05 July 2006

Presto = Alfredo = Moco

Posting about Boofhead reminded me of Presto, a daily comic that ran on the back page of the Melbourne Herald in the 50s and 60s.

Presto was a round-headed little man with a moustache who turned up from day to day in various roles: one day he could be a policeman, the next day a burglar or a ship-wrecked sailor. He often had his eye on a good-looking girl, but he had a formidable wife who was usually onto his case. The strip was all in pantomime, no dialogue.

I suspected it wasn't Australian, but it turns out to be from Denmark, where its title was Alfredo. WeirdSpace tells us, though, that it had appeared initially in the French newspaper Le Figaro in the late 40s, where it was entitled Presto, just as it was here. In the USA it was called Moco, derived from the names of Alfredo's creators, Jørgen Mogensen (1922-2004) and Cosper Cornelius (1911-2003).

Mogensen was a distinguished Danish cartoonist who created a number of comics. Defunct Danish site Rackham.dk had a cartoon at its Mogensen page that shows his characters meeting up with each other [archived version]. Alfredo/Presto/Moco is at the lower left, shaking hands with a later creation, Violin Virtuoso Alfredo.
Image from Maurice Horn (ed.), The World Encyclopedia of Comics (1976)

1 comment:

KP said...

Thank you Mr.Lyn.
Finally, I could locate the roots of Alfredo ! Your article is very informative and I hope I can get more guidance from you in "MOCO".
During the early 70s, one of our local newspapers used to seralise the cartoon "Alfredo". But not with this name, and none knew the real name Alfredo, but used to refer the cartoon as "MOCO".
Moco was very popular here those days ( India, Kerala State, Malyalam is our local language. )
My searches could not yield much results, but now I have confirmed the origin - the character shown itself is the pleasant proof !