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Lockhorns Bring Cheer to Huntington Hospital

Creators donate 2 panels of long-running cartoon to greet visitors to hospital.

Bunny Hoest with one of the comics. Photo Credit: Pam Robinson
Bunny Hoest with one of the comics. Photo Credit: Pam Robinson
Loretta and Leroy Lockhorn have taken their quarrelsome ways to Huntington Hospital, where two panels of the long-running cartoon now grace a wall at the main entrance.

Bunny Hoest, whose late husband, Bill, first created the cartoon in 1968, and artist John Reiner donated the artwork, which had their official unveiling Thursday night. 

The Lloyd Harbor resident and Reiner, who took over drawing the one-panel strip after Bill Hoest died in 1988, attended the unveiling, along with about 40 others from Huntington's art and music communities.

"The hospital asked me about raising money and I said I don't have the money to spare but i can donate; we'd lighten up the waiting room," she said.  There's nothing fun about "waiting in the waiting room, unless you're waiting for a wonderful new baby." 

The two pieces, one reflecting jokes about hospital food and Loretta's cooking, and the other a shot at Leroy Lockhorn's physical condition, will remain at the main entrance. 

Reiner and Hoest say they use ordinary situations, including what they observe in their travels around Huntington and elsewhere, in their work, catching squabbling couples or situations that fit the theme of their art. And they keep it clean. 

"We're well aware that newspapers are family oriented; most families do not want to edit so  the idea of pushing the envelope is totally unnecessary. Whatever changes take place in culture really don't pressure us to do things we don't feel appropriate," he said. The cartoon is published in about 500 newspapers around the world, in 18 languages.

Carrie Bhada, the hospital's vice president of development, said, "We are really grateful for this donation to the hospital. Bunny brings definite depth to the community. Laughter really can be the best medicine, studies support that, so if we can bring a little joy, especially from a local perspective, then we've done an even better job."

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