howtheduck (howtheduck) wrote in binky_betsy,

What the last week of November, 1986 was supposed to look like

As we have discussed, Lynn Johnston had a set of comic strips all ready for the last full week of November when someone reminded her that she was one of the co-coordinators for the Comic Relief artists supporting USA for Africa Foundation on the U.S. Thanksgiving Day in 1986. Lynn had to redo her comic strips for the week to support a storyline about how Farley the dog has hip dysplasia and has to go on a diet and this was somehow related to hunger in Africa. The whole thing sounds extremely disorganized and that was probably one of the reasons it was the last year they did that.

Anyway, I will present the strips originally planned for the week and discuss them after the cut.


This one for Monday of the week, and Lynn did actually use this one. In the published version this sets up the hip story. As we will see, that was not Lynn’s original plan for Farley’s “arfritis”.


Stephanie’s note here is: Shares 1986-11-25 publication date with another strip about buying Farley a cane, which does NOT appear in All Downhill

Lynn originally went with her old storyline about how Old English Sheepdogs get show and dirt between their toes and that causes them problems. Lynn likes to recount how she used to clean the original Farley the dog’s feet. Never mind the fact that snow will melt and eliminate the problem. Lynn did many jokes with boots after this, but never one with dogs and boots that I could find. Although it would never work in real life, it did make for an interesting visual.


Stephanie’s Note is: This strip shares a 1986-11-26 publication date with He's Too Young To Be Old!!

I note that Lynn reused this joke with ID: 7333 Publication Date: 2004-04-18. In that case, Elly had the warm spot to be given up. I expect this joke resonates more with people who live in cold climates. In Arizona, we prefer the cool spot.


Frosty the Dirtman is a pretty poor punchline (and could suffer from copyright problems) and apparently Lynn thought so too, because she never reused this joke that I can find.


Lynn does reuse this joke where April is the victor over the kid described only in the notes as “mean kid”. Looking at his hair and his teeth, he has some kind of disease, so he should get a little more sympathy.

ID: 6376
Publication Date: 1999-01-10


Stephanie’s Note is: Strip shares a publication date of 1986-11-29 with another strip about Farley on the couch that does NOT appear in All Downhill

I could not find a joke where Lynn Johnston the word “games” in exactly this same kind of style. There are several strips where she makes jokes about games being played but not between Elly and her kids. This one has a different feel for it because a parent who is accused of not playing games with their children could be:

a. A parent who does not play the kind of mind games Elly is playing with Lizzie, or
b. A parent who doesn’t play with her kids.

Obviously (a) is not going to be Lynn, because anyone reading the comic strip would figure out very quickly that Lynn played a passive-aggressive game with getting back at her family by putting her anger with them into her comic strip. (b) is the more likely choice, because a woman who spends her time locked up in her studio all day is not going to be a woman rolling around in the floor playing games with her kids. I can’t think of a single Lynn’s Notes where Lynn talked about playing even a board game with her children. However, I keep hoping for that Lynn's Note which shows she was involved in her kids' lives.


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