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CSotD: Friday Funnies, TGIF

I know, I know. Archduke Ferdinand and all that. A few cartoonists are already on it, but Prickly City is as close as we’re getting, because thank God, it’s Friday Funnies.

 

Candorville is as political as we’ll get, as Darrin Bell wraps up this conversation about the Roaring 20s and the Current 20s.

 

Lemont is absolutely right, and you can go back to February, to Chelsea Saunders’ brilliant graphic history lesson at the Nib, to read more, but what sticks with me in this slice of hard reality is this:

When we sent black GIs to France, they discovered a world without Jim Crow, and this oral history of one such experience contains a humorous but telling example of the revelation:

It was in Brest that I saw some colored soldiers wearing red fezzes and tan uniforms, standing on one of the street corners. One of the men from my company, who came originally from a small town, crossed over the street toward them and inquired. “Where can I get some cigarettes?”
The red-fezzed soldiers glanced at him, spoke among themselves, then turned to him and shrugged complete incomprehension. I saw that my friend was becoming angry so I crossed over.
“What’s the trouble, bud?” I asked.
“These big boys act like they don’t want to have anything to do with me. They’re talking a lot of gibberish, won’t answer my questions.”
I had a little trouble convincing him that “those big boys” were FRENCH Africans, couldn’t understand English and weren’t trying to be high hat.

They came home standing a little taller, which, unfortunately, resulted in more lynchings, but also led to a determination that following the next World War, there were going to be some changes made.

The Black Press kicked off the Double-V movement and then, thanks to Thurgood Marshall, James Farmer and other giants, the world changed.

At least for a while.

Okay, that’s all the politics for today.

 

And the quickest way to get out of the political and into the silly is to offer this Moderately Confused, which echoes some thoughts I’ve also had lately.

My TV time has been divided between football and politics, which means that, at about four o’clock, I start watching MSNBC or CNN, then catch Total Access at 7, and then shut things down.

Most of that qualifies as Daytime TV, which will convince you that Americans are some pretty sick people, not (only) in a political sense but in the sense of needing a whole lot of nostrums and tonics to cure the terrible things that afflict them.

Well, who did you think was sitting around watching Daytime TV?

It reminds me of the days — or nights, that is — of early cable, before Ted Turner invented cable channels, when it was just distant Superstations, and one of them from California offered all night movies sponsored by Big Sur Waterbeds.

Which made the same kind of sense as the drug ads, since anyone up all night watching crappy movies probably wanted a good night’s sleep.

It occurs to me that, if the AMA succeeded in ending Direct-to-Consumer advertising of prescription drugs, those cable channels would lose a ton of revenue.

And we’d lose a lot of earworms, which are particularly annoying when they drop a line to make the song fit the length of the commercial, so that you hit that *clunk* as you’re following along in your head.

But it’s not just the drug companies, and the strangest example lately has been Celebrity Cruise’s use of “White Rabbit” as backdrop for their commercials.

It’s been a long time since I took a trip with Alice, but it sure sounds more interesting than the buffet-and-talent-show Madras plaid image I’ve got of cruises, and I wonder if you get a choice of Grateful Dead or Quicksilver Messenger Service for that live, all-night entertainment?

 

Meanwhile, back on shore, today’s F-Minus stopped me in my tracks because it occurred to me that his father’s fantasy of being frozen and then re-animated when they find a cure for whatever killed him has a sort of Monkey’s Paw twist, since he’d still be an arthritic old man who can’t eat chili and falls asleep at 8 o’clock every night after Total Access.

 

Though if you like old stories, you might want to go to December 26 and pick up the current Rip Haywire story arc, because Dan Thompson has gone back to the noir mystery stories that originally inspired his parody strip and it’s been a very good read so far.

And, by the way, although the real Roaring 20s were just as grim as Darrin Bell has been painting them lately, the mythical Roaring 20s were a combination of noir mysteries and riotous mirth and TCM is running a whole lot of righteous films to watch as you read Rip Haywire’s combination of noir and laffs.

 

Pardon My Planet brings the hunt for cinematic absurdity up to the current date. But there’s nothing wrong with absurdity, properly done.

There are times I’m in the mood for “Rocco and His Brothers” and there are times I’d rather watch “Romeo Must Die.”

Roger Ebert didn’t like it, but here’s the point: Slightly silly is a flaw. Completely silly is a selling point.

That is, it’s not hip to like the Rush Hour movies, but I’d rather watch them than the ones that take it all seriously.

 

And Zits gets the “Timing is Everything” award for dropping this strip on New Years Day, because I remember when going to a concert in Chicago meant risking being stopped, hassled and searched by Daley’s goons, who were just hoping that you were holding.

But recreational mary-ju-wanna became legal in Illinois on January 1.

Enjoy the concert, Jeremy.

 

I’ve already provided a heads-up on Popeye’s search for his dad, but today’s (well, August 4, 1936’s) Thimble Theater provides such a lovely group portrait that I couldn’t resist passing it on. (Note Castor’s absence!)

 

And, finally, to keep the fires burning, here’s an xkcd I could have used a few days ago.

 

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
January/3/2020
@ 11:02 am

The Fleischer Popeye cartoon, GOONLAND, is a pretty good condensation of the spirit of the Popeye’s Pappy sequence. 1936, I think. It wasn’t often that the cartoons really dealt with events in the strip, just characters.

Mae Questel, incidentally, told an interviewer that she did the voice of Popeye in at least one cartoon. “And then,” I paraphrase from memory, “She demonstrated that she still can do the voice–quite well!” I’d so love to hear that.

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