The First Best Picture Oscar Nominee Based On A Comic Was In 1931

The comic “Skippy” was created by Percy Crosby back in 1923 and ran until 1945. It’s the story of a troublemaking young boy named Skippy Skinner, who had a series of adventures involving childhood mischief and coming-of-age foibles. The comic may be somewhat forgotten today, but for years it was a massively successful franchise that spawned ancillary merchandise, at least some of which you probably haven’t forgotten.

The popular peanut butter brand, “Skippy,” is still on the shelves and took its name from Percy Crosby’s comic but, rather pointedly, without his permission. He tried to make them stop, but the makers of the hydrogenated peanut whip eventually secured the rights to the name while Crosby was spending his waning years in a mental hospital. The next time you make yourself a PB&J, spare a thought for some poor comics creators, whose rights to their art are all too often sacrificed at one corporate altar or another.

Anyway, “Skippy” was such a pop culture juggernaut that in 1931, Paramount Pictures produced a feature film version starring Jackie Cooper, a young actor whose long career would eventually find him playing Perry White, the editor of the Daily Planet in the Christopher Reeve “Superman” movies. Directed by Norman Taurog and co-written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz — who later won multiple Academy Awards himself for writing and directing “All About Eve” and “Letter to Three Wives” — the film finds Skippy pulling out every trick he can think of to rescue his best friend’s dog from the pound before a sadistic dog catcher can put it down.

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