Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2019 January 04 • Friday

Like clockwork, every time 2019 comes around again I find myself thinking about 1922.

And so my hand fell upon an issue of a magazine called Judge from September 9th of that year.

What was this? A humor magazine, apparently, and combined with something called Leslie's Weekly, which I do not have.

In September of 1922 the United States was just a few months away from the third anniversary of Prohibition. As our current prohibition on soft drugs such as marijuana has been eroding recently, it's worth noting that the arguments in favor of legalizing marijuana were being made almost a hundred years ago in response to the war on alcohol.

So true! And so obvious! And yet they would have to wait until 1933…

Later in the same issue they publish this amusing cartoon on the subject of prohibition:

One of the highlights of this issue of Judge is the column by theatre critic, George Jean Nathan, who would be amazing at CinemaSins. I guess he was doing TheatreSins.

In his review of the first of three shows he notes a groaner of an oversight which artifically stretches out the story and, more importantly, prevents bringing down "the eleven o'clock curtain an hour ahead of schedule".

The play is called The Woman Who Laughed and the male lead, who Nathan asserts "gives a creditable performance", is future movie star William Powell, who had his first role in a film that same year of 1922.

Mr. Nathan has also attended various kinds of multimedia experiment, it seems. Every generation thinks it's the first to try this kind of thing. "For the last six or seven years they have been trying to devise some means of combining the motion pictures and popular dramatic entertainment—as if the latter, generally speaking, weren't bad enough already."

That says it all, generally speaking.

In 1922 an automobile was perhaps the contemporary equivalent of a killer app. People were buying them. They were a "must have". And if you had a house and a car you also needed a house for your car. We call these garages. At the time, almost a hundred years ago, this seemed fairly silly and extravagant, particularly as garages were decked out with any number of amenities and tools to create a more suitable environment for caring for your car.

As garages became more and more like houses, somebody at Judge decided to cut out the middle man, so to speak, and just store the car in the actual house. With a few modifications, it's quite sensible.

But perhaps the most humorous thing is this bit from the advertisement on the back cover, for a book of etiquette. I don't think this is meant to be funny but this drawing of the fellow in evening dress with an olive on his fork might keep me smiling for the rest of my life.