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June 4, 2023

This Week in H’burg… Mister Scribbles’ Masterpiece

Eight year olds join together for 4-H project

Reportedly, 17 years ago this wall at Fitch and Powell was a blank concrete block wall.  Often it would be “tagged.” That is until somebody decided to do something about it. 

That somebody was eight-year-old Haley Fincher. She and her friends took it upon themselves, as a 4-H project, to beautify the wall in the hopes that it would not be marred. She went to City Hall, advanced her petition, and got permission to paint a mural which Rotary funded. 

Enter Mr. Scribbles. Mr. Scribbles is Bobby Platt, a life-long resident of Healdsburg, artist and cartoonist. He conceived the design specifically, making the forms simple enough for eight year olds to paint and appreciate afterwards. 

Since 2005, this mural’s success of whimsy, color and cheeriness has stood the test of time. Now it’s a bit peaked and chipped in places. Mr. Scribbles is freshening up the colors, fixing the chips and restoring this lovely mural to its original state. 

Fun facts:  Platt, aka Mr. Scribbles, got his nickname when he was teaching cartooning at a children’s summer camp. Told to pick a nickname that could be used by children, his assistant picked  “Ms. Sketch” and Platt picked “Mr. Scribbles.” Sketch and Scribbles taught many campers their love of art and cartooning.

In nearby Santa Rosa, Charles Schultz reached the height of cartoon fame with his comic strip, Peanuts. Reading Peanuts was a family pleasure in our household.

With 27 paperback books, we followed the evolution of Schultz’s characters—Snoopy’s dark days imagining himself a vulture, Snoopy’s heroic days fighting the Red Baron (Baron von Richthofen), Woodstock flitting into the picture, Linus’ love of his blankie, Schroeder’s intense concentration on the piano, Lucy’s implacable audacity and her counter-balancing efforts in Psychiatric Help (5¢), Charlie Brown’s travails and eternal optimism, and, of course, the Little Red-Haired Girl—who never made an appearance in the comic strip.


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