A Brief History of 'Alley Oop'by Will Amend
V.T. Hamlin’s Alley Oop was first released on December 5, 1932. That makes it more than 86 years old. No offense to our more mature readers, but that’s pretty old.
For perspective, let’s look at some historical figures and events from that era. Amelia Earhart, Mahatma Gandhi, and Bonnie and Clyde were all alive and active at the the time Alley Oop debuted. The Great Depression was very much a thing. World War II was on the horizon. And again, while we know some of our fans were alive to see all of this, so many of us only know of these people and events from history class and pop culture.
That’s what makes Alley Oop so special. It has run, consistently, from back then to right now. This strip existed through generations of families, through every major American social movement that you see on TV or in the movies, and through 14 different presidents. Crazy, right?
It’s appropriate, then, that this series, which has seen so much history, follows adventures throughout history. For its first several years, though, Alley Oop was rooted in the Stone Age, and V.T. was starting to feel limited in what he could write about. It was his wife, Dorothy, who suggested the idea of time travel. V.T. leapt on the idea, and all of a sudden Alley Oop was transformed into a radically new strip.
Across their many adventures, Oop and Ooola have encountered famous figures like Cleopatra, Hercules, Shakespeare, and Napoleon. Right now, under new creators Jonathan Lemon and Joey Alison Sayers, Oop seems to have found himself in the 1980s, and might run into Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office sometime soon:
From all the way back in the 1930s to now, Alley Oop keeps readers on their toes. No one knows just where our heroes are going to go next, but that’s exactly what we want.
The name “Alley Oop” comes from the French “allez-hop!” meaning something akin to “let’s jump!” It’s what an acrobat would say, and it’s not hard to imagine our titular character doing just the same as he leaps into his next adventure.