Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What's This, A Blog?

Yes, as a matter of fact it is a game.  

I found this card game at an estate sale in Webster Groves last week.  I recognized the artist, but couldn't quite place him.  The cards appear to feature smart aleck answers to unknown questions such as "No, you bonehead, I'm flavoring a plum pudding with hair tonic" and "No, Theophilus, I'm eating elephant's knuckles at a clam bake."  If these remind you of  Mad's Al Jaffe's "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions", there's a reason -- more on that later.  I presumed, and later confirmed, the object of the game is to supply the correct question being answered, not unlike Jeopardy.

Perhaps as mysterious as the gags in these cartoons, is the fact someone has written various grains and numbers on the cards in pencil, possibly creating their own game.


After doing some googling, I discovered the artist is Rube Goldberg, known for his illustrated mechanical contraptions, and the cards date from 1919.

An excellent blog on these cards and their history can be read over on the Screwball Comics blog.

According to that site, Al Jaffe gives credit to Rube Goldberg and his "Foolish Questions" as inspiration for his own work.

For some more scans of the cards, including #51 which I'm missing and the questions to these snappy answers, head over to Super I.T.C.H and follow the links for the 4-part series.

1 comment:

  1. i recognized the rube goldberg style immediately. what an odd game. i had no idea that al jaffe's bit had an ancestor!


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