Captain Billy And His Whiz Bang

w1929As a guy who
still pines
for his monthly
National Lampoon
subscription fix,
even though
it’s been defunct
since 1998 ….

you’ll probably
not be all
that surprised
when I say that
I’m a big fan of
humor magazines…….

Humor magazines
printed in Englishw4
have a long,
storied history –
— going way back
to “Punch”,
started in 1831.

The modern trend
toward humor
was actually
started in Poland –

in 1816 —
by the
“Society of Rogues” ,
followed by the
“Philanderer” in 1830-wnice

they were printed
in Polish, of course.

In the United States,
humor publications were
first oriented toward the ‘college’ crowd —

The Yale Record
and Harvard Lampoon
both started in the 1870’s.

Although American
adult-oriented humor Magazines probably owe
a good deal of their lineage
to a publication called
” Judge”, printed from w3
1881 to 1953 —

( and to a more
short-lived one
called ” Vanity Fair ” )

And this month
so happens to
be the 100th anniversary
of the founding of a
pioneer in the genre —
it was called:
Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang “.

A collection of
snarky cartoons
and semi-dirty jokes….

It was started in 1918
by a retired Army Captain
and veteran of the Spanish
American War,
named Wilford
“Billy” Fawcett.

Captain Billy’s
Whiz Bang was
variously self-described
as an :

” Explosion of
Pedigreed Bunk (or Bull) “ ,

” Farm Yard Full of
Fun and Filosophy “

” America’s Magazine of
Wit, Humor and Filosophy ” .

Fawcett explained
what he was
trying to do with
Capt. Billy’s thus:

” This little publication
was created
with the idea
of giving the former servicemen

a continuation of the pep and
snap we got in the army,”

And the magazine
did cause quite a stir,
—- especially in
polite society .

David Sloane,
in “American Humor Magazines
and Comic Periodicals” notes:

Few periodicals reflect the post-WW I cultural change in American life as well as Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang. To some people [it] represented the decline of morality and the flaunting of sexual immodesty; to others it signified an increase in openness. For much of the 1920s, Captain Billy’s was the most prominent comic magazine in America with its mix of racy poetry and naughty jokes and puns, aimed at a small-town audience with pretensions of “sophistication”.

Naughty and racy —
how could you
go wrong, right?

Of course,
it’s way back
before my time,

— and the first time
I’d ever even heard
about it, was in
the movie
“The Music Man” —

when Robert Preston
was describing
the moral decline of w1
children in the year

“Is there a nicotine
stain on his index finger?
A dime novel hidden
in the corn-crib?
Is he starting to
memorize jokes
from Captain Billy’s
Whiz Bang

Of course,
I was hooked
from that point.

Sure, the humor is dated,
and can offend peoplew1928
who don’t remember
to consider the times
and culture in which
it was produced.

So, it’s not
for everybody,
but then, what is ?

It’s absolutely precious
as a historical reference,
and fun, too.

Captain Billy employed
a number of very
skilled artists
like Frank Tashlin,
and Norman Saunders….

It also spurred a
number of imitators,
some of whom really
couldn’t maintain
the same levels of
quality in terms
of content,
art, and print

and it
influenced others —

“Joy Book”,
“Charlie Jones’ Laugh Book”
“Eye Opener”w2
“Bally Hoo”
and “Esquire”
( founded in 1933).

Even Captain Billy
got into the knock-off action
with “Smokehouse Monthly”.

By the mid 1930’s,
Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang’s humor
seemed old-fashioned and
out of step with the times,
and the publishing empire
(Fawcett Publications)
that it had created started focusing
on other types of periodicals,

comic books –
” Captain Marvel ” ,

paperbacks –
” Gold Medal Books “,

technology –
” Mechanix Illustrated “

movie mags –
” Movie Story “

noir fiction –
” Daring Detective”

men’s action –
” Cavalier “

household advice-
” Family Circle”

Time marches on, a1
I guess…..

But to me,
any opportunity
to laugh
makes the world
a happier place,

and so the passing
of the Whiz Bang,
like the later passing
of the National Lampoon,

still fills me with
a feeling of loss.

we still have plenty
of old copies
laying around.









The Friday Mail Bag

in the very depths
of the mailbag —

—-  lurks …..

who knowsatake

we’re gonna try
and find out
on today’s post.

This is the
grab-bag post….

I got no plan,
no sequence,
no theme.

Just stuff my
readers have tempt
sent me,

that I stashed away
for the day
when I’d figure out
how to put it
to some use.

