15 Facts About Allen Saunders


Allen Saunders was an American writer, journalist and cartoonist who wrote the comic strips Steve Roper and Mike Nomad, Mary Worth and Kerry Drake.


Allen Saunders is credited with being the originator of the saying, "Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans" in 1957.


Allen Saunders covered the gamut of comics genres: editorial, commercial, gag, adventure, and melodrama.


Allen Saunders was especially fond of the "indigenous gimmick" technique, solving a problem by using something that is ordinarily ignored in the setting.


Allen Saunders was known for "sophisticated scripts with literate dialogue", with almost twice as much said per daily strip as in the post-1979 versions, and under him, even Nomad was a sharp, shrewd character who was articulate in three languages.


Allen Saunders explored personality and motivation in the long series of people passing through his strips, and they got to be "awfully real" to him.


Allen Saunders's scripts were interpreted and fleshed out by talented realist artists who made the characters and settings both attractive and believable.

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Allen Saunders drew editorial cartoons and the single-panel Miserable Moments, wrote detective fiction for magazines, worked in Chautauqua theater and wrote plays.


Eight years later, Elmer Woggon proposed a comic strip for Publishers Syndicate, The Great Gusto, which he would draw if Allen Saunders did the writing.


The Depression-era apple vendor's full name was Mary Worth, and Allen Saunders explained his makeover of the character and how her deceased husband's stocks regained their value.


When his artist Dale Conner quit to do a strip of her own, Allen Saunders persuaded Ken Ernst to take over the artwork in 1942, and the strip became simply Mary Worth.


In 1957, Allen Saunders wrote the line, "Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans," usually attributed to John Lennon.


In 1979, Allen Saunders retired and turned over the writing of Steve Roper and Mary Worth to son John.


Allen Saunders remained professionally active as "Dean of American Continuity Strips", received an Inkpot Award in 1981, and wrote his Nemo autobiography, a rich resource on the history of American comic strip writing.


Allen Saunders died on January 28,1986, survived by his wife of 63 years, Lois, and their four children, and donating an archive of material to the Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University.