Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bookshelf: "Indoor Sports" Collection By "TAD" Dorgan, Ca. 1915, Part Three

Another theatrical boarding house gag. Click any for bigger.

Here's part three of the scanned collection of T. A. Dorgan's Indoor Sports cartoons. It's impressive enough that Tad drew this panel as a daily feature, but his accomplishments become truly daunting when you consider that during most of Indoor Sports' run, he was also turning out his daily Silk Hat Harry's Divorce Suit (later called Judge Rummy's Court or Old Judge Rumhauser) strip, as well as additional sports illustrations, editorial cartoons, Sunday features, and covering baseball games and boxing matches as a sporting news reporter.

How did he do it without burning himself out? That's a trick question: he didn't. He suffered a heart attack at a Jack Dempsey fight in 1920, and by 1921 had been ordered by his doctor to leave the big city and boxing matches behind. For the nearly ten years until his 1929 death, Tad rarely left his home in Great Neck, NY, living with the knowledge that he could literally drop dead at any time. All the while, he never stopped cranking out drawings by the thousands, and perhaps the isolation and lack of distraction enabled him to achieve new heights of skill in draftsmanship and observation.

Back to 1914, here's Tad, a lifelong city dweller, lashing out at the "hicks" again:

The cartoons in this book preceded alcohol prohibition, but booze was still something to be handled with discretion:

Another office scene. I'm not sure what kind of pose Tad's trying to show in the main character, but it sure doesn't work:

Another awkward moment:

Men "of the cloth" had to be even more discreet with their booze:

Holiday for urban orphans:

Tad's incessant "nobody home" gags take a literal turn:

Office politics get ugly:

Stag night rudely interrupted:

A familiar situation:

Another card game gag, this one incomprehensible to me:

More backbiting at the office:

And the guest who wouldn't leave:

Part one is here, part two is here, and part four is here.


Anonymous said...

Excellent and amazing. Following along with this and anything Nancy after getting the Fantagraphics book.

samael7 said...

The language is just amazing. I've read passages by Chaucer with more ease.

So many terms for having a look: a squint, a slant, an up-and-down. I'm still not sure what a mucilage parlor is, although pretty sure it's a gambling house. I even googled it, but almost all links to it are from the same era, and assume that you already know what it means.

(Fun note, there was apparently one on Ellis in San Francisco near where I used to live, so probably gambling)

I wish my grandma were still alive so she could explain some of these. She used to talk like this occasionally, to my delight and bafflement.

My favorite construction is the "Nobody home by the X, and it's Y." He did seem fond of that.

It's fun to note that card games haven't changed much, though. The Hearts joke where they played for money and the Queen of Spades being $0.65 was funny, especially since you can/do hold out dropping it on someone if they're ahead of the game.

And the card game above with the bid of 400 is, I'm pretty sure, Bridge. The scoring for Bridge is nearly incomprehensible to me (hence the comic's opacity), but apparently most of the USA knew how to play it once (remember Omar Sharif's syndicated Bridge column?).

If that's the case, 400 is a very high bid to make, since turning 12 tricks is a small slam of 500, and turning all 13 tricks is worth even more. A "near hand" is either referring to the placement of the bidder to the start of the bidding (and 400 would be high for a first round of bidding) or possibly the hand he was dealt itself, I can't remember.

And I could be totally wrong. They could be playing chemin de fer for all I know.