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The Funnies: 1922

The Funnies: 1922

"John M. Bear Jr., 11/26/22." Twenty-one little kids. All wearing hats decorated with characters from the funny papers. At Johnny's 11th birthday party. And they're mortified, every last one. (Thought you'd all slip under the radar, did you? That this embarrassing little artifact would just go on collecting dust at the bottom of a box somewhere? Well. Guess what. Not only did they invent radar, they invented computers and scanners and the Internet. Bwahaha. View full size!)


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Baer, not Bear?

From 1917 to 1921, Congressman - and populist political cartoonist - John Miller Baer resided in Washington while representing North Dakota's First Congressional District. After his Congressional service ended, he remained in Washington, continuing to draw cartoons for labor publications. The 1940 census reflects that his household included a 28-year-old son named John M. Baer Jr., who by then was working as an architect with the U.S. Army. John Jr. would have been eleven years old in November 1922.

Textbook Case

This should be in Webster's or on Wikipedia next to the definition for "mortification." Great idea for 6 year olds....

Katie Can Travel Through Time...

...because that Scientology stuff is really amazing. Really.

Who knew?

I almost did a Givney flip take when I saw young Katie Holmes standing there wearing the Ham Gravy hat. Who could've guessed that she, of all people, would master time travel?


You TOLD us we were going to Glen Echo amusement park!

Where are they now?

I'll bet when Polly grew up she was amazing in the sack.

As Dr. Johnson said

"Nothing is more hopeless than a scheme for merriment."

Lonely Hats Club Band

I thought I had seen every detail in this photograph by now, and then I noticed it! A lonely hat, perfectly flat, perched on the porch railing, waiting for that one kid whose mom wouldn't let him come at the last minute! Probably an early 20th century victim of "groundation"!- Kathleen

Huck Finn?

Look at those freckles, and the mischief on her face. Huck Finn she is, no doubt.

Hairbreadth Harry

In the modern age of the 1920s, old-time melodramas, with their mustache-twirling, top-hatted villains kidnapping innocent gals and subjecting them to unspeakable perils, and the early silent film versions of same, were considered old-hat and ripe for ridicule. Think of the swinging, mod 60s being sent up by Austin Powers today. That was the shtick of the comic strip, as well as a series of short film comedies made by the Weiss Brothers in the late 20s. A number of those have recently been issued on DVD, transferred from the original negatives. Many feature breakneck car chases through the streets of Los Angeles and vicinity. In a way, they're like Shorpy in motion: high-quality, moving images of everyday street scenes in a time gone by - cars, roadways, shopping and residential districts the way they used to be. During one chase sequence you can plainly see the famous HOLLYWOOD sign arrayed across a hillside, except it's the original: HOLLYWOODLAND.


Sadly, I couldn't click through to the comments for this picture at work. The filter claimed the action was blocked because of "porn." Not a problem I usually have with Shorpy. Thanks a lot, Boob McNutt.

Mom is so proud!

Methinks that a party hostess/mother had what she thought was a spanking idea of making hats for all the kids to wear with their "favorite" cartoon characters on them. She is no doubt pleased with herself and the drawings, hence she made the kids pose so she could capture the moment forever. To share and share and share.

Note all the water and mud on the porch, and the carpet the front row kids are sitting on. The second row kids are in chairs. Setting up this picture took a bit of work, that's why I think it is a self-pleased mother.

[Martha Stewart's grandma, maybe. - Dave]


How did you do that? I was far off on the names, but at least they were personalized! Although they look as if they were done with markers, these great close-ups show that they were most likely done with pastel pencils. I am thinking now that the parents of John might have actually commissioned a sketch artist to do these hats. They look as if they have the effortless, clean lines that come with a lot of practice. And each is a perfect copy of the characters they are drawing.

I love the details here. Beautiful lace work on the little girl's dress behind Francis.

Hairbreadth Harry looks like quite the dandy! He is one I don't recognize, I am going to have to look him up.

Wow, that expression on Eugene looks familiar. It is the same dull look my grandson gives me when I am lecturing him! That is one bored kid.


Craptastic Hats

I feel kinda sorry for the person who spent so much time on those hats! I am sure they expected a better reaction! Clearly a talented artist, it looks like they took the time to personalize each hat, as well. Each cartoon character seems to be giving an individual message to the child that wears the hat. The easiest to read is the "Mutt" hat. It says "Hello Hector, by heck". The first two boys seated seem to be named Phillip and Nathanial. Hard to read anything else but, that was a nice touch, although totally lost on this glum bunch. Gloomy Gus seems to fit her hat very well, and the serious bags under her eyes make me think she might be getting sick. Gee, I hope it isn't tuberculosis! That would make this birthday disaster even more tragic! - Kathleen

[Birthday boy John is Hairbreadth Harry. Eleven years old! His friends are Hector, Ralph, Francis and Eugene. - Dave]

"Good Old Days" my thick, woolen suit! worn by poor, sad, finger-clasping "Jeff" at far left. "Betty" beside him, however, is kind of an insouciant charmer with a bended knee and a knowing grin. All that formalwear for kids, and then these craptastic hats!

Jim said it best: "Ho. Lee. Mo. Ley."


Wow. It looks like they all just lost ice-cream privileges. Buck up, kids! This is the best time of your lives!

Let the good times roll!

I hate to say it, but these look like the photos we just got back from one of our scarce family reunions. Most of the people had no idea who the others were, had little in common, were dressed in uncomfortable Sunday clothes and had the body language of pulling away from the people next to them and folding their arms across their waist. Creating a posed memory photo of united hilarity when none existed is not easy (and of course there was no liquor since we could not tempt the recovering alcoholics), but I digress. I'm guessing that either the party was extremely dull, the hostess was too strict or uptight, there was not enough food or the guest of honor did not like his gifts and threw a tantrum. Anyway, it brings to me reveries of gatherings in my own experience wherein the chemistry was just not right and, like "MacArthur Park", someone left the cake out in the rain. I love this telling picture of the party with no joy. It happens.


I'm not talking about how these kids look. It is absolutely frightening how many of these comic strip characters I can identify without resorting to Wikipedia! By the way, Maw Katz is short for Maw Katzenjammer from "The Katzenjammer Kids." As for Ham Gravy, he was the boyfriend of a girl named Olive Oyl before the arrival of a mono-ocular spinach chomping sailor called Popeye, in the strip "Thimble Theater."

With one or two exceptions that I can't track down, these are all King Features strips.

[Someone misspelled Joneses. And I think it should be "Keeping." - Dave]

One is Having a Little Fun

The "S'matter Pop" girl has actually been caught having a small amount of...."fun". The "Jeff" lad is a perfect portrait of misery, however. This is the saddest "party" I've ever seen.

Thanks, Mom.

Thanks a LOT.

Another reason to look so glum

Check out the water on under the porch railing. If you had to be outside on a cold November day in the rain taking a picture I don't think you would be very happy either.

Kids Love Boob!

toonopedia has the scoop on most of these characters.

Boob McNutt started as a series of one-shot gags, which usually ended with Boob being tortured to death for his innocently destructive ways, but before long, week-to-week continuity was added. In 1922, he met the love of his life, Pearl, and the focus shifted to his quest to win her hand in marriage. The task was accomplished in 1926, but they were soon divorced. They went through a few more cycles of courtship, marriage and divorce.

Now Stop It, All Of You!

My guesses on why the long faces include the probability that they've just been threatened with bodily harm into keeping still for the photo and that maybe none of them got the character they wanted on their hat.

Gloomy Gus

Fabulous picture!

Check out Gloomy Gus there in the middle. Her little moniker suits her just fine, don't you think?

Next to her is "Boob McNutt." *snicker snicker*

And the row of preteen girls in the back. Oh, can't you just feel the awkward?!

I'm guessing the adult responsible for this is standing to the right of the kids. Many of them are looking that way with looks on their faces ranging from disbelief to possible hatred. But mostly disbelief.

Attn. Internet: Please pick up your shipment of WIN

Ho. Lee. Mo. Ley. What an amazing picture. Although I do have to wonder how much counseling the kid with the "Boob McNutt" hat had to undergo later in life.


Never has fun looked so enforced.

Funny Cartoons...

I'm not sure you could have a character today called "Boob McNutt"... Great shot...

See You in the Funny Papers!

They're all adorable. Check out the vampette in the Jerry hat playing peekaboo with her ostrich feather fan. Standing left is Jeff who is thinking, "This is nowhere near as much fun as The Mark of Zorro."

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