Category: Life’s Little Comedies Page 1 of 4
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.
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.
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.
Loam is the ideal type of gardening soil.
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!”
It is encouraging to see that very early in Jim’s career (when he drew his comic in a realistic style), that he did not resort to physical stereotypes, as was common in comics of the era. See my post on About Stereotypes for more information. Though Jim did not use a physical stereotype in this comic, the speech of the Black man still is.