Skip to comments.Cartoonist Ted Key, creator of `Hazel' comic, dies at 95
Posted on 05/05/2008 7:13:58 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
PHILADELPHIA - Cartoonist Ted Key, whose comic strip "Hazel" about a bossy maid went from magazine page to TV screen, has died. He was 95.
He died Saturday at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Tredyffrin Township after a 1 1/2-year battle with cancer, his son Peter Key said Monday.
"Hazel" was a popular feature in The Saturday Evening Post from the time it debuted in 1943. It evolved into a prime-time series in 1961 that starred Shirley Booth and ran for four years on NBC and one year on CBS.
Key also created the characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman for producer Jay Ward. The time-traveling dog/scientist and his boy made their TV debuts in 1959 in segments on the animated show "Rocky and His Friends."
He created cartoon panels called "Diz and Liz" for the Jack and Jill children's magazine and produced a number of other animal characters. He also wrote a play for radio, authored and illustrated books, and had freelance cartoons appear in Cosmopolitan, Better Homes and Gardens and Sports Illustrated.
Key literally dreamed up the concept of his wildly popular maid cartoon.
"Like a lot of creative people, he kept a notepad near his bedside," Peter Key said of his father. "He had a dream about a maid who took a message, but she screwed it up completely. When he looked at the idea the next day, he thought it was good and sold it to the Post."
Key randomly picked the name for the maid and was flattered that it later became synonymous with maids, according to his son.
Key acquired the rights to "Hazel" in 1969 and the comic was picked up for syndication by King Features. King still distributes the cartoon today, using those drawn by Key before he retired in 1993.
"Hazel" was so popular that when the first collection of cartoons was published in 1946, E.P. Dutton sold 500,000 copies. In all, Dutton published eight collections of "Hazel" cartoons.
Later, Key and a neighbor published biweekly motivational posters called "Positive Attitude Posters," and he created a series of motivational pamphlets for sales people.
Theodore Keyser was born in Fresno, Calif., on Aug. 25, 1912. His father, a Latvian immigrant who had changed his last name from Katseff to Keyser, changed his name to Key during World War I.
Key was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2006 and suffered a stroke in September.
He is survived by his second wife, Bonnie, three sons and three grandchildren. His first wife, Anne, died in 1984.
In this undated photo provided by the Key family, Cartoonist Ted Key, whose comic strip 'Hazel' about a bossy maid went from magazine page to TV screen, has died. He was 95. Key died Saturday, May 3, 2008 at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Tredyffrin Township after a 1 (AP Photo/Courtesy of Key Family)
. . . and one big collective . . . “Snort”!
For years I never realized that the TV show and the panel cartoon were the same character. It seemed to be a totally different sense of humor.
I loved Mr. Peabody and Sherman and the Way-Back Machine! Rocky & Bullwinkle - great cartoons! That was when cartoons were funny.
‘59 ‘61 - those were some great years.
As a kid Hazel was one of my fave shows . I had the hots for Whitney Blake , too ! ; )
Oh, no. Not those. They're all over my company's offices.
we didn’t have a TV until about 1960... and even then limited programming. I remember a lot of reruns of the shows tho.
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