Characters who appear in Pogo Possum Books


Pogo Possum
An amiable, humble, philosophical, personable, everyman opossum. Kelly described Pogo as 'the reasonable, patient, softhearted, naive, friendly person we all think we are' in a 1969 TV Guide interview. The wisest (and probably sanest) resident of the swamp, he is one of the few major characters with sense enough to avoid trouble. Though he prefers to spend his time fishing or picnicking, his kind nature often gets him reluctantly entangled in his neighbors' escapades. He is often the unwitting target of matchmaking by Miz Beaver (to the coquettish Ma'm'selle Hepzibah), and has repeatedly been forced by the swamp's residents to run for president, always against his will. He wears a simple red and black striped shirt and (sometimes) a crushed yellow fishing hat. His kitchen is well-known around the swamp for being fully stocked, and many characters impose upon him for meals, taking advantage of his generous nature. His full name is Ponce de Leon Montgomery County Alabama Georgia Beauregard Possum - a parody of the blueblood aristocracy of the Old South.
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Albert Alligator
Exuberant, dimwitted, irascible and egotistical, Albert is often the comic foil for Pogo, the rival of Beauregard and Barnstable, or the fall guy for Howland and Churchy. The cigar-chomping Albert is as extroverted and garrulous as Pogo is modest and unassuming, and their many sequences together tend to underscore their balanced, contrasting chemistry - like a seasoned comedy team. Albert's creation actually preceded Pogo's, and his brash, bombastic personality sometimes seems in danger of taking over the strip, as he once dominated the comic books. Having an alligator's voracious appetite, Albert often eats things indiscriminately, and is accused on more than one occasion of having eaten another character. Albert is the troop leader of Camp Siberia, the local den of the 'Cheerful Charlies' (Kelly's version of the Boy Scouts), whose motto is 'Cheerful to the Death!' Even though Albert has been known to take advantage of Pogo's generosity, he is ferociously loyal to Pogo and will, in quieter moments, be found scrubbing him in the tub or cutting his hair. Like all Kelly's characters, Albert looks great in costume. This sometimes leads to a classic Albert line (while admiring himself in a mirror): 'Funny how a good-lookin' fella look handsome in anything he throw on!'
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Porky Pine
A porcupine, a misanthrope and cynic; prickly on the outside but with a heart of gold. The deadpan Porky never smiles in the strip (except once, allegedly, when the lights were out). Pogo's best friend, equally honest, reflective and introverted, and with a keen eye both for goodness and for human foibles. The swamp's version of Eeyore, Porkypine is grumpy and melancholy by nature, and sometimes speaks of his 'annual suicide attempt.' He wears an undersized, plaid Pinky Lee-type hat (with an incongruously tall crown and upturned brim) and a perpetual frown, and is rarely seen without both. (Once he DID smile, but at that moment,Albert accidentally put the light out and the smile was in total darkness.) Porky has two weaknesses: his infatuation for Miz Mam'selle Hepzibah and a complete inability to tell a joke. He unfailingly arrives on Pogo's doorstep with a flower every Christmas morning, although he's always as embarrassed by the sentiment as Pogo is touched. He has a nephew named Tacky and a look-alike relation named Uncle Baldwin.
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Churchill 'Churchy' LaFemme
A mud turtle by trade; he enjoys composing songs and poems, often with ridiculous and abrasive lyrics and nonsense rhymes. His name is a play on the French phrase Cherchez la femme, ('Look for the woman'). Perhaps the least sensible of the major players, Churchy is superstitious to a fault, for example, panicking when he discovers that Friday the 13th falls on a Wednesday that month. Churchy is usually an active partner in Howland's outlandish schemes, and prone to (sometimes physical) confrontation with him when they (inevitably) run afoul. Churchy first appeared as buccaneer in Animal Comics #13 (Feb 1945), with a pirate's hat. He was sometimes referred to as 'Cap'n LaFemme.' This seems incongruous for the guileless Churchy, however, who is far more likely to play-act with Owl at being a pantomime pirate than the genuine article.
