Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Obscurity of the Day: Looie and his Tin Lizzie
I was never a big fan of Russ Westover's Tille the Toiler, the strip that brought him fame and fortune, but I do very much like his earlier work. A lot of his earlier cartooning was done for the New York Herald, where one of my favorites is Looie and his Tin Lizzie, which ran in their Sunday section from January 21 1917 to March 10 1918*.
A tin lizzie, of course, is the nickname of the Ford Model T, which went into production in 1908. It was an immediate hit, offering affordability, simplicity of design, and quality. The Model T changed automobiles from a rich man's plaything into a car within reach of the average man. The car was the source of a million jokes, but Russ Westover seems to be the first and only cartoonist to see the obvious opportunity to make one the star of an ongoing comic strip. Although many other strips featured cars (Joe's Car/Joe Jinks and Gasoline Alley being a few notables), Looie and his Tin Lizzie is the only one I know of that concerned Mr. Ford's flivver specifically.
* Source: Ken Barker's Hew York Herald index.