This Day in Pop Culture for June 30

Brenda Starr

1940: Brenda Starr is Hired

During the mid 1920s, when Dalia Messick had just graduated from high school, she submitted her first comic strip, Weegee. It was rejected. Dalia attended the Art Institute of Chicago and later landed a job where she would design greeting cards. By the 1930s, Dalia submitted three more comic strips Peg and Pudy and Streamline Babies (both about working girls) and Mimi the Mermaid. She signed them as “Dale” in hopes that the editors wouldn’t reject a male cartoonist. They did. In 1940, Dalia tried again with a character created as a “girl bandit” that went by the name of Brenda Starr. Starr was modeled after Rita Hayworth and named after Brenda Frazier, a popular debutante. Joseph Medill Patterson, the Chicago Tribune-New York News chief syndicate, said that he had only worked with one other female cartoonist and was not interested in hiring another one. However, his assistant found the drawings that were tossed in the trash and convinced Dalia to try again by making Starr a reporter instead. Patterson agreed to run the strip, but only only in the Sunday comic book supplement which was printed on this day in 1940. It was soon moved to the weekend paper and by October 1945, the strip it became a daily comic syndicated in many newspapers. Messick retired in 1980, but Brenda Starr lived on through other writers and illustrators. The character appeared on film in Brenda Starr, Reporter in 1945 with Joan Woodbury and Brooke Shields played the character for a Brenda Starr movie with Timothy Dalton in 1986, but it wasn’t released to theaters until 1992 due to distribution rights. The movie bombed. As for the comic strip, Brenda Starr called it quits on January 2, 2011.

1936: ‘Gone with the Wind’ is Published

In 1926, Margaret Mitchell, a reporter for the Atlanta Journal, was forced to quit her job in order to recover from a series of injuries. With a little too much time on her hands, she sat down and in her one-bedroom apartment that she shared with her husband, and wrote one of America’s best-selling novels of all time, Gone with the Wind. It was published on this day in 1936. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 and of course, the story became the basis for the 1939 blockbuster movie. Many years later, the sequel Scarlett, written by Alexandra Ripley, was published in 1992.


  • 1917: Lena Horne (singer)
  • 1963: Rupert Graves (actor)
  • 1966: Mike Tyson (boxer)
  • 1985: Michael Phelps (Olympic swimmer)
  • 1986: Alicia Fox (wrestler)

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