The Yellow Kid

Maybe you remember
the time I posted the
story of “Buster Brown“-
a comic strip that used
to run in newspapers
owned by William
Randolph Hearst,
in many affiliated
and syndicated
newspapers
around the
United States…

The main character
eventually became
an advertising
device for a shoe
company.

But, many folks
don’t know that
the artist who
created Buster
by the name of
Richard F. Outcault,
created a more
historically important
comic character,
“The Yellow Kid”.

You’ve heard the
expression
” Yellow
Journalism “ ?

Well, the term is
originally derived
from a reference to
the Yellow Kid comic
strip …

(“Yellow Kid
Journalism” was
the original term)

…expressing the
idea that newspapers
would print
almost anything,
including a Sunday
Color Comic Strip
Supplement in order
to sell newspapers.

( Which it did . )

It was also one of
the first comics
to use ‘speech
balloons’- when
the strip was
originally called
Hogan’s Alley “.

One other thing
it did, I guess,
was prove the
absolute
ruthlessness
of Randolph Hurst
as a publisher –

– he hired Outcault
away from his original
newspaper (Joseph
Pulitzer’s
New York World)
with a monetary offer
that the man just
couldn’t refuse –

– Pulitzer responded by
continuing the strip
with another artist
(George Luks )
and a slight variation
in the characters -> ->

So, in effect, the
Yellow Kid was running
in two versions in two
different syndications,
for about a year.

While the Luks version
was discontinued in 1897,
the Outcault original
out-lasted it another
two or three years.

If one looks closely,
it can be observed
that the Kid was a
product of the
urban slum
poverty that
was endemic
in New York
City at the time;

But, according to
Outcault himself:

” The Yellow Kid was not
an individual but a type.
When I used to go about
the slums on newspaper
assignments I would
encounter him often,
wandering out of doorways
or sitting down on dirty
doorsteps. I always loved
the Kid. He had a sweet
character and a sunny
disposition, and was
generous to a fault.
Malice, envy or
selfishness were not
traits of his, and he
never lost his temper.”

Societal tastes
were changing
rapidly at the
turn of the
century, and
since Outcault
did not have
any control of
the copyright on
“The Yellow Kid”,
he was disinclined
to continue the strip –
although the character
continued to be used in
all sorts of advertising
items and novelties –
from dolls and soap,
cigarette packs,
to buttons, fans,
and even liquor.

Yellow advertising ?

Perhaps.

But the character
represents a point
in time when people
were becoming
increasingly aware
of the horrors of
tenement living
and the
plights of the
disadvantaged,
and the eventual
demise of the Kid
probably had
more to do
with the fact that
people no longer
thought stuff like
human suffering
and poverty
was at
all funny.

And here’s
to that.

!!! HOY !!!

.

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Googie For You

A friend of mine
sent me a couple
pictures, and a
riddle —

She asked :

what would you
call this style of
signage?

I thought
about it,
and came up
with all sorts of
descriptive names
that really didn’t
narrow it down,
for some reason-
– retro-futuristic
was the best I
could come up with.

She then let the
cat outta the bag —
(what the cat was
doing in there in
the first place,
well, don’t ask…. )
and told me about
something called
“Googie Architecture”.

Now, you might
not believe me,
but according to
Wikipedia,
” Googie architecture
is a form of post-modern
architecture, a subdivision
of futurist architecture
influenced by car culture,
jets, the Space Age, and
the Atomic Age;
originating in Southern
California during the late
1940s and continuing
approximately into the
mid-1960s. “

Damn,
I shoulda
knowd that.

You could have
beat me over the
head with a stupid
stick —

— cause I never
even heard of it,
even though I’ve
always LOVED
that style.

I remember a lot
of those in Miami
Beach, and in
Wildwood, N.J. as
well —

— not to mention,
the most famous
Googie Style sign
of all time —

The Welcome to
Fabulous Las Vegas
sign.

You can still see a
lot of it, if you look
close, on Motels,
Car Washes, Drive
In Theatres, Bowling
Alleys — it was a style
that was extremely
popular in the early
space age —

— expressing a very
optimistic, light hearted
view of what was coming
in society.

