Title: Treasure Chest Of Fun And Fact
Issue: Vol. 15, No. 1
Publisher: George A. Pflaum
Cover Artist(s): Frank Borth (signed)
To quote THE SIMPSONS’ Homer Simpson, “There’s only two kinds of guys who wear those shirts – gay guys and big fat party animals.” I have no idea if “The Champ”, -- this Oddball Comic’s cover-star -- is gay or not, but he sure looks like a big fat party animal to me! (S’funny, every comic shop and convention I attend has at least one guy like this there – oh, wait, that’s me! No wonder I dig “The Champ” so much!*)
TREASURE CHEST OF FUN AND FACT -- or, as it was commonly known as, simply TREASURE CHEST – was a professionally produced educational comic book available only to students attending Catholic parochial schools. Publisher George A. Pflaum also produced such religion-themed magazines as YOUNG CATHOLIC MESSENGER, JUNIOR CATHOLIC MESSENGER and OUR LITTLE MESSENGER. An impressively long-lasting title, TREASURE CHEST was published biweekly (at least during the school year) from March 12, 1946 to July, 1972.
This issue’s 7–page cover-story, “The Champ’s Treasure Hunt!”, was written by Capt. Frank Moss and nicely illustrated by cover-artist Frank Borth. This initial installment of a continued story introduces Clyde Davies, his wife Betty and their children Bobby and Alice, who live aboard a cozy Mississippi River houseboat, the “Robert E. Lee”. Clyde is preparing a trip south to Bayou LaRouche, where he plans to search the swamps for the legendary treasure of his great grandfather, Colonel Beauregard Davies. But first he has to wait for the arrival of his “famous” nephew cousin Frumson, a fabled relative who’s worked as a sailor and at the circus, who’s promised to bring along some “special equipment” for their expedition! But when Frumson -- AKA “The Champ” – finally shows up, he turns out to be a chubby fellow in a Hawaiian shirt and straw hat who totes a gunny sack full of food and seems to be full of hot air himself! Catching a ride from the railroad station with unscrupulous locals Rufe and Catfish, the Champ unknowingly spills the beans about Clyde’s intended treasure hunt. When he finally arrives at the Davies’ houseboat, the kids are rather disappointed that he’s not the dashing figure they envisioned. Before they can get to know their cousin better, Clyde casts off and they’re on their way south to the bayou on the first leg of their adventure in search of hidden treasure. What happens next is anyone’s guess, because, unfortunately, this installment of “The Champ’s Treasure Hunt!” ends with that most despised-yet-enticing of funnybook captions: “To Be Continued!”
Other stories and features in this issue of TREASURE CHEST OF FUN AND FACT include:
- “Acts Of The Apostles: The First Pentecost”, drawn by Sid Quinn (the story of the ancient beginnings of the Catholic Church.)
- “These Birds Are Unique Because Of Their Beaks” -- (a guide for amateur bird-spotters.)
- “Treasure Chest’s Science Lab” (two do-it-yourself-at-home science experiments.)
- “Chuck White And His Friends”, written by Max Pine and illustrated by Frank Borth (“It is summertime at a mountain lake near the eastern seaboard. Here, at a lakeside children’s camp, newspapermen from all over the country are gathering to work as volunteer counselors to poor children from the slums of a great eastern city…The camp is manned and operated by newsmen from across the nation. Chuck White has just arrived to work as a volunteer counselor during his own vacation time from the STEELTOWN NEWS…”)
- “Fun Page” (of rather tepid single-panel gag cartoons.)
- “Patsy Manners” (a bizarre etiquette-themed strip drawn by Ozella Welch; this installment focuses on the importance of god manners in automobile passengers.)
- “How To Make A Play Desk” (a furniture-making project.)
- “Hannibal Bear” (an inside-back-cover funny animal strip by cartoonist Frank Toitusi Hoffman.)
ODDBALL Factoid – Regular contributors to other issues of TREASURE CHEST OF FUN AND FACT included Murphy Anderson, Reed Crandall, Bob Powell and Joe Sinnott, among many others!
* (Hey, gimme a break! Today’s my 51st birthday, fer cryin’ out loud!) – SS!