This is Teena (full name: Teena Merry), the star of a very popular comic strip which ran from 1944 to 1964 in many weekend newspapers. She has a tear in her eye because no animation studio has ever opted to put her into animated cartoons, not to this day. She wasn't even considered to be a component of the King Features Trilogy made-for-TV shorts which came into being back in the Fall of 1963. And it's a real shame, because Teena could do so much as an animated cartoon star. She's beautiful, has an eye for fashion, is smart (in her own way), has a best girlfriend--Pipsy--and LOVES the boys! Plus, she comes from a decidedly more innocent time.

Girls of the 1960s (and maybe even a few boys as well) really missed out on some potentially good scripts which could have been written for Teena and all her friends back then. Her original creator--Hilda Terry, with whom I corresponded with on two or three occasions some years back--never lived to see Teena thrive in animation. When she was still with us, she told me she didn't think am animated Teena would work in the age of drug abuse and drunken underage driving. So why not put Teena and her friends in an animated world depicting the last few years the comic strip was in existence? That's just what I did coming up with a feature film script idea timed to the holiday season in 1964--the comic strip's last year of publication. Someone could also produce a batch of 50-or-so animated "Teena" shorts, combine then with the already-existing TV shorts of Beetle Bailey, Snuffy Smith & Barney Google, Krazy Kat, Cool McCool and Harry McCool, and put them all into a daily half-hour animated TV strip series called Teena & Friends produced by King Features/Hearst Entertainment.

Come on, current animation houses of Hollywood and elsewhere...please put this gorgeous girl into animation in some form or another, for the big screen, our home screens or both. Don't let her languish in the fading memories of those who remember her from the Sunday comic pages of yesteryear. Bring her back for a whole new generation, true to Hilda Terry's original vision. Teena and her parents and friends--Pipsy, Bugjuice, Gwendolyn (the little girl who says she used to be a birdie), and the rest--we're all counting on you to make it happen!

--David P. Johnson
January 2015

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