Monday, June 16, 2008


Just fooling around on the net I found myself once again immersed in the bottomless well of creativity called Rube Goldberg. Forget the mature Goldberg who did all the invention drawings; I'm interested in the young artist who did his best work before 1925.

Twins are funny and two twins getting hit on the head at the same time (above) are funnier still. Nobody in Goldber's universe stays in center screen very long. The world around funny people is funny too.  Weird people are always passing in the foreground and background.

Goldberg's generation knew that  suits with tails (above) are funny.  Even normal business suit jackets had a high, tight-fitting waist line that flaired out below the waist and had a big center cut in the back...perfect for interesting back shots.

Nobody in Goldberg's strips looked dignified from the back.

Goldberg was fond of kibbitzers who stood around commenting on other people (above). Sometimes a ridiculous number of kibbitzers and loafers would show up.  They'd lean against walls, help themselves to your chewing tobacco, and argue with each other, all the time making sarcastic comments about you.

Notice the twins at the window.  Twins with beards are God's gift to cartoonists.

The Olive Oyl head (above) is a great template for funny characters of both sexes. I love little, beady eyes on a ball with a low nose and mouth. Goldberg correctly adds to the effect by giving men suit jackets made with Cliff Sterret-type drapery patterns.

This (above) is from my favorite Goldberg period. He seemed incapable of doing a drawing that was less than hilarious. Nobody in the Goldberg world of that time fit the chairs and vehicles they used. Even their clothes didn't fit. People were always out of sync with their enviornment but they were all so obsessed with what they were doing that they didn't seem to notice. 

Goldberg eventually did more normal kinds of strips like the one above, but you get the feeling that he considered them to be a burden.

I wonder if he was influenced by the plague that overtook silent live-action comedies in this period. Even before the invention of sound films the studios began to show disdain for gag shorts. They increasingly turned out comedies that told a story and more or less followed the rules of dramatic story telling.  Why the studios chose to commit comedic suicide is beyond my understanding.


Anonymous said...

This is amazing, but you need to make the pics a higher resolution, im not good with computers but itd be cool if the thing where when you scroll over the picture a magnifying glass with a plus sign comes up that lets you expand the pic

Trevor Thompson said...

Where was Goldberg published?

- trevor.

Amir Avni said...

Hey Eddie,
When I was in LA I donated the book "Rube Goldberg vs. the Machine Age" to the Archive, maybe you'd be interested to take a look

Anonymous said...

It's a pity that Goldberg is forgotten today but for diehard cartoon historians and, of course, the elderly.

Anonymous said...

awesome! reminds me of Milt Gross

Trevor Thompson said...

Hey Eddie,

I can't find parts two or one. Can you post a link?

- trevor.

Andy said...

Hi Eddie. This is my first time posting on your blog even though I read it a lot. That probably pisses you off because the more comments, the more popular you are on blogger, so sorry. Haha.

Anyway... Eddie you have to talk about stuff more on youtube, and do your cartoony story stuff on blogger. I like that better because I can look at the funny poses and stuff easier in photo form, rather than video form. Just saying... And I looove listening to your stuff on youtube. That bully video was great!

Anyway, sorry, I don't have anything to say about Goldberg... I've never heard of him until the reading of your blog. But I felt I needed to comment you for once.

Jennifer said...

Fascinating post, Uncle Eddie! I always learn something on this blog.

I never knew that Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist. His name was always synonomous with inventions. Some of his work is really nice.

I, too, like the "Olive Oyl heads". I wonder if Max Fleischer was influenced by Mr. Goldberg....

BTW - I wished you a belated Happy Fathers Day a few days ago, but it looks like my post didn't get to you.

Jenny Lerew said...

Goldberg's is lovely stuff, alright. Thanks.

Did you do parts 1 and 2 a while ago?

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Andy: I'll post more drawings soon, and I appreciate what you said about drawings and still pictures working better with blog media, but I still need to do some film as well. I'm just learning so much doing it that I can't bear to stop right now.

Jennifer: Did I fail to print your Father's Day comment!? If so, I'm really sorry. Sometimes I delete a comment accidentally by leaning on a wrong button.

Boo, Jenny; I just did a quick look and couldn't find the other Goldberg posts either, but the're there in the archive, I swear.

Marc Deckter said...

Great post! Jonathan Barli of DIGITAL FUNNIES donated a couple cd's of early Goldberg cartoons to the Asifa-Archive:



And I was able to dig up one of Eddie's previous Goldberg posts here:


Thanks Eddie for introducing us to his non-invention stuff! His early work is hysterical.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Marc: Wow! Thanks for the great Goldberg links! Thanks also for the link to my previous Goldbreg post in March, 2007. The other post about Rube was posted in the same month. Lots of my own cartoons that month, too.

Trevor Thompson said...

Thanks a billion, Marc!

- trevor.

Marc Deckter said...


Vincent Waller said...

Thank you Eddie and thank you Marc.
I love it.

Peter Bernard said...

Didn't Rube Goldberg direct the first Three Stooges short, when they were still working with Ted Healy? BEFORE Curly was in the group, when Shemp had long greasy Kurt Cobain hair? Goldberg was really a very creative fellow to say the least.

Anonymous said...

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