Figments, by Dale Hale

Dale Hale was a U.S. comic artist. He is best remembered as the second assistant of Charles M. Schulz on his 'Peanuts' comics. Later in life he also wrote comics for Hanna-Barbera and was active as an animator and script writer for various animated TV series. Hale created two newspaper gag comics of his own, namely 'Figments' (1971-1976) and, with Patte Wheat LeVan as scriptwriter, 'You're Getting Closer' (1976-1983). 

Early life and career
Dale Hale was born in 1933 in Onawa, Iowa. He majored in art at the University of South Dakota and six weeks before his graduation in college he already went to look for a job. In 1956 he went to Minneapolis where he applied for a job at Art Instruction, Inc. and first met Charles M. Schulz. He worked for the company for several years.

Together with Jim Sasseville, Hale ghost-pencilled and -inked the 'Peanuts' comic books issued by Dell/Western Publishing, but never the newspaper comic strip. In 1959 Sasseville left over a disagreement with Schulz. Hale continued assisting Schulz until 1960, when he wanted to move on to other things. Schulz's other assistant, Tony Pocrnick, remained. Dell ended its 'Peanuts' run in 1962. New 'Peanuts' comic books appeared in Western's Gold Key comics line, but were just reprints. In 1965 Hale did illustrate another 'Peanuts'-related work again, namely a book version based on the animated TV special 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'. He later claimed that his drawings were used as designs for the animated short.

'Ambushed' (from Peanuts #11).

Animation career
In the early 1960s, Hale moved to Santa Monica, where he worked as a technical assistant on the very limited animated TV series 'Clutch Cargo' (1959-1960). He worked as a gag writer for Friz Freleng's 'Pink Panther' cartoons and the Warner Brothers animated series 'Road Runner' by Chuck Jones. Later in his career he also worked on other animated TV shows, of which the most memorable were 'The Real Ghostbusters' (1986-1991), 'Ducktales' (1987-1990) and 'Tiny Toon Adventures' (1990-1992).

Hanna-Barbera comics
Hale spent eight years (1965-1973) working for Hanna-Barbera, writing and drawing for daily newspaper comics based on their popular TV shows 'The Flintstones' and 'Yogi Bear', of which the production was overseen by Gene Hazelton.

Love Is...
In the mid-1970s Hale also ghost-drew 'Love Is...' for Kim Casali, as her husband was dying from cancer and she was in no mood to draw the comic. Hale only managed to keep this up for a year before passing it to Bill Asprey, because: "I really had a hard time drawing that poorly. Maybe if I draw it with my left hand, it'll look bad enough", as he explained in a 2012 interview by Tom Heintjes for Hale was also an idea writer for toy companies like Mattel and Revel.

The Flintstones by Dale Hale

On 3 May 1971, Hale created a daily syndicated newspaper comic of his own, 'Figments' (1971-1976) This gag-a-day comic centered around a nameless family and visualized their inner thoughts. It initially got syndicated by the Register & Tribune Syndicate in Iowa, until it switched to the Los Angeles Times Syndicate in 1974. While Hale claimed 'Figments' ran until 1988, the truth of the matter is that the series ended in 1976 and after that date relied on reprints, syndicated by Manson-Western (1976-1978), Dickson-Bennett (1981-1984), Whitegate Features (1985-1986) and American International (1987-1994).

You're Getting Closer
Hale also drew the one-panel gag cartoon 'You're Getting Closer' (1976-1983) for King Features Syndicate. Each episode features an example on how to "get closer" to parent your children into decent people. The lines were written by educator Patte Wheat LeVan.

Children's books
Later in life Hale wrote and illustrated four children's books: 'Couldn't Say No Joe and the Rabbits with Bad Habits', 'Flag Bears', 'A Childen's Book for Adults (Who Forgot A Lot)" and "Willy's Walk".

Series and books by Dale Hale you can order today:


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