UPDATE: At the bottom of this posting you’ll see a comment from reader D.D. Degg, esteemed contributor to The Daily Cartoonist, who has traced appearances by both Dimples and Kumquat back to the mid-1950s, in the years immediately following the death of series creator George McManus, when the strip was being drawn by Vern Greene. The comment included a link to the Daily Cartoonist post on the subject that D.D. has prepared, but we wanted to billboard this excellent discovery by presenting these newly-located strips. As usual, click to see a larger view of each strip.
Thanks again, D.D.!
ORIGINAL POSTING: Letters, we get letters — just recently, we received a note from a program manager for the Book Arts & Special Collection of the San Francisco History Center from that fine city’s Public Library that said they were ” … working with a patron to identify the names of the niece and nephew of Jiggs, in George McManus’s comic strip Bringing Up Father. She [the patron] believes the niece’s name is Dimples, and the nephew’s name is Kumquat. In my attempt to identify these characters, I’ve searched the books below in the Library’s collection, but without success.”
Our newfound acquaintance went on: “I discovered that Hal Camp included characters with these names in the Bringing Up Father strip from about 1967 … but I could not confirm the characters’ relationship to Jiggs. I’m not sure if George McManus created these characters/names or if Hal Camp did. I wonder if you could help me confirm the names of Jiggs’s niece and nephew, if indeed they are related that way–as a matter of comic trivia and to satisfy my curiosity and that of our patron.”
In the week since that request arrived, we have located both Dimples and Kumquat in B.U.F. strips from the mid-1970s, when the strip was being produced by writer Bill Kavanagh and artist Hal “Camp” Campagna. Dimples calls Jiggs “Uncle” and Kumquat refers to “Aunt Maggie,” so it seems they are indeed part of the extended family (click each strip for a larger view).
We haven’t had enough time to delve further back into the history of Bringing Up Father to learn exactly when Kumquat and Dimples were added to the cast, and we’re guessing that they’re both direct members of Maggie’s family tree, because to the best of our recollection, no direct member of Jigg’s family were featured in the series (except perhaps in flashback).
We thought we’d share this with you, and ask all B.U.F. fans in our audience: do you know when Dimples and Kumquat were added to the strip? Were they the creation of Kavanagh and Campagna, or do they extend back to Vernon Greene, or perhaps to McManus himself? And are we correct that the family members who wheel through the strip are all part of Maggie’s bloodline, not Jiggs’s?
Feel free to drop is a line here if you have information to share!
It’s been fun getting re-acquainted with the Bringing Up Father characters — and here’s a look at another nephew from the same period, the very-much-of-the-times “Groover!” (Again, click each strip to enlarge.)
And remember that The Library of American Comics has two large volumes of classic George McManus B.U.F. comics — though no sign of Dimples or Kumquat (nor Groover, of course!) in either …
3 thoughts on “Calling All BRINGING UP FATHER Fans!”
I took up your challenge and, while not declaring them the debuts of the characters, I found Kumquat in a September 30, 1955 strip and Dimples in a June 8, 1956 comic. These dailies would have bee done by Bill Kavanagh and Vernon Greene.
Hey, D.D. — That’s fantastic! Wonderful to have Dimples and Kumquat pegged back to the Vern Greene years. Thanks very much for your excellent sleuthing …
— Bruce Canwell
Wow! Thank you so much D.D. Degg, for finding this information, giving me a better idea of the Who’s Who of Bringing Up Father. I’m grateful to LOAC and the comic community for the assistance in solving this mystery. And many thanks to Bruce for taking on our challenge in the first place.
Andrea V. Grimes
Book Arts & Special Collections
San Francisco Public Library