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Vincent T. Hamlin, creator of Alley Oop

Vincent T. Hamlin, the cartoonist who created time-traveling caveman Alley Oop for America's funny pages almost 60 years ago, has died at 93.

Mr. Hamlin died Monday (June 14, 1993) at Eastbrooke Health Care Center. He previously lived at Forest Oaks Care Center in Spring Hill and in 1992 underwent surgery for cancer that resulted in blindness.

In an interview in August, he said he was not in pain. "The only thing that's a pain," the cartoonist said, "is being blind. . . . It's the newspapers I miss."

Newspapers and cartoons were his life. In the years following World War I, he worked for newspapers in Texas, Colorado and Iowa. At the Des Moines Register and Tribune, Alley Oop was born.

After its premier in the Register and Tribune in 1932, the strip about a prehistoric hunk was picked up a year later by the Newspaper Enterprise Association, which still syndicates it. For more than three decades, Mr. Hamlin produced the strip from his home in Sarasota.

Ranked as one of the best comic creations to come out of the 1930s, and the inspiration for a popular song in 1960, the cartoon chronicled the adventures of the invincible caveman, mounted on his pet dinosaur, Dinny, bringing order to the Kingdom of Moo, which was going to pieces under the blundering King Guzzle.

In 1939, the World Encyclopedia of Comics reports, Mr. Hamlin introduced Professor Wonmug, inventor of a time machine, and his demented assistant, Oscar Boom. Shortly, Alley and his sweetheart, Oola, were carried to the future for a new world of adventures.

When Mr. Hamlin retired in 1971, he turned the strip over to his assistant of more than 20 years, David Graue. The strip, now written by Graue and drawn by Jack Bender, is syndicated to about 700 newspapers nationwide.

Survivors include a son, Jon, Spring Hill; and a daughter, Theodora "Teddie" Dewalt, Denver. Services will be private. Turner Funeral Home, Brooksville, is in charge of arrangements.

_ Some information in this obituary came from a story by Louise Andryusky, who was a columnist for the Times' North Suncoast editions.