Your favorite time traveler may be missing from my chronicle, Time Travel: A History. I’m sorry about that. Some readers are already pointing out the omissions.

Consider the case of Alley Oop. He was the caveman hero of the comic strip with that name, created by V. T. Hamlin in 1932. He was not a time traveler right from the start. ooptimemachine4939At first he was just a caveman. But let Perry Bowker explain. He is a reader from Burlington, Ontario, and he has the whole story:

I want to point out a possible addition to the Philosophers and Pulps” chapter … I refer to the comic strip “Alley Oop,” which ran in daily papers from the 1930s to the present. The strip took its ultimate shape in the 1939 when the artist, V. T. Hamlin, introduced a peculiar time machine which had the ability to reach into the past, transporting caveman Oop from his prehistoric home, and later shuttling he and companions back and forth to various historic eras. Having quickly absorbed 20th century skills and attitudes, Oop became an explorer of sorts, transported to somewhere in the past, where he often interacted with historic figures like Cleopatra (well-endowed females were a feature of the artwork). The machine’s inventor, Dr. Wonmug, could follow the action on a TV monitor, and often rescued Oop from sticky situations, or not. As was common in funny papers, a story arc played out over weeks or months (a style regrettably almost all gone from comic strips today). Oop could have changed history — how would we ever know?
Oddly, as far as I know, Dr. Wonmug never explored the future with his device.

Clifford Simak paid tribute to Alley Oop by creating a debonair Neanderthal of that name in his 1968 novel, The Goblin Reservation. Wikipedia—the ultimate completist—provides a List of Alley Oop Time Travels.

I’m not a completist myself, obviously. Still, please do send in your missing time travelers.



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