Wednesday, July 16, 2008

$20 Million Trove of Cartoons May Finally Get A Home

We have the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. The Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hockey Hall of Fame.

But why no Cartoon Hall of Fame?

Good news: a treasure trove of classic cartoons, worth $20 Million, may finally get a well deserved home.

Mort Walker, cartoonist for "Beetle Bailey," chronicling the lighter side of Army life, for 58 years, has amassed more than 200,000 pieces -- including comic books from heavyweights like "Spider-Man" creator Stan Lee and the late cartoonist Rube Goldberg, who died in 1970. The trove includes Mickey and Minnie Mouse drawings by Walt Disney and hand-drawn panels of "Peanuts" by Charles Schulz.

In 1996, Mr. Walker moved the collection to Boca Raton, Fla. He drew up plans for a majestic new space until two corporate sponsors filed for bankruptcy. The museum lost $5 million in expected donations and was unable to afford basic maintenance costs, Mr. Walker says. The bank foreclosed, he says, and the museum closed in 2002.

In 2007, Ohio State University Prof. Lucy Caswell, a former member of the cartoon museum's board of directors, began to talk with the Walkers about merging their collection with the university's own cartoon collection.

The university promised the art would be available for all to see, and the Walkers finally decided that was the way to go. The art arrived in Ohio last month.

From WSJ, 7-16-08, Mary Pilon reporting

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