The "Family Circus" comic strip turns 30 in 1991. To celebrate the event, "The Family Circus is Us," a special anniversary anthology, has been published by Fawcett Columbine Company.
"Family Circus" premiered on Feb. 29, 1960, with just 19 newspaper subscribers. Today "Circus" is one of the world's most widely syndicated strips, with more than 1,300 subscribers.Bill Keane, creator and artist/writer of "Family Circus" said his goal is still to chronicle the warm, humorous and intimate moments in family life.
"I don't just try to be funny," Keane said during a recent interview. "Many of my cartoons are not a belly laugh. I go for nostalgia, the lump in the throat, the tear in the eye, the tug at the heart."
An estimated 100 million people read "Family Circus" and are touched by the daddy, mommy and kids portrayed in the cartoon. The kids are Billy, age 7; Dolly, 5; Jeffy, 3 and little PJ, 18 months.
Keane's real-life "Family Circus" was the model for his strip. His wife, Thel, their daughter Gayle and four sons - Neal, Glen, Curtis and Jeff - has been an inspiration for his cartooning.
"Family Circus" was voted the No. 2 most popular comic in a 1988 survey of Deseret News readers. It was the most popular in a similar 1984 survey, until "Calvin & Hobbes" came along and defeated it.
The 128 favorite cartoons, selected by Keane's family, comprise the special anniversary anthology. There have been 48 previous collections of "Family Circus" cartoons published in book form. - Lynn Arave.