Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Merchant of Dennis The Menace The Autobiography of Hank Ketcham

The Merchant of Dennis The Menace The Autobiography of Hank Ketcham

Hank Ketcham is the creator of Dennis Menace based on his five year old son. Hank Ketcham says he was always interested in being a cartoonist since he was five year olds.

He had been drawing cartoons all his life. He even left college early to go work in Los Angeles as a cartoonist. He started working as a cartoonist at Walt Lantz studios. Then he eventually reached his dream of working for Disney where he worked on Pinocchio, Donald Duck, Bambi, and other films.

He calls his education university of Disney. The section of Disney is the history of the studio from an artist working thre during its early days. He worked with many famous cartoonists like Walt Kelly.

This book details the artists life. It describes the every day life of a working cartoonist: the deadlines; the reliance on gag writers; and learning from other cartoonists.

There are illustrattions and photographs from every part of Hank Ketcham's career. This includes some unexpected episodes like the Dennis The Menace Playground and Half Hitch, a cartoon about a navy sailor in the 1960's.

For Dennis The Menace fans there are biographical sketches of all the major characters, Martha and George Wilson, Henry Mitchell, Alice Mitchell, Joey McDonald, Gina Gillotti, Margaret Wade, and Ruff the dog. Hank Ketcham wanted to include an African American character, but when he tried initially there was an outcry against how the character was portrayed. It was his one regret about the series.

In addition to being a cartoonist, Hank Ketcham travelled all over the world; he lived in Switzerland for ten years, and travelled through Russia during the cold war. Dennis the Menace is known as Daniel el Travieso in South America and Henkie Het Huisgevaar in Amsterdam.

You get a picture of a very conservative man who wrote a very universal character for children. Hank Ketcham was a father of five, a navy man, a supporter of Barry Goldwater, a lover of Bing Crosby, powerboating and golf who supported strictly traditional values in raising children.

This book is excellent. I enjoyed the cartoons, photographs, and writing. It was accessible to read and good clean fun.


Shea said...

I'd like to read a book about that Madoff guy. Interesting, 40 year, scheme of some kind.

Book Calendar said...

Richard Madoff is still in court and being arraigned. The scam is huge $50 billion dollars. I would not trust something that came out this early in publishing. It takes time to properly dig up all the dirt.