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Posted at 09:45 AM ET, 07/17/2009

Is 'Dennis' Merely a Menace? Time to Defend That 'Toon

Yes, 'Riffs readers, time once again to play: Defend...That...Toon!


Just how old is Dennis the Menace? Well in theory, this "lovable" mischievous scamp is a perpetual 5-year-old. By real-life applications of Actual Time Measurement, though, Dennis carbon-dates as being in his 58th year. In other words, he's nearly as old as "Peanuts" and "Beetle Bailey" (which both launched in 1950), and comparatively, he makes "Family Circus" look like a short-and-pumpkin-headed spring chicken.

One thing that's tough to argue with: "Dennis the Menace" quickly found mass cultural success -- on film, on the stage, on the page (millions of books sold) and most notably the early '60s hit TV show. Creator Hank Ketcham died in 2001, survived by his long-employed former assistants, who continue to produce the strip; his real-life son Dennis, the strip's inspiration; and even actress Gina Lollobrigida, for whom the character Gina was said to be named.

The merits of various "zombie strips" -- as well as kids' "gateway strips" -- have much been discussed here. Now, the Question of the Day for 'Riffs readers is: Does "Dennis the Menace" earns its real estate on The Post's funnypages?

If you're not a fan, feel free to Impugn-That-Toon. Otherwise, 'Riffs invites your comments. It's time to Defend...That...'Toon.

By  |  09:45 AM ET, 07/17/2009

Categories:  Defend That 'Toon

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