The Work of Greg Clark and Jimmie Frise

Category: Life’s Little Comedies Page 1 of 4

The Sport of Kings

May 19, 1923

The reference to a “cracked spark plug” likely is a callout to Spark Plug, the racehorse introduced in the comic strip Barney Google, which was wildly popular since his introduction in 1922. His first race became one of comics’ first national media events, eagerly anticipated by millions of newspaper readers. So great was the public’s enthusiasm that Billy DeBeck (the creator), who had been planning to retire him after that one storyline, made him a permanent part of the cast.

Barney Google and Spark Plug

Lunch-Time Pastimes

March 15, 1919

Winter (Outdoor) Sports

February 7, 1920

Autumn on the Avenue

November 18, 1922

The Plebiscite at Birdseye Center

October 18, 1924

Ontario conducted it’s 5th plebiscite on Prohibition on October 23, 1924. (following ones in 1894, 1902, 1919, and 1921). Prohibition was not successful in 1894 and 1902. It was instituted nationally in 1916 during World War 1, but removed (nationally) in 1919. The 1919 referendum voted to keep it in Ontario, and the 1921 one voted to ban the import of alcohol. The 1924 referendum was whether to keep prohibition. It was approved by only 51.5%, a result that did not sit well with many and urban centers voted against it, while rural areas voted in favour of it.

Principal Figures in Big Daylight Robbery of the General Store, Bird’s Eye Centre

August 4, 1923

This comic was one of the earliest references to Birdseye Center. It was also very hard to clean, as it was an example where the paper pressed too hard on the engraving plate, resulting in a lot of black smudges.

Saturday Morning at the Office

June 25, 1921

In the early 20th century, the weekend only consisted of 1.5 days. Office workers still worked on Saturday mornings. As can seen in the jokes of this comic, people often resented working on Saturday and could not wait to leave for their weekend plans. It was not until the 1930s that getting the whole Saturday off became common.

Wheeling in that Load of Garden Loam

April 29, 1922

Loam is the ideal type of gardening soil.

Another Queen of the Movies Revisits Her Old Home Town

March 29, 1924

This comic is inspired by Mary Pickford, the biggest and most popular actress of the silent movie era. In the comic, little “Mary Toothpick” dreams of being a big star and returning to her hometown in Birdseye Center. She holds a newspaper with the headline “Mary Pickford Revisits Her Childhood Home”, which really happened. Mary Pickford was born in Toronto and grew up at 211 University Avenue. The actress visited Toronto with her husband, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., in March 1924, returning to her childhood home and posing in front of the house with her mother.

The scanned copy of this was poor, as the top right-hand corner of the comic was badly ripped in the microfilm. The text bubble in that corner is hard to read, but it says “What a tomboy she was – and so homely!”

“Ain’t We Got Fun!”

February 18, 1922

The title for this comic comes from the song “Ain’t We Got Fun“, which was first published in 1921, so it would still be a recent and popular song.

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