The first Family Circus cartoon debut on February 29, 1960 and has run continuously since that time and it will now carry-on without it’s creator Bil Keane who passed away this week at the age of 89. Originally named the “Family Circle” (hence the round border around each comic) the name was changed at the request of the women’s magazine which carried the same name.
In recent years Mr. Keane drew the comic which was then inked/colored by his son Jeff Keane.
The AP dug up a conversation Keane had in 1995 in which he explained why the simplicity of his comic made it stay popular for so many years:
“It’s reassuring, I think, to the American public to see the same family (Billy, Jeffy, Dolly PJ and their parents).”
“We are the last frontier of good family humor,” Keane said. “On radio and television, magazines and the movies, you can’t tell what you’re going to get. When you look at the comic page, you can usually depend on something acceptable by the entire family.”
Before his own passing Peanuts creator Charles Shultz said of the Family Circus creator:
“We share a care for the same type of humor. We’re both family men with children and look with great fondness at our families.”
It’s a sad day for Family Circus fans but it’s nice to know that the legacy can be carried on by Jeff Keane, hopefully with the same poignant wholesomeness that his father brought to the table. Even in our age of electronics and constant distractions Family Circus reminds us that the little things in life shouldn’t be over looked.
Our condolences go out to the Keane family.