And obviously,

I haven’t done a
real good job
with that, so far.

There are some really
interesting pieces here,

— and it would
be a shame
for them to rust away
in digital purgatory,

until the time comes
when I get my head
outta my ass.

I’m beginning
to think
it’s stuck there

What’s really scary is that
I’ve finally figured how to
walk around that way.


If you wanna reach
down there with me,

well, I’m more
than comfortable with that.lenticular

A little more to the left, please.


Order me another shot of
Wild Turkey and Seven-Up,
and we’ll see what we come up with.

Now, I know you’re probably
thinking that
Yer Ole Uncle Nuts
has gone all sloppy,

and is now
reduced to posting
blurry pictures of hotties
for his own amusement.

And, while that’s probably
true to some point,
In this case, it’s not so.lenticular

Those postcards are was
were called ‘Lenticular’ cards,
from the 1960’s.

What we’d call 3-D.

Move it around, and you get a different view.

One minute,
she’s got clothes on,

The next minute,
she don’t.

——- if life could only
be THAT simple.


The first example of a lenticular card
I could find is from 1906….

They appear to be making
rather nice, nice
in a tunnel of love.

Wooooo Hooooooo .

As long as they don’t tip the boat over.


now this postcard
is a fascinating one  —

Did you know Julia Child
and her husband Paul had a ‘reputation’ ?

that’s them alright.

Writer Nora Ephron wrote
that Julia and her husband, Paul,
led the sex life of “a couple of rabbits”.

Apparently, it workedoffice
pretty well for them —
—  they were married over 50 years.

I guess everything does go
better with butter.


I got this next set
from my boss at work.

He just hired a very
vivacious new office assistant,

…. and I was bitchin’ that
I need/deserve one more
than he does.a3

So he found me one.


Har Har.

That’s all
I got
to say.


—– and he can
forget me pullin’
any more overtimexoffice
for a while.

One of these days,

one of these days.

Bang Zoom.

One of the most popular
Mutoscope card series
in the 1940’s was
called “Your Future Mate ” —shave

You put in your penny,

— and the machine
spat out a card
describing somebody’s idea
of who you
were matched with.

I don’t know whose match
“Lotta Beaver” was —
( Really?
“The Human Soup
Strainer?” )

Or whether they were aware
of the depth of the weird
double entendre
they were making.

But, take it from me….unsafe

really is better.

Just sayin’.


Ya know…..

( How do you
like that
for a totally
non-sequitur segue ? )

Some guys
don’t understand –
-the powers-
of flowers.Image result for french postcard flowers

But I do.

A simple thing
like a
bouquet of posies
can turn
your girl’s day around.

And that’s always
gonna mean
a good thing
for you, too.


This French guy
just got there —
and he’s already
in the chips.

The postcard is
from around 1905 —
it’s hand-tinted, and gorgeous.

Speaking of flowers….

….. if you’ve never read
my post “What Color Is Your Rose” —

now’d be a good damn time
to catch up on your reading.

‘Cause I am out
till next time.



A History Of Ecstasy

we throw the
expression ‘ecstasy’
around pretty easily….

You see it in
movie posters,
comic books,
social media, etc,
like it’s really not that
much of a big deal.

But in the ancient world,
— they took that dealmaenid
very seriously, indeed.

This lady ,

featured in a photograph
from 1903,

… represented a prime
example of how our
Edwardian age great-grandfathers thought
that the classical
predecessors had
defined it.

If you invited one
or two of these ladies
for an evening of fun,
you were liable to in
for more than you
might have bargained for.

But, I guess it depends
on your idea of fun, though.

She’s what they
called a “Maenad” —

— and her idea of a good time
makes anything the average
college kid on Spring Break
does look like a church picnic
with bingo following.

it sort of was a
church picnic of sorts:

Followers of the Greek god Dionysus
(the Romans called him ‘Bacchus’) —mae

— ladies like these would
drink, dance, sing, rave
and generally carouse
to their hearts content —

during a religious rite that
has come to be called a “Bacchanalia”.

Today, when you hear that term,
you might think ‘Mardi Gras’ —

Or you might think ‘Orgy’.

And neither of those terms
would really live up to
a Maenad’s standards–

Even their name tells you something —

“Maenad” means “women in ecstasy”.

They liked to conduct their activities in the nude,
— or clothed in only
a fawn skin —

And according to Euripides,
they’d carry on like this
for days on end.

