Rediscovered ‘Family Circus’ cartoon shows the power of ‘packratting’

Rediscovered ‘Family Circus’ cartoon shows the power of ‘packratting’

May 15, 2018

EDITOR'S NOTE: On Monday, our director featured a picture of cartoonist and Arizona resident Bil Keane creating a panel to help ADOT mark National Transportation Week back in 1979. The author of this post, ADOT's communications director, came upon a copy of the cartoon while going through files in his office.

By Timothy Tait / ADOT Communications

I’ll be the first to admit it: PR people tend to be packrats. But sometimes, the urge to hold onto something can result in rediscovering unexpected treasures. Take this Family Circus one-panel comic from 1979 by longtime Arizona resident Bil Keane, who died in 2011 at age 89.

How it ended up in the office of the ADOT communications director remains a mystery. I discovered it when packing up to move my office more than a year ago. Today, it fell out of a folder I placed it in for safekeeping. See, packratting can pay off.

This cell looks to be from a newspaper, with page designer marks for sizing and cropping. It’s mounted on illustration board with notations on the back. The film on the front adds in the pop of spot color.

In the comic, the family is on a road trip and approaching Phoenix – note the saguaros! – zooming along on an unknown highway to an unknown final destination. What we do know is that there are two weary parents, one bored dog and four unrestrained children. And they all – aside from the dog, it seems – have something to say about the trip: speeding, getting pulled over, distance to the next rest stop, safety on the highway and the time remaining (let’s see, if a car is traveling 50 mph, how long will it take to travel 32 miles?).

From now on, I’ll proudly display it in my office – a nod to packratting and in memory of those road trips from our past that always seemed too long, no matter how short.