Jiggs & Maggie

Jiggs and Maggie

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In newspaper lore is the legend of a young cartoonist, flouted by the parents of the girl he wished to marry, who made himself rich by putting them in a comic strip. Earthy, rude nouveaux riches, Jiggs & Maggie became famed in song, story, burlesque. Probably on this account is the story apocryphal. No vulgarian (red vest, shock of red hair, silk hat) could be as preposterous as Jiggs; no scowling, tight-lipped lady as savage as Maggie. Nevertheless, U. S. masses have for many years followed their somewhat stylized activities, which consist chiefly in family strife and almost invariably end with Maggie pelting Jiggs with crockery. Throughout the U. S. are lunchrooms and coffeepots named for Dinty Moore's, refuge of Jiggs from perpetual fusillades. "Bringing Up Father," besides running in the newspapers of 71 countries in 29 languages and making Cartoonist George McManus a millionaire, has appeared as a book, burlesque show. Last week, with eclat suitable to U. S. heroes, was celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first appearance of Jiggs & Maggie.

To a banquet in Washington, radio-broadcast to the nation, came 300 guests, as impressive an assemblage as might have gathered to honor the authentic, flesh-&-blood great: three Cabinet members, 31 Senators, 91 Representatives, five members of the Diplomatic Corps, three foreign ministers, many and many a bigwig of politics and business. Speeches were made by Secretary of War Patrick Jay Hurley and U. S. Senator George Higgins Moses.

Many a U. S. highbrow (notably Gilbert Seldes) has "discovered" the comic strip, along with the cinema, burlesque et al. Advanced is the theory that the social historian of the future will find rich lore in its crudely drawn and colored cartoons. Accordingly, some future pundit may glean from last week's 20th Anniversary page the impression that anniversary gifts consist mostly of earthenware, that after the party the host (in tailcoat, grey cravat, purple vest) is lapidated by his wife while he loudly cries: "Maggie—please save a cup fer coffee in the morning."

But if 20th Century husbands ever lay violent hands on their wives the comicstrip researcher will never discover it. By a curious chivalry of newspaper cartooning, neither Jiggs nor any other male may pelt, pummel or kick a female.