But before you start
recruiting Maenads
for your next kicky weekend,

I guess I’d better
warn you, brother —

There were NO MEN allowed.uhoh

Their rituals were open to women only.

And any man who happened
to try and crash their party was dealt with,

well, rather severely.

As in ,
— torn apart, shredded,
and eaten.

I guess when these girls
said ‘no trespassing’,
brother, they meant it.

Frazer, in the Golden Bough,
thought that the Maenads
were not only drinking heavily
at their ceremonial soirees,

— but under the influence of a powerful drug.

In all probability, that drug would have been basidiomycete —

— derived from what we today
call psychotropic mushrooms,
like the ‘Fly Amanita’.

The plant causes intensemaenad
euphoria, hallucinations,
and delirium–

very similar to the descriptions
of the Maenad’s conduct
in ancient texts, is known
to grow in that part of the world.

– and could very well
also been the mythical ‘Soma’ referenced in other materials
about ancient ceremonial drugs,
and in the Indian Rig-Vedas.

Now, of course,

I like my mythology maenad_
with more than a
smattering of smart-ass
and sex mixed in,

— but if you’re really
serious about reading
up on Greek Mythology,

I’d recommend you start
with my friend
Aquileana’s site.


HOY !!



The Postcard Art Of Bernhardt Wall

damnthingI always find that vintage postcards
are even more interesting,

— when you know
something about the artist.

You’ve probably noticed,
from time to time,

a group of cards
from a particular era
that share a very
individualized style,

and wondered about
who created them and why.

American born artist
Bernhardt Wall
was called ‘The King of Postcards’, bernhardtwall

at least in the United States,
between 1910 and 1940–

— based on the fact
that he created more
than 5000 different designs,

mostly light hearted
and humorous —

Bernhardt was more
than a postcard artist.

Much, much more.

He also was very heavily involved
in American defense efforts
during the period between 1898 and 1918…

gasAlready a working lithographer,
he volunteered for service
in the Spanish-American war in 1898,

—- and upon his return took up the study of etching full time.

After education at the
Buffalo Art Student’s League
and an apprenticeship
under William Auerbach-Levy,

he soon proved himself a prolific,
versatile, and creative artist…

and he produced a large body of
propaganda during World I.

His cards really do have
a very special recognizable quality– bite

— no matter what the subject or genre —
you can usually spot a Bernhardt Wall creation.

there’s a sentimental aspect and tone
reflected in his note cards, for instance ….

and a charming style to the way
he draws his dogs in the cards with animals.

Children with wide eyes and sweet demeanors
characterize many of his cards used for Valentines…..

but his Halloween cards have a weird creepiness
that belies the era from which they come.

sassyRarely do his characters
seem more than a tiny bit suggestive,

and they also have an innocence and simplicity
that is easy to relate to.

The majority of his work was published by Valentines and Sons,

— but he also created drawings and canvases for Gibson Art,
Illustrated Postal Cards,
and several others.

Especially talented as an illustrator and engraver,

he was also a keen reader, writer, and historian –

His historical works included publications such as:andrewjackson

“The Invitation to Gettysburg”,

“Following General Sam Houston”,

and “Windjammer”.

A book that he personally printed
and bound himself featured his etchings
of Indians, cowboys and the frontier U.S.–

It was called “Under Western Skies”,

…… and it was extremely well received at the time.

He is known to have created etchings
of many past famous personages, including:austin

Andrew Jackson,
Mark Twain,
Thomas A. Edison,
Abraham Lincoln,
Walt Whitman,
Stephen F. Austin
and George Armstrong Custer.

There is a particularly large collection
of these in the archives of Texas A&M University,

— those dealing with the Alamo,
and other aspects of frontier history,trooly
are especially popular with students poring through the stacks….

Much of this archive is also online at:


Others are also out there–

Wall was a very popular and busy guy!

Muscleheaded Blog frequent readers will probably remember–

(probably, maybe not)

— the post that dealt
with the whole ‘September Morn’
art work controversy– september

and how some postcards were issued mocking the hubbub,

— with sarcastic humor and good grace —

Yes, number four
on that post was an original Walls !

And so is this one.

You can find that post here.

Bernhardt Wall died in Sierra Madre, California in 1956-

— and, by then,

had created a huge body of work
in many aspects of publishing and art.manwants


modern audiences usually have their
first exposure to Wall’s work
through his very interesting vintage postcards….

And why not?

Great art is art that resonates with people —

Whether they be today,
or hundred years from now.

And I think Wall’s work lives up to that standard, and more.

Although I’m not sure about his spelling…….