Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wheeler and Woolsey In Superman Comics

Wheeler and Woolsey were famous as movie comedians. They also appeared in SUPERMAN comic books as a couple of bumbling magicians named "Hocus" and "Pocus".

The characters as drawn in the comics are similar to Wheeler and Woolsey and even appear to be wearing similar costumes. Their rabbit can be seen as similar to Bugs Bunny, who was in animated cartoons and had already done a Superman parody in 1943.

Description from the "Supermanica" site:

Hocus and Pocus
The professional names employed by a pair of likeable, ingenuous, gullible fellows, their real names are Doc and Flannelhead, who start out as street corner salesmen of magic books, only to have their lives transformed when a series of bizarre coincidences convinces them that they have somehow become gifted with magical powers (Act No. 83, Apr 1945: "Hocus and Pocus... Magicians by Accident!").
Doc, better known as Hocus, is the brains of the outfit; he is a wiry little fellow with a moustache, eyeglasses, and an ever-present derby hat "who speaks like a college professor but has the trusting simplicity of a child!" His companion, Flannelhead, better known as Pocus, a brawny, dim-witted fellow who murders the King's English whenever he speaks, "has the strength of an ox...and about the same I.Q.!" Together with their "mascot," a white rabbit named Moiton (Act No. 88, Sep 1945: "The Adventure of the Stingy Men!"), the pair inhabit a furnished room in Mrs. Flaherty's Boarding House, somewhere in Metropolis (Act No. 83, Apr 1945: "Hocus & Pocus... Magicians by Accident!"). Superman No. 45/1 refers to them as "that hilarious pair of cuckoo conjurers" (Mar/Apr 1947: "Lois Lane, Superwoman!"), and, because their magical feats work only through either coincidence or the surreptitious intervention of Superman, they are frequently described as "magicians by accident" (Act No. 97, Jun 1946: "The Magician'™s Convention!"; and others).

Action Comics #83 - first appearence of Hocus and Pocus.

Action Comics #97 - Superman makes it appear as if they can work magic.

"Lois Lane, Superwoman" was reprinted in the book SUPERMAN: FROM THE THIRTIES TO THE SEVENTIES. Here are a couple of pages that I scanned.

Wheeler and Woolsey frequently worked with Dorothy Lee.


They also worked with Thelma Todd,


Barbara Pepper,

And Lupe Velez.

Watch Wheeler and Woolsey with Dorothy Lee and Thelma Todd in a scene from HIPS, HIPS, HURRAY!

Hocus and Pocus at "Supermanica":

Wheeler and Woolsey Blogs

The Official Dorothy Lee, Wheeler and Woolsey Blog:

Wheeler and Woolsey:

Wheeler and Woolsey:

Ruth Etting:

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