It can be recognized
by the dramatic use
of parabolas,
boomerangs,
flying saucers,
atomic shapes,
unusual neons,
and geometric
figures like
balls, oblong
triangles, etc…

– usually combined with
a pastel or bright color
motif.

I think Donald Fagen’s
song:
What A Beautiful
World – I.G.Y

really hits this style
right on the money.

And, I figured
I’d give you
some samples of
Googie signage
to look at while
you listened.

Cool,
right ?

If you’ve got pictures
of Googie that you’d
like to see featured
here, just send em
right along…

We got plenty
of room !

.

!!! HOY !!!


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Friday Mailbag

Just sorta
reminding ya,
cause I know
you are probably
already well
aware of it ……………

ITS
FRIDAY !!!!

Of course,
you might
just figure I’m
stating the
obvious,
and
I’ll admit
that we
do that
a lot
around here……..

But it also
means that
it’s time for
our weekly
Mailbag post,
brought to you
by :

well,
nobody in
particular,
since we
don’t accept
advertising.

I suppose
it might
still seem
a bit suspect,
me posting a
Friday Mailbag
full of commercial
cigarette cards,
but I assure
you that the
company that
produced them
didn’t do a
damn thing
for me-

Hell, I don’t
even think
they’re
in business
anymore.

Nope,
actually,
I’m sure
of it.

It was Frishmuth’s
Tobacco Company,
based at 17th and
Lehigh Avenue in
Philadelphia —

and these cards
are from an
1887 series
called
“Occupations
of Women”….

and
they went
out of business
around 1910.

( Just a
footnote
in history,
the founder
of the
company
jumped to his
death from
the 50th floor
of a Philadelphia
hospital…)

Yes,
the cards
are highly
collectible,
now that
you mention
it.

Colorful,
beautifully
drawn, and
carefully
lithographed.

Rare?

I
dunno
about
that….

But
I think
you can see
why I like
’em.

.

!! HOY !!!

.

.

.

.

 

 

 

 

Soft Soaping

No Soap.

Soap Opera.

Don’t Drop The Soap.

Soap On A Rope.

Soap Scum.

Soft Soap.

All Soaped Up.

Soap Party.

Soap Poisoning.

99.4 % Pure Soap.

Soap Dodger.

If there’s no suds,
there’s no soap.

Soap Bubbles.

Mark Twain
said that :

” Soap and
education
are not as
sudden as a
massacre,
but they are
more deadly
in the
long run. “

Soap is one
of those
things that
pervades
every aspect
of our
daily lives in
some way,
and certainly
as part
of our daily
parlance.

That doesn’t
mean that
we’re all
that squeaky
clean,
of course —

– as the writer
G.K. Chesterton
noted:

” Man does not
live 
by soap
alone; and

hygiene, or
even health,

is not much
good unless

you can take
a healthy

view of it or,
better still,

feel a healthy
indifference

to it. “

Soap’s a
pretty simple
thing, really —
a little fat,
a little salt.

You kinda
take it for
granted, unless,
of course, someone
you know really
does take it for
granted….

— cause you’ll
quickly notice
the absence
of it’s use.

Still, soap
can make
for an
interesting
subject for
a blog post,
as we’re
attempting
to prove
today here
on the
Muscleheaded
Blog….

… by
blowing
some
nice
vintage
soap bubbles
of our own.

Let us
know
how we did.

!!! HOY !!!

.

Maurice Milliere

.

Our Friday Mailbag Post

The words ‘big brother’
can elicit an interesting
variety of reactions from
folks.

Any fan of 1970’s
rock and roll will
remember the
opening verse to
Rare Earth’s hit song :
” Hey Big Brother ! ”

Or Janis Joplin’s original
band ” Big Brother and
The Holding Company”.

Of course, the original
allusion was from
George Orwell’s seminal
book about a potential
fascist future:
1984 ” ….

Oh, you didn’t think
I was referring to
Van Halen‘s best
album by the same
name, did ya ?

While we’re playing
connect the musical
dots, I guess we can’t
leave off War’s
Me And Baby Brother ” ,
which, at the very least,
will take me back to my
original thought pattern,
anyway.

