Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mary Worth (comic)
Mary Worth is a comic strip originally written by Allen Saunders and drawn by Ken Ernst . It centers around the title character, a 60 year old former teacher and widow of a Wall Street tycoon who lives in The Charterstone Condominium Complex in Santa Royale, California. A pioneering soap opera-style comic strip, Worth serves as an observer of and advice dispenser for her fellow residents, tackling issues like drug and alcohol abuse, infidelity, and teen pregnancy.
Mary Worth started as Mary Worth's Family in 1938 and was a replacement for Apple Mary, a comic strip about old woman who hawked apples by Martha Orr. Some works claim that it was a continuation of the former strip, though King Features denies this and it seems unlikely given that the characters have no similarities beyond their names.
Mary Worth is syndicated by King Features and until recently was written by John Saunders (son of Allen Saunders) and drawn by Joe Giella . Karen Moy took over for Saunders in early 2004.
Probably the most famous current pop culture reference to the strip is from an episode of The Simpsons where Comic Book Guy's display case contains "a very rare Mary Worth in which she has advised a friend to commit suicide". In another episode he attempts to sell a Mary Worth telephone.
A recurring skit on The Carol Burnett Show was a satire on the comic, called Mary Worthless. The title character went around helping people, "whether they liked it or not". At the beginning of each installment, Carol Burnett, in character, sat inside a comic panel and introduced herself: "Oh, hello. I'm Mary Worthless, and I'm a do-gooder." The last line usually elicited much laughter from the audience, as they knew her schemes to do more harm than good.
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