The creator of the popular comic strip Dennis the Menace, Henry King Ketcham (1920-2001) was born on this day in Seattle, Washington and realized he loved cartooning by the time he was six.
"It's a joyful pursuit realizing that you're trying to ease the pain of front-page news or television," Ketcham once explained. "There's some little bright spot in your day that reminds you that it's fun to smile."
A talented artist who at one time worked for animators Walter Lantz and Walt Disney, Ketcham was inspired by the antics of his four-year-old son Dennis to create his popular freckle-faced character.
"A four year-old has sharp eyes and imagination and an adequate vocabulary, but he's not really responsible for what he does," he explained.
On this day in 1951, Dennis the Menance's comic panel made its debut in 16 newspapers. The cartoon was an immediate hit. "If I don't do something creative every day," Ketcham said, "I feel empty."
The adventures of Dennis the Menace continue. As of March 2001, Ketcham's popular panels were featured in 1,000 newspapers, 48 countries and 19 languages. Dennis also inspired a CBS television series (1959-1963), several books, a musical, a 1993 movie, animated cartoons, and a Monterey playground.