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A dumb Dora is 1920s American slang for a foolish woman.[1][2]

The epithet was popularized by the vaudeville act of George Burns and his wife, Gracie Allen,[3] but was in use earlier.[4] In 1924 it was turned into a comic strip drawn by Chic Young (of later Blondie fame) and produced by King Features Syndicate.[3] Although Young's Dora was uneducated, she was also capable of persuading people around her to let her get her own way. This frequently resulted in the strip ending with a character saying of Dora "She ain't so dumb!" [5] [6] After Young left the strip to create Blondie, Paul Fung took over Dumb Dora. Fung also added a topper strip to Dumb Dora, When Mother was a Girl. [6] Although this strip was discontinued in 1935, the TV game show Match Game occasionally alluded to the strip by asking those watching in the studio to shout in unison, "How dumb is she?" (borrowing from a routine from The Tonight Show).[3] Flappers of the 1920s were also sometimes likened to dumb Doras.[7][8]

Chic Young's comic strip Dumb Dora (March 7, 1929)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Slang of the 1920". local.aaca.org. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2017. 
  2. ^ Beard, Robert. "A Historical Dictionary of American Slang - alphaDictionary.com". www.alphadictionary.com. Retrieved 23 June 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Dumb Dora at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on March 6, 2015.
  4. ^ The Washington Herald, January 30, 1922, p. 6
  5. ^ Stephen D. Becker, Comic Art In America. New York : Simon and Schuster, 1959, (p.182).
  6. ^ a b Maurice Horn, Women in the Comics. New York :Chelsea House Publishers, 1977. ISBN 087754056X (pp. 46, 56, 125)
  7. ^ "1920s Slang". Retrieved 23 June 2017. 
  8. ^ "Flapper Blazing New Trail of Freedom", The Washington Times, April 16, 1922, p. 4E