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Howland Owl
The swamp's self-appointed leading authority, a self-proclaimed 'expert' scientist, 'perfessor,' physician, explorer, astronomer, witch doctor, and anything else he thinks will generate respect for his knowledge. He wears horn-rimmed eyeglasses and, in his earliest appearances, a pointed wizard's cap festooned with stars and crescent moons (which also, fittingly, looks like a dunce cap in silhouette.) Thinking himself the most learned creature in the swamp, he once tried to open a school but had to close it for lack of interest. Actually he is unable to tell the difference between learning, old wives' tales, and the use of big words. Most of the harebrained ideas characteristically come from the mind of Owl. His best pal is Churchy, although their friendship can be rocky at times, often given to whims and frequently volatile.
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Beauregard Bugleboy
A hound dog of undetermined breed; scion of the Cat Bait fortune and occasional Keystone Cops-attired constable and Fire Brigade chief. He sees himself as a noble, romantic figure, often given to flights of oratory while narrating his own heroic deeds (in the third person). He periodically appears with 'blunked out' eyes playing 'Sandy' —alongside Pogo or Albert when they don a curly wig, impersonating 'Li'l Arf an' Nonny,' (a.k.a. 'Lulu Arfin' Nanny,' Kelly's recurring parody of Little Orphan Annie). Beauregard also occasionally dons a trench coat and fedora, and squints his eyes and juts out his jaw when impersonating a detective in the style of Dick Tracy. However, his more familiar attire is a simple dog collar - or in later strips, a striped turtleneck sweater and fez. His canine revision of Kelly's annual Christmas burlesque, Deck Us All with Boston Charlie, emerges as 'Bark Us All Bow-wows of Folly,' [5] although he can't get anyone else to sing it that way. Usually just called 'Beauregard' or 'ol' Houn' Dog,' his full name is Beauregard Chaulmoogra Frontenac de Montmingle Bugleboy.
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Miz Ma'm'selle Hepzibah
A beautiful, coy French skunk modeled after Kelly's mistress, who later became his second wife. Hepzibah has long been courted by Porky, Beauregard and others but rarely seems to notice. Sometimes she pines for Pogo, and isn't too shy about it. She speaks with a heavy burlesque French dialect and tends to be overdramatic. The unattached Hepzibah has a married sister with 35 youngsters, including a nephew named Humperdunk. She is captivatingly sweet, frequently baking pies or preparing picnic baskets for her many admirers, and has every fellow in the swamp in love with her at one time or another. She is usually attired in a dainty floral skirt and parasol, is flirty but proper, and enjoys attention.
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Miz Beaver
A no-nonsense, corncob pipe-smoking washerwoman; a traditional mother (she is frequently seen minding a perambulator, her pet fish, or a tadpole in a jar) and 'widder' (she occasionally speaks of 'the Mister,' always in the past tense), clad in a country bonnet and apron. Uneducated but with homespun good sense, she 'takes nothin' from nobody,' and can be daunting when riled. She is Hepzibah's best friend and occasional matchmaker, although she disapproves of menfolk as a general rule. Her trademark line is: 'WHY is all you mens such critturs of dee-ceit?'
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Deacon Mushrat
A muskrat and the local man of the cloth, the Deacon speaks in ancient blackletter text or Gothic script, and his views are just as modern. He is typically seen haranguing others for their undisciplined ways, attempting to lead the Bats in some wholesome activity (which they inevitably subvert), or reluctantly entangled in the crusades of Mole and his even shadier allies - in either role he is the straight man and often winds up on the receiving end of whatever scheme he is involved in. Kelly described him as the closest thing to an evil character in the strip, calling him 'about as far as I can go in showing what I think evil to be.
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The Bats Bewitched, Bothered and Bemildred
A trio of grubby, unshaven bats - hobos, gamblers, good-natured but innocent of any temptation to honesty. They admit nothing. Soon after arriving in the swamp they are recruited by Deacon Mushrat into the 'Audible Boy Bird Watchers Society,' (a seemingly innocent play on the Audubon Society, but really a front for Mole's covert surveillance syndicate.) They wear identical black derby hats and perpetual 5 o'clock shadows. Their names, a play on the song title Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, are rarely mentioned. Often even they cannot say for sure which brother is which. They tell each other apart, if at all, by the patterns of their trousers - striped, checkered or plaid. (According to one of the bats, 'Whichever pair of trousers you puts on in the morning, that's who you are for that partic'lar day.')
