There's a man in the funny papers we all know.

Alley Oop is a comic strip that began in 1932 and is still running today.

It was initially created by V. T. Hamlin, who did the strip until 1971, at which point his assistant Dave Graue took over fully, and was later joined by artist Jack Bender in 1991. In 2001, David Graue's wife Carole Bender took over the writing.

He lived way back a long time ago.

The title character is a caveman from the kingdom of Moo. Living in the time of cavemen, Alley Oop naturally rode around on his pet dinosaur Dinny. He carries around a large stone club, wears a just loincloth, and has a dark mop of hair, though it seemed to get neater later in the strip's run, and as best I can tell his beard has always been better trimmed than mine.

He's the toughest man alive.

Initially, Alley Oop took place exclusively in prehistoic time, but after a few years, Tamlin decided to add a little twist by introducing a time machine into the mix. Why not? (Interestingly, with the introduction of the time machine the scientists acknowledge that cavemen and dinosaurs didn't co-exist--they are quite surprised to discover Alley Oop hanging out with Dinny.)

The initial regular cast of Alley Oop consists of Alley Oop, his girlfriend Oola, Alley's rhyming friend Foozy, Dinny the pet dinosaur, King Guzzle ("Guz"), Queen Umpadeedle, and the king's advisor (the Grand Wizer). With the time machine came the addition of its 20th century inventor, Dr. Elbert Wonmug* and his partner G. Oscar Boom**.

He's the king of the jungle jive.

Okay, so we have a time machine now--let's get out of the jungle. Alley Oop visits many times and places: pre-Civil War southern US. Met Cleopatra in ancient (but less ancient than Alley Oop's time) Egypt, medieval England, ancient Greece...he got around. Naturally, he also visited the time of his readers, and during World War II, Alley Oop tries to enlist in the American army to fight them Nazis. Alas, he can't--he's not a citizen. (This parallel's the author's attempt, only Mr. Hamlin was simply considered too old to enlist.) Instead, he helped the cause by bringing in dinosaurs from his own time or advertising war bonds on the side of Dinny.

Look at that cave man go!

Like many long-running comic strips, Alley Oop made his way beyond the funny pages. The Hollywood Argyles recorded a song about (and named after) him that hit number one in 1960. There was also a brief, thirteen episode animated series in 1978.

* A pun worth noting here: 'Ein' is German for 'one' and 'Stein' is a type of mug. Elbert wonmug.

** GO Boom.

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