Bil Keane, whose wholesome cartoon “Family Circus“ entertained and inspired generations of Americans looking for something positive, safe, and familiar in their daily newspaper, died November 8 at his home near Phoenix. He was 89.
Beginning in 1960, Keane drew the one-panel cartoon, carried today in nearly 1,500 newspapers, that featured cherubic siblings Billy, Jeffy, Dolly, and P.J., along with their patient and loving parents. The cartoon, which focused on mundane and familiar family settings and situations, was by far the tamest piece in the daily comics, entertaining readers “with a simple but sublime mix of humor and traditional family values,” reported the Associated Press. Keane told the AP in a 1995 interview that the cartoon’s popularity was tied to its consistency and simplicity. “It’s reassuring, I think, to the American public to see the same family,” he said.
Even though he kept up with the times, adding relevant pop culture references to keep the cartoon timely, “the context of his comic was timeless,” noted AP. “The ghost-like ‘Ida Know’ and ‘Not Me’ who deferred blame for household accidents were staples of the strip.” Other supporting cartoon cast members included the family’s pets, Barfy and Sam the dogs, along with Kittycat.
Click here to read the entire article.
Photo of Bil Keane: AP Images