Dondi Esta…?

I’ve confessed to being a comic strip freak.  Before I even learned to read,  I’d spread the paper on the living room floor, and lie on my stomach to “look at the funnies.”

Some of the strips our small newspaper carried were, not surprisingly, war-related.  Our nation was at war and the entire nation shared the pain and sacrifice.

There were daily strips centering around children who were either orphaned or had mysterious family circumstances.  Nancy lived with her Aunt Fritzi, but her friend Sluggo had no family at all and lived in a shack somewhere.  Moon Mullins’ young brother, Mayo, slept in a dresser drawer.  Children wandered the streets, for the most part without any adult presence.   Henry had a mother, but no hair and no voice.

Her leap year birthday somehow kept Little Orphan Annie 11 years old for decades.  The child with no eyeballs had already been around since my mother was a child. After the comic strip fell into decline,  L.O. A. was fortunate to find success on Broadway.

And then there was Dondi, the five-year-old tot who was found on the streets of Italy by an American soldier during World War II and brought to the United States.  Eventually that was changed in backstory to the Korean War, since the dark-eyed little guy, like Annie, never aged.


While Annie found her niche on Broadway, poor Dondi faded into obscurity.  In fact, I had forgotten about him myself until I drove past this sign:


I’m taking this as proof that he apparently shed his Groundhog Day time warp, grew to adulthood, found God, and went into the ministry.  I hope you’re relieved, too.

You’re welcome.


15 thoughts on “Dondi Esta…?

  1. I was a faithful reader of Dondi and have wondered what happened to him. Thanks for providing the answer.

    Do you remember the Katzenjammer Kids? Wikipedia reports they are still syndicated. Go figure. And Alley Oop (oop, oop according to the Hollywood Argyles). I loved Sparkle Plenty (in the Dick Tracy strip) and had a S.P. doll whose hair I loving cut.

    Thanks for the memories, Merrily!

    1. I do remember all of those! Sparkle’s father was that stinky B.O. Plenty, right? I remember Alley Oop, but it’s one of the few I never liked to read. Maybe that’s why I don’t read B.C. now.

    1. Be still, my heart. I love Calvin and Hobbs. I pull out my books and re-read some of those comics occasionally. I liked Cathy, too. Guys seem to especially detest that one.

  2. Arkansas Patti

    How strange. I use to read comics faithfully but never questioned their strange life styles or circumstances. I just accepted. I was a romantic. I loved Mary Worth but thought Terry, of Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon were cute.

  3. One of my favorites was “Rick O’Shay,” the western comic strip with Hipshot Percussion, saloon gal Gaye Abandon and little Quyat Burp. I loved the way it was drawn, especially on Sundays: “Breathtaking scenery is often shown in single panels in the Sunday strip, with an unusual slant. Hipshot is frequently referred to as an “outlaw,” and in one strip he decided to regain his losses at poker by holding up the local bank. But sometimes in the Sunday strip he is shown alone, on horseback, in the Western background, speaking to his Maker, whom he addresses as “Boss.” He does not attend church and prefers to recognize his God in a privately styled fashion.” I dutifully cut these out of the paper and saved them for a long time. Why? I don’t know. They just spoke to me.

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