BY MELANIE BUCK –
The National Lum and Abner Society will be returning to Mena for the 2015 Lum and Abner Festival. Their award-winning special guests are cartoonist John Rose (“Snuffy Smith”) and writer Mike Curtis (“Dick Tracy”), both fans of Lum and Abner.
John Rose became the cartoonist for King Features’ “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith” comic strip in 2001. He will be performing his “Snuffy Smith Chalk Talk” and autographing his book, “The Bodacious Best of Snuffy Smith.” In addition to helming his popular comic strip, Rose is an accomplished editorial cartoonist and produces “Kids Home Newspaper,” a weekly children’s cartoon/activity page distributed by Creators Syndicate. His wife Karen will be accompanying him to Mena.
Mike Curtis is the writer of the “Dick Tracy” comic strip that appears in newspapers worldwide. He is the first former law enforcement officer to write the detective’s adventures. He and artist Joe Staton have won two consecutive Harvey awards for Best Syndicated Comic Strip. In July 2014, Curtis and Staton featured Lum and Abner in a special crossover appearance in “Dick Tracy.” Curtis lives with his wife Carole on a farm in Arkansas, and in real life, is a Superman collector and animal whisperer.
Donnie Pitchford, cartoonist of the “Lum and Abner” comic strip and audio feature, will perform a program of cartoon sketching at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 5, in Janssen Park. He will discuss a bit of the history of Lum and Abner and demonstrate the methods of drawing and voicing the characters.
On Saturday, June 6, the NLAS will present a program at the Ouachita Little Theater, starring John Rose and Mike Curtis. Rose will entertain the audience with his chalk talk, followed by a new Lum and Abner script. John Rose will portray Snuffy Smith and Mike Curtis will become Dick Tracy in a wacky situation uniting our “old friends from Pine Ridge” with these classic comic strip characters. The cast will include NLAS “ossifers” Tim Hollis as Lum, Donnie Pitchford as Abner, Sam Brown as Dick Huddleston, and guest actors John Knuppel as Grandpappy Spears, Jackson Herod as Snake Hogan, and Jeff Sinsley as the mysterious Coffee. Music will be provided by Kenneth Glen Smith, Marc Ridgeway, and Jeff Sinsley. Dr. Rudi Timmerman will be in charge of the technical aspects of the program.
A “meet and greet” time begins Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the OLT, and both John Rose and Donnie Pitchford will have books of their comic strips for sale. The NLAS program starts at 1:00 p.m.National Lum & Abner Society. “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith” “Dick Tracy”