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Cartoonist Profile: Rube Goldberg

Foolish Questions, I’m the Guy, Boob McNutt, Mike and Ike, Pepsi and Pete, Life’s Little Jokes, Sweep Out the Padded Cell, and, of course, The Inventions of Lucifer G. Butts.
Oh, and over 70 other titles, along with sports and (Pulitzer Prize-winning) editorial cartoons.
Those would be the creations of Rube Goldberg.

The introductory paragraph from Alan Bisbort’s Goldberg profile of last week:

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) was and is best-known for his crazy cartoon inventions. “Was” because, in his 65-year career, Goldberg was one of America’s most popular personalities—he was far more than a cartoonist—author of more than 70 different comic strips, as well as editorial cartoons (for which he won a Pulitzer), essays, poems, lyrics, short stories, speeches, film and stage treatments and sculptures. “Is” because, long after his death, Goldberg’s name lives on as an adjective in the Merriam Webster dictionary: “accomplishing by complex means what seemingly could be done simply…also Rube Gold-berg-i-an…”

Rube is honored every year around this time because Spring is when engineers and wannabe engineers get all “Rube Goldbergian”. The Rube Goldberg Machine Contest remains a popular event. The 2018 Online Finals results were announced May 16.


The first manifestation of Professor Lucifer G. Butts by Rube Goldberg
Collier’s – November 3, 1928

While Goldberg’s inventions appeared as early as 1912, it was in 1928 that Lucifer G. Butts debuted.
A while back comics historian Paul Tumey informed us of The Origins of Rube Goldberg’s Professor Lucifer Gorganzola Butts, A.K.

Later this month cartoonists will honor Rube;
and be honored with The Reuben.

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