Started in 1881, Tit-Bits was a weekly which began a revolution in
British popular journalism,
leading to near-imitators such as Alfred Harmsworth's Answers and
exerting a longer-term influence on the cheap newspapers of the 20th
century. Primarily a gathering of "human interest" snippets and
useless knowledge, it also featured short stories and even full-length
In the latter part of 1925 Tit-Bits magazine secured a deal with Studdy
for him to
contribute a new cartoon series for their publication. The week
before they started, the magazine ran an article proudly announcing
this new series as follows:
"Next week, Mr. George Studdy, the
famous humorous artist, brings to
"Tit-Bits" his inimitable creation, that doggy imp of mischief Bonzo,
full of the excitement of his recent excursions on the films.
Bonzo is now three years old, Mr. Studdy declares, and getting funnier
and livelier every day. Each week Mr. Studdy will depict Bonzo in
an entirely new adventure, each adventure being shown in a series of
This will be the first time that Bonzo has appeared in this form, and
he is sure to make himself more attractive and win more admirers, among
young and old, than ever.
It will come as a surprise to many readers who have known him in a
variety of forms, from a children's toy to the title of a popular
fox-trot, that Bonzo is so young. Hundreds of people, too, have
repeatedly asked Mr. Studdy how Bonzo came into existance. He is
so unique, they say, and at the same time the most loveable dog that
could be imagined.
Mr. Studdy has never yet told the story of the birth of Bonzo, but to
mark the occasion of the famous pup's appearence in Tit-Bits he has
decided to disclose it.
"Some years ago," he says "a certain professor declared that in
come we should all make use of mechanical contrivances, something like
Robots, to do our housework, to carry us to our offices on our shopping
and sports trips - in fact to do everything and take us
This idea appealed to me and I made a cartoon of it for the editor of
'Sketch'. My Robot took the form of a queer animal with the hind
and tail of a dog but without a head to it. You will see from the
illustration below what I mean."
"From that Robot dog developed
I knew at once that I had found in those hind legs and stubbly tail the
germ of a really funny idea, and I went on experimenting with it until
Bonzo as he is to-day finally emerged.
"I wonder what the old lady goes shopping on now, or what she thinks of
the celebrity into which her Bonzo-Robot has jumped?
"It was some time, of course, before the Bonzo that will figure in my
new cartoons, and that thousands of people have seen on the films,
became the regular little dog that he is now. He used to have one
kind of nose one week and a new pair of legs another, but he has
stopped growing now, I think. He's just about as funny as I can
There is one person who supervises all Mr. Studdy's work and sees that
nothing goes out to the public that is not the last word in fun.
That is his little daughter, aged seven. "When she comes into the
studio, looks severely at a sketch, breaks into a simple smile and says
'Oh-h-h!' I know that it is O.K."
Mr. Studdy, who contributed to Tit-Bits several years ago, in the days
before his Bonzo fame, a series of excruciatingly funny cartoons, dates
his interest in sketching to an accident that befell him when a
boy. He hurt his foot with a pitchfork, and to amuse himself
while a prisoner indoors he sketched engines, horses, dogs - all sorts
of things that interest boys. He was intended for an engineering
career, but as his wages on starting were eight shillings, and he was
fined regularly even on eight shillings a week for being late, he
decided there was no money in the profession and took to art.
He is an ardent sailor and fisherman. But nobody will believe
that he ever catches anything!"
As can be deduced from that article,
these contributions must have begun in the last quarter of 1925, as the
Bonzo films referred to were released in the most part throughout 1925,
starting in January [see Bonzo Films
I have tried to date and order them as best possible, but in all cases
the published date is missing. They all also would have been
titled, but again in most cases this has been cut off.
Interestingly, many of these cartoons were reissued, revised, and/or
reworked by Studdy for use in other publications such as The American
Weekly, or the Bonzo Books and Annuals. I've tried to note as
many of these as I can on the individual pages.