Quacky, Danny and some of their frolicsome friends, from the book cover, Artist: Johnny Gruelle.


Original Medium: Children's picture story
First appeared: 1915
Creators: Rose Strong Hubbell (writer) and Johnny Gruelle (artist)
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Animated cartoons have always had a presence of licensed products. Even back when Felix the Cat and Koko the Clown, both of which were original characters, were the big ones, animation pioneer J.R. Bray (Dinky Doodle, Col. Heeza Liar) was dabbling in cartoons about a kids' book star named Quacky Doodles. Quacky, a product of The P.F. Volland Co., was a star not because of any extreme popularity accruing to her writer, Rose Strong Hubbell (who isn't known for other books) …

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… but because her illustrator, Johnny Gruelle (Mr. Twee Deedle) was swiftly rising on the reputation he was building, about that time, for having created a well-known doll, Raggedy Ann.

Quacky, too, was a doll. Ann was a rag doll, limp and floppy and hand-made. at least at first, by members of Gruelle's family. But Quacky and her friend, Danny Daddles, were made of wood, with bendable neck and knees. Volland included a doll with each book purchase.

Volland published Quacky Doodles' and Danny Daddles' Book in 1915, just as Raggedy Ann was making the transition from a toy Gruelle had made for his daughter to a mass-produced item supported by published stories and illustrations. It included six stories by Strong and Gruelle, two of which were about Quacky and Danny, with the others about their "frolicsome friends", The Old Teddy Bear, Cleety the Clown, The 50 Lead Soldiers and The Big Lion. It had several printings, but no new editions were published later.

Bray's first Quacky cartoon, Quacky Doodles' Picnic, was released February 18, 1917. Five more followed, ending with Quacky Doodles the Cheater, which came out Oct. 15 of the same year.

With no new editions, no follow-up books, and only a handful of cartoons, Quacky Doodles quickly passed out of public consciousness. Today, it's remembered only as one of the rarest and least-known of Johnny Gruelle's books.


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