Q. I found this sign at a rest stop on Hwy 70 in Kansas. I'm guessing Parky is from the 1970's. Anyone know anything about Parky?
A. Hi, I'm Lloyd Hutchinson, cartoonist and creator of Parky the Kangaroo. In 1952, the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation sponsored a cleanup campaign and announced a cartoon contest to select a character to represent the City of Los Angeles. My cartoon was chosen as the winner, out of 450 entries. (I've posted my original drawing; a graphic artist adjusted the image which was subsequently used in the Parky campaign). Parky decals were soon seen on every trash can on beaches and parks throughout Los Angeles. They were also placed on every Water and Power truck, and on each city vehicle. Also, every letter which passed through the Los Angeles Terminal Annex postal facility bore the Parky imprimatur. Parky's image was soon distributed to many other states, as well as to Canada and other foreign countries.
Parky's name, of course, was derived from the Department of Recreation and Parks. (My original name for Parky was "Trashy," believe it or not!) Parky was considered a public service creation, and my only compensation (besides a three-day trip to Mammoth Lake with my wife; we were still newlyweds), was a small honorarium for two posters depicting Parky using her familiar cleanup stick.
Later, the City of Los Angeles announced a Parky song competition, which was won by a local couple. The song was recorded by Wilbur Hatch and the NBC orchestra, and sung by the prominent performer, Johnny Green.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me. Thanks!
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