Friday, July 02, 2010

Feast of Saint Rube

My Fellow Comedists,

This weekend is July 4th, not only the birthday of the United States of America and our own Gwydion, but also cartoonist Rube Goldberg. A native of San Francisco, he attended Berkeley and worked for a short period as an engineer before becoming a cartoonist. After a brief stint as a stand-up comic on the Vaudeville circuit, he worked for San Francisco papers drawing a number of strips including Mike and Ike after which the candy was named, and drew political cartoons which during the lead up to and during World War II earned him such hate mail that he had his sons change their names for safety's sake.

But he is most famous for his drawings of the inventions of Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts (a play on his own middle name, Lucius). It is for these cartoons in which simple tasks were accomplished automatically through incredibly complicated multi-step machines often including bombs, mice, and bowling balls that his name has become an adjective. He won the Pulitzer Prize as well as many other awards for these strips and the cartoonists' award, "The Reuben" is named for him (although the sandwich is not). Here's one from the Rube Goldberg site showing the easy way to tee up a golf ball:

It is a little known fact that Rube Goldberg wrote a film script, Soup to Nuts, which not only featured a number of his machines brought to life (he was also a sculptor and the scuptures in the second clip are Goldberg's own work), but also featured for the first time on screen Shemp and Moe Howard and Larry Fine. Yes, it was Rube Goldberg who gave us the Three Stooges.

From all of us who love your strips, the Stooges, and the board game Mouse Trap, thanks Rube.

Live, love, and laugh,

Irreverend Steve