adventures with but eh, alla that great fifties/early-sixties kid action and adventure tee-vee wasn't quite the same once the hippoids started stinkin' up the place so what else was new?


top_cat_james said...

One is definitely better off reading the MAD magazine parody, "Genteel Ben" from their October 1968 issue instead (artwork by Don Martin!).

Christopher Stigliano said...

If only Jack Davis did it using that fine-pen work like he did for Harven Kurtzman, who would have written a pretty good parody of it had he only stuck to the satire mag game.

Brad said...

Does clint howard offer ben a half eaten sandwich?

Dave Nelson said...

It's okay to be bland.

Norman Finklestein said...

Don Martin?! While Israel committed genocide on the people of Palestine, Don Martin drew how many cartoons of protest? ZERO! Nada! None!

A disgrace!

debs said...

too gay :)

Alvin Bishop said...


Several glaring typos in your comment.

Are you retarded? (Chuckle!)


Gentle Ben Shapiro said...

Dell comics are good comics.