Friday, December 01, 2017


Wish You Were Here, from Fred Opper

Somehow the Mutual Book Company of Boston, a somewhat cheapsie sort of outfit I gather, got the rights to an Opper postcard image in 1905. Also rather odd that Opper, if he was in fact the author of the caption, chose to appropriate a very similar term to one popularized by his Hearst compadre, F.M. Howarth (Mr. E.Z. Mark). But I doubt Opper chose the caption, because I was able to find one other Opper postcard in this series, and that one appropriates the gag from a popular postcard series of the time "The Whole Dam Family".  Seems like the folks at the Mutual Book Company were trying to play piggy-back on proven sellers.

The cartoon itself is a bit opaque to me -- I guess Opper might be saying that oysters served at a church fair are a good bet to make you sick (you're a Mr. Easy Mark). If that's the gag, it seems like the oyster might have been drawn to make it obvious it is noxious. This one looks like a fine upstanding citizen.


Mystery solved. Opper illustrated a book by Eugene Field ...

... which included a bit about how one oyster is responsible for all the weak oyster stew sold at church fairs ...

The Easy Mark is most likely anyone who buys the oyster stew this fellow is involved with.
Great sleuthing Donald! Thanks.
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