The Ultimate Droodles Compendium: The Absurdly Complete Collection of All the Classic Zany Creations

The Ultimate Droodles Compendium: The Absurdly Complete Collection of All the Classic Zany Creations


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Before the inspired nonsense of Monty Python, David Letterman and the Far Side, there were Droodles. With a few squiggles in a simple square, these clever drawings created absurd scenes like "Ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch" (used by Frank Zappa as an album cover), "Octopus signaling for a left turn" and "Clam with buck teeth." And they were all the creation of one brilliant and unpredictable man: Roger Price.

At the height of their popularity in the mid-1950s, fans enjoyed the Droodles TV show, a Droodles daily newspaper column, Droodles magazine features, Droodles cocktail napkins, even Droodles in ads for Lucky Strike cigarettes. Like hula hoops, drive-in movies and UFOs, Droodles were one of the biggest fads of the 1950s.

Now Droodles make their triumphant return to delight a new generation that can use some laughs. The Ultimate Droodles Compendium includes every one of Roger Price's 352 most famous Droodles in delightful new full-quality reproductions, with Price's inspired text and quirky footnotes. There's more: a Roger Price/Droodles reminiscence by beloved media critic Leonard Maltin, a full history of Roger Price and Droodles by Emmy-winning writer Fritz Holznagel, and comments from comedy legend Carl Reiner, Boing Boing's Mark Frauenfelder and Carla Sinclair, and others.

Droodles are back in this handsome, hilarious, ultimate collection from Tallfellow Press. Droodles now. Droodles forever!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781931290692
Publisher: Tallfellow Press
Publication date: 03/06/2019
Pages: 280
Sales rank: 268,780
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Roger Price's Droodles books sold more than 1 million copies between its debut in 1953 and his death in 1990. His Mad Libs have sold more than 150 million copies (and counting!) since he co-created them with Leonard Stern in 1958. Price's career was packed with other landmarks: touring Europe with Bob Hope, appearing with Steve Allen on the original Tonight Show, doing standup comedy at the Village Vanguard and publishing the cultural critiques In One Head and Out the Other and The Great Roob Revolution. Always funny and often provocative, Price was one of America's most original comic voices.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and for his 30-year run on TV's Entertainment Tonight. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He holds court at and does a weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies.

Fritz Holznagel is the Emmy-winning writer of the CBS special A Claymation Easter Celebration and the co-creator of the groundbreaking online encyclopedia Who2. He has written for digital media from The Dictionary of American History to Where in the U.S.A. is Carmen SanDiego? and his books include The World Wide Web Top 1000 and Secrets of the Buzzer. A past winner of the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, he represented the USA at the first-ever Jeopardy! Olympic Tournament.

Read an Excerpt

From A Brief History of Roger Price and Droodles:

All the geometric Americana of the era showed up in Droodles: cigarettes, bowling balls, martini glasses, bow ties and TV antennae. Price was infatuated with and infuriated by television, and Droodles are full of 1950s ad themes like floating soap, marching cigarettes and chlorophyll for fresh breath.

The text was pure offbeat Price, with an absurdity that was less post-Bob Hope and more pre-Monty Python. A Droodle about the Tower of Pisa somehow turned into an appreciation of the Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. A Droodle titled Navel Orange Wearing a Bikini Bathing Suit led to a story about Price’s Uncle Parker, the garbage collector. (“He didn’t work for the Sanitation Department ― he just liked to collect garbage.”)

Price’s unlikely daily feature appeared in over 100 newspapers nationwide, from the Globe-Times of Amarillo, Texas to the Daily Telegraph of Bluefield, West Virginia. Droodles were popular enough that in the fall of 1953, Simon and Schuster brought out a hardcover collection titled simply Droodles.

The book cost one dollar and included Price’s commentary on dozens of Droodles. Among them were early favorites like Bear Climbing Up the Other Side of a Tree. On the cover was a note from Roger: “Buy this book now! It’s later than you think!” A sequel to the Droodles book, The Rich Sardine, came out the very next year and included classics like Spider Doing a Handstand and Bullets for a Square Shooter. By then, Price was gathering new inspiration from viewer submissions to his very own nationwide Droodles TV show.

Early in 1954, Price brought Droodles to the NBC daytime show of Garry Moore — his old friend from Club Matinee days in Chicago. When 800 letters arrived from viewers in the days after the show, Moore gave Price a contract for 13 more weekly appearances.

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