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Grundoon
A diapered baby groundhog (or 'woodchunk' in swamp-speak). An infant toddler, Grundoon speaks only gibberish, represented by strings of random consonants like 'Bzfgt,' 'ktpv,' 'mnpx,' 'gpss,' 'twzkd,' or 'znp.' Eventually, Grundoon learns to say two things: 'Bye' and 'Bye-bye.' He also has a baby sister, whose full name is Li'l Honey Bunny Ducky Downy Sweetie Chicken Pie Li'l Everlovin' Jelly Bean.
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Bun Rab
An enthusiastic white rabbit with a drum and drum-major hat who often accompanies P. T. Bridgeport and likes to broadcast news in the manner of a town crier. He lives in a grandfather clock, and frequently appears as a fireman in the swamp's clownish Fire Brigade - where he serves as official hose carrier.
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Pup Dog
An innocent 'li'l dog chile' puppy. One of the very few characters who walks on all fours, he frequently wanders off and gets lost. Being, as Pogo puts it, ''jus' a li'l ol' shirt-tail baby-size dog what don't talk good yet,' he says only 'Wurf!' and 'Wurf wurf!,' although for a time he repeats the non sequitur phrase 'Poltergeists make up the principal type of spontaneous material manifestation.'
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P. T. Bridgeport
A bear; a flamboyant impresario and traveling circus operator named after P. T. Barnum, the most famous resident of Kelly's boyhood home, Bridgeport, Connecticut. One of Kelly's most colorful characters, P. T. wears a straw boater, spats, vest, ascot tie with stickpin and outlandish, fur-lined plaid overcoat reminiscent of W. C. Fields. There is also sometimes a marked physical resemblance to the Dutch cartoon character Oliver B. Bumble. An amiable blowhard and charlatan, his speech balloons resemble 19th-century circus posters, symbolizing both his theatrical speech pattern and his customary carnival barker's sales spiel. He usually visits the swamp during presidential election years, satirizing the media circus atmosphere of American political campaigns. During the storyline in which Pogo was nominated as a presidential candidate, Bridgeport was his most vocal and enthusiastic supporter.
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Snavely
A chatty, inebriated snake (he is prone to biting himself, then dipping into a bottle of 'snake bite remedy'). Snavely usually wears a battered top hat, and pals around with Ol' Mouse or a group of angleworms that he is training to be cobras or rattlesnakes. In classic cartoon tradition, his intoxicated state is portrayed by a prominent red nose surrounded by tiny, fizzing bubbles. Although limbless, he is able to salute. Pogo saw this and was amazed. Unfortunately this act was accomplished behind the log Pogo was looking over, and the reader's view was blocked.
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Molester Mole
in his original appearance in 1952 named Mole MacCarony, in later years sometimes called Molester Mole, his name pronounced not 'molester' but, in keeping with his political aspirations, to rhyme with 'pollster'. A nearsighted and xenophobic grifter. Considers himself an astute observer, but walks into trees without seeing them. Obsessed with contagion both literal and figurative, he is a prime mover in numerous campaigns against 'subversion,' and in his first appearances has a paranoid habit of spraying everything and everyone with a disinfectant that may have been liberally laced with tar. Modeled somewhat after Senator Pat McCarran of the McCarran–Walter Act.
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Picayune
A talkative frog that is a 'free han' pree-dicter of all kinds weather an' other social events - sun, hail, moonshine or ty-phoonery'. (An identical frog known as Moonshine Sonata also appears on occasion; it is unclear if these were intended to be the same character.)
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Ol' Mouse
An otherwise unnamed, long-winded, worldly mouse with a bowler hat, cane and cigar who frequently pals around with Snavely, the Flea, Albert, or Pup Dog, the last of whom he was briefly imprisoned with in a cupboard and with whom he forged a bond as a fellow prisoner. He has a long and storied career as a rogue, in which he takes some pride, noting that the crimes he has been falsely accused of are far less interesting than the crimes he has actually committed. He is more often an observer and commentator than an actual participant in storylines. Something of a dandy, he sometimes takes the name 'F. Olding Munny' - but only when Albert is posing as swami 'El Fakir,' (a take-off on Daddy Warbucks and his Indian manservant Punjab from Little Orphan Annie).
