Thursday, April 8, 2010

1981 Don Ray Interview of Irv Phillips, Creator of Mr. Mum

Don (BHS '67) sent the following piece from his blog Don Ray's Friends and Hideaways - Thanks Don and very cool to see a shot of you in the '81 vid!

The Real World of Mr. Mum
by Don Ray
April 8, 2010

It was the perfect reading material for a kid who couldn't read very well -- a pantomime cartoon. The Strange World of Mr. Mum ran in scores of newspapers during the 1950s and '60s. I discovered a paperback compilation of the Irv Phillips cartoons when I was nine or ten, as I recall.

I must have "read" the book a thousand times -- and I still laugh at the strange things that the little man and his little dog observed along their way.

When I took a television job in Arizona, my great friend (and former journalism professor), Bill Thomas told me that I should look up his cartoonist uncle in Phoenix. When he mentioned Mr. Mum, he was surprised when I said something like, "Your uncle is Irv Phillips?"

Bill had not encountered too many people my age that had heard of the character -- much less its creator. It was in 1981 that I went to visit the man who had created my favorite cartoon. It wasn't long before I returned with a camera crew to interview him on camera.


Irv Phillips died in 2000 at age 95. He left his lifelong collection of his cartoons and other creations to Bill Thomas and his sister. Today, Bill and his wife are keeping the memory of Uncle Irv at

If you want a book that you and your grandkids (and their grandkids) will treasure, search for The Strange World of Mr. Mum. That's the book that got me hooked.

Oh, by the way, you can see more of Mr. Mum's strange world at the site Bill Thomas and his wife have created.

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This was fun for me as I have done a tiny bit of cartooning...


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