Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Reading the Comics

Phil Harris (1904-1995) was a Hoosier. His hometown, Linton, Indiana, proudly claims him, even if he did leave behind the name he was given at birth. Can you blame him? Would you want to go through life with a handle like Wonga? That's his real-life wife, Alice Faye, looking on in disapproval as Phil reads Whiz Comics behind the cover of a dictionary. Whiz was the home of Captain Marvel, the original Fawcett superhero whose looks were based on Fred MacMurray's. Harris acted in movies and on radio for decades. In the late 'sixties and early 'seventies he lent his voice to Walt Disney and played Baloo in The Jungle Book (1967), Thomas O'Malley in The Aristocats (1970), and Little John in Robin Hood (1973). In The Aristocats, Harris sang a duet with Scatman Crothers, another Hoosier and a topic for another day.

Text copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley