Monday, July 26, 2010

"Bringing Up Father" Cartoon with a 70s Twist

Y'know that old, stylish, funny cartoon "Bringing Up Father"? Starring the social-climbing Maggie in a state of constant exasperation with her unrepentant, corned-beef-and-cabbage-loving husband Jiggs? You may recall that's where the now-forgotten term "Jiggs dinner" comes from.

I associated this cartoon with the first third of the 20th century or so. Imagine my surprise when I found it in some 1973 Ypsilanti Daily Presses I was perusing! Turns out the strip ran from 1913 to the year 2000!

What struck me was that in the 1973 strips, a new character was introduced to update it. Check this dude out. He wears pants with pink flowers on them. He has a groovy 70s haircut. He says "man" at the ends of sentences. He's a hippie. Guess what his name is.


Y'know, like "Grover" but with an oo, as in cool cat.

Some shots of Groover (bah, microfilm machine wouldn't print whole strip, sorry):

So what's the verdict? Does the presence of Groover make you feel that this venerable strip is fresh and relevant? Assuming this were 1973.


TeacherPatti said...

I love old comics! I think there is a lot of history to learn in them.
That said, um, no, Groover doesn't quite do it for me :)

Dusty D said...

I too love old comics. More on Groover from a comment on a comics discussion board:

Actually, "Bringing Up Father" was carried in one of the local papers when I was akid (this would've been the late 60's into the 70's), dunno who was drawing it, McManus would've been several years gone by then. I remember there was a character introduced - I think he was meant to be Maggie's nephew - who was a real "older person's notion of what a hippie was like". What's funny is that the character's name was initially "Tripper", but after awhile he fairly ostentatiously changed his name to "Groover". At the time I was nonplused by it, now I realize that somebody must've decided that "Tripper" was too much of a "drug" reference for a family strip.

I remember Bringing Up Father from the local paper when I was a kid, too, and I remember "Groover" -- he kind of resembled Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, except he always wore sandals, the better to convey his hippie-dippieness. I don't remember the artist, either, except it certainly wouldn't have been George McManus. It wasn't until years later that I saw the work he did on the strip, and I was blown away.

Dusty D said...

And here's a site with a lot of tasty tidbits concerning the historical details one can see in the strips.

Example: "Growler":

“Growler” was a slang term for the bucket in which beer was transported home from a bar. The origin of the term seems to be based on the lidded variety of these pails. As the beer purchaser walked home and the beer sloshed around in the pail, carbon dioxide would build up and escape at the lid. Supposedly this made a growling sound and thus the pail got its name.