I was a
big brother,
myself —

– and it was
a hard job,
believe it or not.

You’d be amazed how
many times I ended up
fighting guys that I
personally liked for
picking on my younger
siblings.

The oldest always
gets the blame
when something
goes wrong,
is charged with
running off
unsuitable
suitors for sisters,
and always
receives
the harshest
punishments
because he
‘ought to
know better ‘.

Parents always try
out stuff on the
oldest first – to learn
from their mistakes.

But I’m not kickin’
about it –

I never had to wear
hand-me-downs,
or
deal with a
‘trouble-maker’
reputation in school
that preceded from
an elder…. (me).

I was bigger,
stronger,
and faster,
so I had a
better chance of
grabbing seconds
at the dinner table..
(when there were
seconds, that is… )

Anyway,
today’s mailbag is
all about the
complicated
dynamic that is
being a sibling.

.

!!! HOY !!!

.

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MORE?

Ok………..

 

Photo Boothing

My buddy Jen sent
me a funny picture
of a couple of dogs
mugging in one of
those coin-operated
automated photo
booths, and it got
me to thinking-

(always a
dangerous thing)

— just how many
hilarious examples
of this kinda thing
must be
out there
somewhere.

I guess it
must be true,
cause you can
do some really
goofy stuff in
front of a camera
in 5 second intervals.

Hell, I’ve been
known to participate
in some pretty silly
photo booth high jinks
myself when they were
still popular in arcades
and such.

Of course,
that required
pain-staking research,
searching every nook
and cranny of the
interwebs and stuff,
but
hey,
anything for
our readers, right ?

Well, here’s
the thing.

Most of the vintage
photo sets from
4 for a quarter
photo booths
that I found were
kinda lame…..

(with a few
exceptions)

People skewing up
their faces, bugging
their eye balls, and
making obscene
gestures is pretty
much par for the
course.

Not that
I have any
issue with any
of that-

– it just so
happens
that I hold
an advanced
degree in
obscene
gestures…..

….. but it’s just
not something
that would make
for all that thrilling
of a post,
if you get
my drift.

You seen
one middle
finger, you
seen em all.

But never fear —

( notwithstanding
how really slow
I was in
realizing it ) –

we did finally
figure out
that those
old fashioned
backdrop shots
that they used
to sell at the
beach,
arcades,
zoos, and
in amusement parks
could get pretty risque
or downright bizarre…

— especially those
from around
World War II.

Folks would simply
stick their head
or other appendages
into cut-outs on the
backdrop-

Then:
the camera
would click,
the light
would flash,
and – presto –
instant humiliation
stored on photo
emulsion paper.

Who wouldn’t
want ten
pounds
of that,
I ask you ?

Of course,
folks had a
much better
sense of humor
back then…….

And they hadn’t
learned yet the
truth of the now
defunct rule 74 –

– that if you
look like
you’re naked
or are doing
something
naughty in
a picture,
even if it
ain’t really
you, for all
practical purposes,
you are,
and for all time.

Don’t I know it.

(Rule 74 was
officially replaced
in the early
2000’s by :
Rule 74-R
which states that
unless you’re doing
so completely out
there while you’re
naked , (or a politico
or celebrity), that
makes it stand out
from the trillions
of other naked
pics floating
around
on the internet
somewhere,
there’s a very
strong chance
that nobody will
want/notice/care/
even see it. )

Ahem.

I honestly
don’t know
which version
of that rule that
I like least, but
anyhoo……

For those
of you who
tuned in to
see the funny
photo strips….

well,
if you’ve
got any:

just send em along
in care of this here
blog, we’ll still do
it on another post.

I just didn’t
have near
enough good
ones to make
a whole post
interesting.

And I do like
these vintage
‘cut-out’ shots 
a whole lot better
that the photo strips
I ended up not using.

It comes down
to simply this :

sometimes
a detour
will get ya
ya where you’re
going somewhere
faster than the
main road.

Not often,
I grant ya.

.

!!! HOY !!!

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?????? WANT MORE ??????

Alrighty …………..