Admit it, you love the Hiatal Bleats. First of all, there’s the warm feeling you get when you realize that YGH, which sounds like some grunt of an eldritch horror, doesn’t want you to go without something every day, because he apparently thinks it’s 1995 and the Internet is just starting to fill up.

Second, you may realize with a certain tinge of sadness informed by mild indifference, that YGH has to be rather unsure his audience will ever come back if he steps away for a while.

Third, you may think “aw, I’m going to miss all those regular features - actually no, I don’t like that one, or the other, so the prospect of something all new is keen. It’s jack dandy! Okay, pal, whatcha got?”

Tons. I’m about a third of the way through the 2020 updates (yes, I know), and as usual there’s lots of stuff that didn’t make the cut, sat in a folder marked 2017 updates and was moved along to 2018 and 2019 without finding a home.

“So, we’re getting the third-tier stuff. The junk. Second-hand filler material.”

Yes and you’ll take it and like it. Shall we begin?

Another preview of next year’s “Clippings” feature, where we look at old newspapers. That’s it. Sounds less impressive when I put it that way, I guess. But it’s the news behind the news!

Actually, no, it’s not. It’s the news that didn’t make the history books, and the news that would later seem quite important. And ads and comics.

Okay, mostly ads and comics.

Let's take a look at some of the stories.

  Murder! For Love!




Holy crow, nine lads murdered.

The name, Gordon Stewart Northcott? Try typing it into Google.

All these years later, it autocompletes.

For good reason. The Chicken Coop Murders.

  He swung for it.


A political cartoon. Is For Necessary What?


The full quote, from his 1928 State of the Union speech:

Our Navy, according to generally accepted standards, is deficient in cruisers. We have 10 comparatively new vessels, 22 that are old, and 8 to be built. It is evident that renewals and replacements must be provided. This matter was thoroughly canvassed at the last session of the Congress and does not need restatement. The bill before the Senate with the elimination of the time clause should be passed. We have no intention of competing with any other country. This building program is for necessary replacements and to meet our needs for defense.




A cartoonist with whom I’ve been previously unfamiliar, and one of the rare women cartoonists. Ethel.

Ethel Hays. Ready to meet an interesting artist history's forgotten?

During World War I, she took on the task of teaching painting to convalescing soldiers in Army hospitals. After encountering a group of students much more interested in learning cartooning instead, she determined to learn that subject herself. She enrolled in the Landon School of Illustration and Cartooning correspondence course and, "keeping a couple of lessons ahead," was able to instruct her class. In this environment, her style of drawing pretty women met with great approval.

Hard to imagine an environment in which it wouldn't.

Hays was subsequently offered work as a staff illustrator for the Cleveland Press, a job procured for her by the designer of the correspondence course himself, Charles N. Landon.

Hays' first work at the Cleveland Press was for a trendy feature called Vic and Ethel, which consisted of flapper-themed satire and social commentary—including stories of "steeple-climbing and swimming in ice-filled lakes" and interviews with visiting celebrities — accompanied by Hays's cartoons. Her first comic strip for Newspaper Enterprise Association was derived from that feature and was called simply Ethel. Here Hays continued to chronicle the era when women "bobbed their hair and took up active sports.”

The new, exciting American Female. She smoked, too! And rolled her stockings.

Even at the beginning of her career, Hays' style was "already polished and breathtakingly lovely.” Hays also drew the noted one-panel cartoon series Flapper Fanny Says, also for NEA and starting in about 1924, with a Sunday page following in 1928. In this panel, which featured a flapper illustration and a witticism, Hays "moved away from the fancy style of Nell Brinkley, drawing sleeker women with short hair—some even wearing pants."Her panel inspired competition for a time from Faith Burrows' similarly-themed Flapper Filosofy from the rival King Features Syndicate.

But not just there. In addition to Faith and Ethel, there was John. He dashed off a series of scratchy, oddly amateurish single-panel gags.


Not ust any John. He was the Flapper King, if you could say there was such a thing. What Fitzgerald was to the literary depiction of the Flapper, Held was to the illustrated side.

I don't think he gave it a lot of thought.


Back to Hays.

Ethel Hays was married in 1925 to W.C. Simms of Kansas City, Missouri (she continued to use her maiden name in signing her art throughout her career). By 1928 she was a mother. After she had her second child, she found the daily workload becoming too heavy, and she turned Flapper Fanny Says over to promising newcomer Gladys Parker around 1931.

Gladys created Mopsy, which would run into the 50s. What started as a 20s flapper would morph into a 40s pin-up type, rendered with remarkable ease and style.

Anyway, you get the idea - an entire genre of cartoons and the women who wrote them, now mostly forgotten.

Back to Ft. Lauderdale. What's playing at the Queen?

The big football romance picture of 1928. Synop:

A gridiron rivalry between two colleges is entering its third generation, and the Norton family (father and grandfather were members of teams defeated by rival squads captained by members of the Brawn family) rears Johnny Norton, 3d, to be a star football player. The lad is underweight, however, and initially shows a talent only for drop kicking. During the big game, Johnny is substituted for another player and leads his team to victory, winning for himself the love of Gloria Havens.

One of the many movies lost forever in the Fox Vault Fire.



On the Society page, a note about a Pretty Georgia Woman:


Here's a story.


Ready? Here's how her story went a few years later.

The Elrods who live in the Ball Ground community came to town this week to prosecute one of their clan and two others for the murder of Walker Elrod who died on the night of June 2, 1941, at the home of his father, Ab Elrod.

Best known of the defendants is Eula Elrod Thompson, daughter of Ab and Alice Elrod, who in 1927 was convicted along with her husband, Cliff Thompson, and a Negro, Hugh Moss, of murdering Coleman Osborne at his country store near Chatsworth. All three were sentenced to the electric chair. The men paid the death penalty but Eula's life was spared by Governor I. G. Hardman, who commuted her sentence to life imprisonment. Governor Eugene Talmadge granted Eula a full pardon after she had served eight years on the state farm at Milledgeville. Eula remains the only woman the State of Georgia has ever sentenced to the electric chair.

Virgil Scott, originally of Murray County, but employed as a machinist in Dalton at the time of the killing, was also charged with the murder of Walker Elrod. He was tried on Wednesday and found guilty with recommendation for mercy by a jury that deliberated for three and a half hours.

Two years before:

She got a year in the pen for adultery and fornication. The man got five years for abandoning his wife and children. He got out early - and he’s the one who killed Eula’s brother.

Bonus fun:

Elrod had her sentence commuted by Gov. Lamartine Hardman. Hardman was a believer in phrenology, a pseudoscience which claimed to be able to tell an individual’s personality by the shape of his or her skull. After examining Elrod’s skull, Hardman declared she could not be a murderer. Gov. Eugene Talmadge later pardoned her after she’d spent eight years in prison.

The Twenties. So familiar, and so damned odd.


So that's just part of the paper, on one day in one week in one month in one year. And all the stuff is just what made it in the paper. In one town.

Without papers, we'd have had none of this.


Finally: here's something to carry us through the week. It's . . . it's not Lance Lawson!

It's a serialized mystery. Ran in the 40s. Not very good. I have a ton of them. Let's start:

Solution on Friday! Don't bother clicking ahead or reverse-engineering the link. You won't find it.

Or so I'd like to think.


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