Friday, June 28, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from an Opper Copyist

Here's a 1905 postcard that appropriates Fred Opper's famed Alphonse and Gaston for a risque gag. Usually when one plagiarizes another's copyrighted works, a smart move is to keep quiet about your identity. Not these folks. We are told on the back that this is the proud product of the Adolph Selige Publishing Company of St. Louis.

Although this card was not postally used, the purchaser apparently needed to remind himself what the gag was about by annotating it on the face of the card. Thanks J. 


The copyright laws were pretty loosely defined in those days, even though there was a lot of licensing going on. I have a 1905 cover (that's philetalic jargon for an envelope with a stamp on it) that features an also unauthorized depiction of Alphonse & Gaston. It's nicely printed in two colors, with the words " We are After You my Dear Merchant" large between them. It is apparently a ready-made item that any small business could use. In this case, said small timer ("William Cluff Company", San Francisco)has his name on the back from a rubber stamp.
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