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Big Chief Wahoo first appeared in 1936, created by Elmer Woggon and Allen Saunders for Publishers Syndicate. Initially it was going to be a strip based on W.C. Fields, but that idea never saw print. The initial star of the strip was supposed to be a character called The Great Gusto, a quack medicine salesman. Wahoo’s role was to help Gusto with his scheme. Big Chief Wahoo took the job just for fun. He didn’t need the money, since oil had just been discovered on his land. He’d left his village of Teepee Town to seek his old girlfriend, Minnie Ha-Cha, in New York. Yahoo was probably going to be written out of the strip eventually, but he became the more popular character, and so it was The Great Gusto who was written out. Chief Wahoo was highly caricatured, though he was also a good guy. The bad guys were non-Indians who were always trying to cheat Wahoo out of his money. They failed, although Wahoo never really knew they were trying to swindle him. He was too goodhearted to even consider other people might not be.  bigchief01

Wahoo found Minnie working in a Manhattan night club. The story line stayed in New York for awhile, and then moved to Hollywood. Eventually Wahoo and Minnie made it back to Teepee Town. Big Chief Wahoo appeared in newspaper strips, in three Big Little Books from Whitman and seven comic books from Eastern Color Printing. The stories eventually became more serious, particularly during WWII. Photojournalist Steve Roper was added to to the cast, and Wahoo became a sidekick as Roper fought fifth columnists. Eventually Wahoo, Woggon, and Saunders were all removed, and the strip became Steve Roper’s. Big Chief Wahoo’s last appearance was on February 27, 1947.

 

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39 strips 1937
44 strips 1938
31 strips 1939

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