Dennis the Menace - Wednesday, December 9, 2015

We have already had an amazing week here on the American Treasure Tour blog, discussing the golf clubs and metal detectors we have on display in the Toy Box.  While it is (very) safe to say we have a fair share of tools and sporting equipment on display to share with our visitors, it is also equally (very) safe to say we have lots more different stuff to enjoy.  Of course, we are referring to our...comic book character art. Why not, right?  We have spontaneously decreed that today is Dennis the Menace day here because, as we said, why not, right?  Dennis actually makes a few appearances here at the tour.  The image to the right is of an oddly-shaped one panel strip starring Dennis making a mess.  This is located in the Toy Box, directly underneath our metal detectors.  We also have animations in which he opens and closes window shutters, sticking his face out with his big smile.  That's pretty much all he does, open and close the shutters.  He does it with a smile, though, so we will assume he's happy.

Dennis was 'born' (or created) in 1951 by Hank Ketcham.  The great-grandson of a presidential candidate, Ketcham was a Seattle native born in 1920 who became interested in drawing when he was only six.  He became quite accomplished at the trade, working in the Disney studio on such films as Pinocchio, Fantasia and Bambi before joining the US Navy Reserve during World War II.  His own son Dennis inspired his most famous creation when as a five year-old boy he opted to tear apart his room instead of napping.  His mother, Alice, complained to Ketcham that their son "was a menace," inspiring the incredibly successful character.  Within two years of his creation, "Dennis the Menace" was in well over two hundred newspapers worldwide.  In 1994, when Ketcham stopped making strips himself and left them to his assistants Al Wisemen and Fred Toole, it was printed in over one thousand different newspapers in forty-eight countries, translated into nineteen languages.

The innocent but destructive behavior of young Dennis created its own culture.  Comic books, movies, television shows, and even a playground, were all inspired by this character.  And what of the real Dennis, Dennis Ketcham?  You could say his fictional counterpart haunted him somewhat.  After a stint in Vietnam as a marine, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.  His relationship with his father became estranged, and he had a difficult time holding down a job.  Prior to his death in 2001, Hank expressed regret for unwittingly subjecting his young son to the fame that negatively impacted his life, but hopefully Dennis, now 69, has found comfort knowing how many people adore the character he inspired.
QUESTION:  What was Dennis the Menace's dog's name?
A)  Ruff Mitchell
B)  Rover Mitchell
C)  Spot Mitchell
D)  Leon Mitchell

IT'S A DAILY!  Ever hear of Noah Webster, not to be confused with Daniel Webster?  Daniel was the politician, one of the three most influential men in Washington, D.C. to never become president (along with Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun).  If you don't know Noah, you know his creation:  the first American dictionary.  His first dictionary was published in 1828.  But, on this day in 1793, Noah Webster started publication of the first daily newspaper in New York City, the American Minerva.  May not sound like a big thing today, but it was HUGE back then.  Really.

KEEP IT FROZEN SO IT CAN LAST.  Today we celebrate the birth of an important innovator who's name is all but forgotten.  Clarence Birdseye, the man who figured out how to effectively freeze food without sacrificing its flavor.  Born in 1886, he worked for a time as a taxidermist and 'naturalist' (which, at the time, meant killing predatory animals as part of research).  He was in Labrador, now a part of Canada, when he learned about flash freezing, far more effective than the techniques of the day, and the beginning of an internationally successful industry now called frozen food.

QUOTE:  If you can be the best, then why not try to be the best. - Garrett Morgan

ANSWER:  A)  Ruff Mitchell