It would appear the only thing missing from the photograph is the family dog, right? You’re looking at a picture of Katy Keene cartoonist, Bill Woggon and his family in beautiful Santa Barbara California. I think this was probably a holiday card planned by the old cartoonist himself. Playing the role of “Dad,” Bill is surrounded by his wife, Jane, daughter, Suzanne and his son, Bill, Jr. It would appear “The Bossman,” as he was often called is being pampered by his family. Mom lights his pipe and daughter Suzanne holds a newspaper. Bill junior is easing a pair of slippers on dad’s feet. Ah, yes. Life is good when you’re a successful cartoonist.
Actually, life was good back in nineteen fifties Santa Barbara. Bill Woggon’s mountain top home was walking distance from his studio where he worked along with his two talented assistants, Hazel Martin and Cassie Bill. There was another artist in the studio, but he was just a high school kid learning the ropes. Speaking of ropes, that’s not a bad metaphor since the coral was located nearby. Bill Woggon loved being a Santa Barbara cowboy and his daughter, Suzanne love to ride horses as well. Mission Canyon had not yet seen development, so the Santa Ynez Mountains provided a panoramic backdrop in this idyllic location. On a clear day you could look south and gain a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean. I gotta tell you - life was sweet.
If you know your comics history you’ll remember all the flack we took back in the fifties when comic books were suddenly declared evil publications and cartoonists were responsible for the morale decay in America. Luckily, we didn’t get hit too hard by the looney, wacky crusade. Archie Comics were considered pretty wholesome material and we never provided enough sin or evil in our stories to send the attackers our way. Actually, Archie’s biggest sin was trying to decide whether he should date Betty or Veronica. Our comic star, Katy Keene was as wholesome as you could get. She did have two steady boy friends but there was never any hanky-panky. Girls and boys were well behaved back in the fifties, although I do remember some incidents in high school that might call that into question.
In many ways, I could not have asked for a better job back in the quiet, stress-free fifties. Drawing comic stories in beautiful Santa Barbara. What’s not to like? In spite of my cool gig I regretfully had to say goodbye to Bill Woggon and Katy Keene. It seems there was another old gentleman who ran a studio down south, and like Bill Woggon, he had a mustache as well. When I departed Katy Keene and Archie Comics I was wished the best of luck by my comic book colleagues. They knew my dream of one day working for Disney was always in the back of my mind. It was something I simply had to do and they understood that. This family photograph of the Woggon family captures a bit of the fifties lifestyle. A time when life was peaceful and simple and we all mistakenly thought it would stay that way forever.