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Miss Sis Boombah
A matronly, cheerleading Rhode Island Red hen, who is a gym coach and fitness enthusiast - as well as a close friend of Miz Beaver - usually attired in tennis shoes and a pullover. Boombah arrives at the swamp to conduct a survey for 'Dr. Whimsy' on 'the sectional habits of U.S. mailmen,' a neat parody of The Kinsey Reports. She also runs a Feminist organization (with Miz Beaver) called 'F.O.O.F.' (Female Order Of Freedom), to un-subjugate the swamp womenfolk.
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Rackety Coon Chile
One of the swamp 'sprats' - a group of youngsters who seem to be the only rational creatures present, other than Pogo and Porky. A talkative, precocious raccoon, he mainly pesters his 'uncle' Pogo, along with his pal Alabaster. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Rackety Coon, are a bickering couple occasionally featured. The father ('Pa') owns a still, and is generally suspicious of Ma's going through his overalls pockets while he sleeps.
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Reggie and Alf
Two Cockney insects that wander around bickering and looking for cricket matches. Kelly loved definite personality types, and had these two show up occasionally, even though they had nothing to do with anything else. Kelly stated the aim of their appearance, 'was to please nobody but me'.
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Roogey Batoon
A part-time snake oil salesman pelican in a flat cap, who claims to have made the careers of the 'Lou'siana Perches', (an underwater songstress trio named Flim, Flam and Flo). His name is a play on Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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Sarcophagus MacAbre
A buzzard and the local mortician. He lives in a creepy, ruined mausoleum, and always wears a tall undertaker's stove pipe hat with a black veil hung from its side. Early strips show him speaking in square, black bordered speech balloons with ornate script lettering, in the style of Victorian funeral announcements. MacAbre begins as a stock villain, but in later years gradually softens into a somewhat befuddled comic foil.
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Seminole Sam
A mercenary, carpetbagging fox and traveling huckster of the snake oil salesman variety. He often attempts to swindle Albert and others, for example by selling bottles of the 'miracle fluid' H2O. Sam isn't really an out-and-out villain – more of an amoral opportunist, even though he occasionally allies with darker characters such as Mole and Wiley. Sam's Seminole moniker probably refers, not to any native blood ties, but more likely to a presumed history of selling bogus patent medicine ('snake oil'). These 'salesmen' hucksters often pretended their products were tested and proven, ancient Indian remedies. The Seminoles are an Indian tribe in the neighborhood of Okefenokee Swamp.
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Tammananny Tiger
A political operator, named in allusion to Tammany Hall, which was represented as a tiger in 19th century editorial cartoons by Thomas Nast. He typically appears in election years to offer strategic advice to the reluctant candidate, Pogo. He first appears as a companion to P. T. Bridgeport, although more cynical and less self-aggrandizing than the latter, and is one of only a handful of animals not native to North America to frequent the swamp.
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Wiley Catt
A wild-eyed, menacing, hillbilly bobcat who smokes a corncob pipe, carries a shotgun, and lives alone in a dilapidated, Tobacco Road-type shanty on the outskirts of the swamp. He frequently hangs out with Sarcophagus MacAbre, Mole and Seminole Sam, although none of them trusts him. All the swamp critters are rightly wary of him, and generally give him a wide path. During the 'Red scare' era of the 1950s, he temporarily morphed into his 'cousin' Simple J. Malarkey, a parody and caricature of Republican senator from Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy (see Satire and politics).
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The Cowbirds
Two beatnik freeloaders, their gender(s) uncertain, who speak in communist cant (albeit often in typical Okefenokee patois) and grift any food and valuables that cross their path. They associate with a pirate pig who resembles Nikita Khrushchev. Later they loudly renounce their former beliefs - without changing their behavior much. They typically address each other as Compeer and Confrere. It's unclear whether these are proper names or titles (synonyms of Comrade).
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Barnstable Bear
A simple-minded, henpecked 'grizzle bear' who often plays second-fiddle to many of Albert's plots. He wears a pair of pants held up with a single suspender, and often a checkered cloth cap. Frequently short-tempered (and married to an even shorter-tempered 'missus,' the formidable Miz Bear), he bellows 'Rowrbazzle!' when his anger comes to a boil. Barnstable even tried to start his own rival comic strip in 1958, which he entitled 'Little Orphan Abner' (with a wink to Kelly's pal, fellow cartoonist Al Capp), just to spite Albert.
