Barney Google and Snuffy Smith is one of the longest-running comic strips in history. Created by Billy DeBeck in 1919, it first appeared in the sports section of the Chicago Herald and Examiner as Take Barney Google, F'rinstance. It starred the cigar-smoking, sports-loving, poker-playing, girl-chasing ne'er-do-well Barney Google. By October of that year, the strip was distributed by King Features to newspapers all across the country. In 1934, Barney Google met Snuffy Smith, a hillbilly who soon eclipsed him in popularity. Not long after this meeting, the strip became known as Barney Google and Snuffy Smith. In 1942, the comic strip was inherited by DeBeck’s long-time assistant, Fred Lasswell, who continued to draw the strip until his death in March 2001. Lasswell, a master of the sight gag, really developed the hillbilly characters of Hootin’ Holler. John Rose, who inked the strip for Lasswell, has been carrying on the bodacious tradition of being the strip’s cartoonist since 2001.
This tremendously popular feature boasts hundreds of clients in 21 countries and 11 languages. It has added several phrases to the American vernacular, including “sweet mama,” “horsefeathers,” “heebie-jeebies” and “hotsie-totsie.” It has been the inspiration for a hit song, “Barney Google (With Your Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes)” and is one of a few historical comic strips to be honored on a special set of U.S. postage stamps.
Awards and Distinctions
In 1946, the National Cartoonist Society named its first outstanding cartoonist of the year award The Billy DeBeck Award. It was given out every year until 1953, when it was replaced with the Reuben Award.
In 1946, Fred Lasswell was presented with the prestigious Silver Lady Award from the Banshees Society in New York City for his work on the Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip.
In 1963, Fred Lasswell won the coveted National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award as “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year,” as well as the award for “Best Humor Strip Cartoonist.”
In 1984, Lasswell was presented the NCS' Elzie Segar Award for his unique and outstanding contributions to the profession of cartooning.
The book "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith: 75 Years of An American Legend" by Brian Walker was published in 1994.
In 1995, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith became one of a few historical comic strips to be honored on a special set of U.S. postage stamps.
John Rose was honored with the 2004 Outstanding Professional Achievement in the Media Award from the Public Relations Council of the Shenandoah Valley for his work on the Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip.
John Rose was honored with the Jamboree 2010 Contingent Leadership Award by the Stonewall Jackson Area Council of Boy Scouts (VA/WV) for creating a commemorative Snuffy Smith 100th Anniversary of Boy Scouting patch for the National Jamboree.
In 2013, "The Bodacious Best of Snuffy Smith" was published. In this volume, cartoonist John Rose selected more than 350 of his favorite Barney Google and Snuffy Smith strips from 2004-2013. This collection is the first collection of Rose's work on the strip.
In 2015 Rose was honored with the Lum and Abner Memorial Award in Mena, Ark., by the National Lum And Abner Society for his contributions to rural humor as the cartoonist for the Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip.
In 2017, at Walt Disney's Hometown Toonfest in Marceleine, MO, Rose was honored with an award for his contributions to cartooning through his work on the Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip.
In 2018, John Rose was awarded First Place from the Tennessee Press Association in 2018 for Best Use Of Humor In An Ad for a series wildfire prevention public service newspaper ads featuring Snuffy Smith. He created these "Snuff Out Wildfires Before They Start" ads for the Knoxville News-Sentinel and the Tennessee Press Association after devastating wildfires hit eastern Tennessee.
Ol’ Bullet loves nothing more than huntin’, fishin’ or relaxin’ with Snuffy. Their relationship proves that dog definitely is man’s best friend!
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