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AL SCADUTO, 1928-2007

Al Scaduto, who cartoonist Mike Lynch called “the last of the great bigfoot cartoonists,” died December 7, Pearl Harbor Day; he was 79. Scaduto’s professional biography is remarkably short: he spent his entire career doing the syndicated panel cartoon feature, They’ll Do It Every Time, but in perpetuating this happy relic from another age, Scaduto performed a minor miracle: visually, he gave it a modern up-to-date patina while preserving its vintage aura.

Scaduto was born July 12, 1928, in the Bronx, New York. He attended the School of Industrial Arts, now called the School of Art and Design. SIA was founded, Scaduto liked to report, by four young art teachers in 1936 who built desks from old orange crates and plywood. At SIA, Scaduto met a trio of other students, all destined for cartooning — Sy Barry, Joe Giella, and Emilio Squeglio. Scaduto also attended classes at the Art Students League, and he sold his first cartoons while still in high school at SIA. Needing money to attend his senior prom, he worked up two pages of comics and sold them to King Features for its Popeye comic book. When he graduated in 1946, he knocked again at the door of the syndicate. “I thought I would give it a shot,” he told Dirk Perrefort at the Connecticut Post last winter, “and they gave me a job as an office boy. I did that for about eight months before they made me a corrections artist.” Two years later, he was working on They’ll Do It Every Time (“TDIET,”as it’s often abbreviated).

For an abridged history of TDIET, including an appreciation of Scaduto’s remarkable work on it, visit the usual place, www.RCHarvey.com, Rants & Raves, Op. 215. You won’t regret it.

For more Rants & Raves with its comics news and reviews, gossip and cartooning lore, visit www.RCHarvey.com

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