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Mister Miggle
A bespectacled stork or crane, and proprietor of the local general store, a frequent swamp hangout. He dresses like an old-fashioned 'country' clerk - with apron, starched collar, suspenders, sleeve garters, and a straw boater or a bookkeeping visor. Miggle's carries just about every undesirable product imaginable, such as 'Salt fish in chocolate sauce' and 'Day-old ice, 25Ę per gallon,' along with 'Aunt Granny's Bitter Brittle Root' - a local favorite beverage (after sassafras tea), and cure-all for the 'cold robbies' and the 'whim-whams.'
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Alabaster Alligator
Not much is known about Alabaster except that he is considerably brighter than his Uncle Albert. Genial, inquisitive and only occasionally mischievous, he follows the cartoon tradition of the look-alike nephew (see Huey, Dewey, and Louie) whose mysterious parental lineage is never made specific.
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Basil MacTabolism
A door-to-door political pollster polecat and self-described 'taker of the public pulse.'
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Bug Daddy and Chile
Daddy's indignant tag-line ('Destroy a son's faith in his father, will you?') invariably follows his being corrected by another character for an (inevitable) misunderstanding or erroneous explanation on his part. He wears a stove pipe hat and carries an umbrella, which he shakes threateningly at the slightest provocation. His child's name is ever-changing, even from panel to panel within the same strip: Hogblemish, Nortleberg, Flimplock, Osbert, Jerome, Merphant, Babnoggle, Custard, Lorenzo, etc. (The Pogopedia identifies these characters as 'Bug Daddy' and 'Bug Child.')
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Butch
A brick-throwing housecat. Like Tammananny, Butch is a direct homage to another cartoonist - George Herriman, whose Krazy Kat comic strip was greatly admired by Kelly. Butch feels compelled to hurl bricks at Beauregard, in honor of the traditional animus between dogs and cats. He always deliberately misses, however - and after his initial appearance as an antagonistic rival, proves to be something of a pussycat.
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Choo Choo Curtis (a.k.a. Chug Chug Curtis)
A natural-born mail carrier duck.
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Congersman Frog
An elected official, usually accompanied by his look-alike male secretary, with whose pay he lights his 'seegars.' He practices disavowing his candidature for the presidency - not very convincingly. His seldom-used first name is Jumphrey, and his secretary/sidekick was occasionally referred to by name: Fenster Moop. (Fenster apparently rose to Congress himself. In later years he's addressed as 'Congersman,' and attended by his own look-alike secretary, Feeble E. Merely.)
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Flea (a.k.a. Miz Flea)
An unnamed female flea, so small she is usually only drawn in black silhouette. She falls in love with Beauregard, calls him 'doll' and 'sugar,' and frequently gives him love nips on the nose or knee - much to his indignant irritation. (Flea: 'Two can live as cheap as one, sugar.' Beauregard: 'Not on me, they can't!') Her gender was vaguely indeterminate for much of the run of the strip, but in a 1970 sequence with ex-husband Sam the spider, the Flea is finally and definitively established as a 'girl'. Thereafter, she is occasionally addressed as 'Miz'. In The Pogopedia (2001), this character is identified as 'Ol' Flea'.
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Fremount the Boy Bug
The swamp's dark horse candidate, whose limited vocabulary (all he can say is 'Jes' fine') makes him suitable presidential timber, according to P. T. Bridgeport.
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Horrors Greeley
A freckled, westward-traveling cow (hence the reference to Horace Greeley), who was sweet on Albert. (To Horrors, 'west' being Milwaukee.)
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Solid MacHogany
A New Orleans-bound, clarinet-playing pig in a polka dot cap and striped necktie, headed to a paying gig in a 'sho' nuff' jazz band on Bourbon Street.
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Uncle Antler
A disagreeable bullmoose, whom Albert insultingly addresses as 'Hatrack.'
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Uncle Baldwin
Porky's doppelganger and compulsive 'kissing cousin', he wears a trenchcoat to hide his telltale bald backside. Uncle Baldwin usually tries to grab and kiss any female in the panel with him. Most of the females (and more than a few of the male characters) flee from the scene when Uncle Baldwin arrives. When assaulted by him, Hepzibah has hit him back.
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