On Strips: Gordon Campbell Tells the Truth

By | Friday, October 27, 2017 Leave a Comment
To Tell the Truth has had a solid life on television, beginning in 1956 and coming out with new episodes (in fits and starts) for over 25 of the following years. The concept is basically that three individuals claim to be the same person; a group of panelists then ask questions of them to see who seems to be telling the truth about their identity. It's first iteration was host by former Superman voice actor Bud Collyer, who I mentioned last year hosted an episode featuring Chester Gould.

I came across a more interesting episode, though, featuring Gordon Campbell from 1961. Campbell certainly isn't as well known as Gould was, but here's his overview story that Collyer reads on behalf of Campbell during the episode...
I, Gordon Campbell, am an authority on comic strips. My collection contains examples of some 2000 different strips, many of them no longer in existence and some of them dating from before the turn of the century. It contains such rare items as Foxy Grandpa, Buster Brown, Mutt and Jeff, vintage Little Orphan Annie, And Her Grand Old Name Was Maud, The Shenanigan Kids, and the first of all comic strips, The Yellow Kid. Mine is the largest private collection of comic strips in the world.
What I find interesting is that, while there is one reference to collecting strips being a "curious hobby" it's otherwise treated in a reasonably serious fashion. The panelists even seem eager and excited to talk about their (presumably) favorite strips.

Campbell's status is much like that of Bill Blackbeard's. His collection was indeed impressive (although I gather Blackbeard's surpassed it at some point) probably owing in large part to the fact that he spent much of his professional career as art director for the Newspaper Printing Corp. The collection appears to have gone to Steve Geppi's Entertainment Museum sometime after Campbell's death. I don't believe any of it is on display, however, so it's accessibility seems rather limited, as the Geppi's doesn't have the same type of research capabilities as, say, The Billy Ireland Museum.

I can't seem to find any particulars about Campbell's death. I found a reference to a Gordon Campbell who was born in 1928 and passed away in 1985, but that would mean he would've been 33 when he appeared on To Tell the Truth and, frankly, he looks considerably older than that in the episode. Beyond that, I can only say that he'd been gone for at least a few years by 2008, and that his estate largely went to his nephew as he and his wife had no children.

In any event, I find it interesting that Campbell and his efforts were recognized on television as early as 1961. You can watch the full show if you like, but Campbell's portion begins at the 17:19 mark...
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