Dumb Dora is a comic strip published from 1924 to 1936 distributed by King Features Syndicate.[1] The term "dumb Dora" was a 1920s[2] American slang term for a foolish woman;[3][4] the strip helped popularize the term.

Dumb Dora
1925 sample of the comic strip
Author(s)Chic Young (1924–1930)
Paul Fung (1930–1932)
Bil Dwyer (1932-1936)
Current status/scheduleConcluded daily strip
Launch dateJune 25, 1924
End dateJanuary 1936
Syndicate(s)Newspaper Feature Service (King Features Syndicate)

Publication history edit

Dumb Dora was initially drawn by Chic Young (of later Blondie fame).[5] 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] Bil Dwyer took over the strip in 1932, until Dumb Dora was discontinued in January 1936.

  • Chic Young: June 25, 1924 – April 27, 1930
  • Paul Fung: April 30, 1930 – Sept 3, 1932
  • Bil Dwyer: Sept 5, 1932 – January 1936[1]

Story and characters edit

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!" [7][6]

In popular culture edit

According to slang glossaries of the early 1920s, the term "dumb Dora" referred to any young woman who was scatter-brained or stupid.[8] Flappers of the 1920s were also sometimes likened to dumb Doras.[9][10]

The epithet "Dumb Dora" became identified with the vaudeville act of George Burns and his wife, Gracie Allen,[5] as did a similar slang expression for a female who was not very bright, but in a charming way: "dizzy dame."[11] In the vaudeville era, as well as during the period from the Golden Age of Radio through the first several decades of television, female comedians were often expected to play a "Dumb Dora" or "Dizzy Dame" role,[12] even if in real life, they were very intelligent. A good example of this dichotomy was Lucille Ball.[13]

Although Dumb Dora comic strip was discontinued in 1935, the TV game show Match Game occasionally alludes to the strip, asking those watching in the studio to shout in unison, "How dumb is she?" (borrowing from a routine from The Tonight Show).[5]

References edit

  1. ^ a b Holtz, Allan (2012). American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. p. 137. ISBN 9780472117567.
  2. ^ The Washington Herald (January 30, 1922), p. 6.
  3. ^ "Slang of the 1920". local.aaca.org. Archived from the original on 18 June 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  4. ^ Beard, Robert. "A Historical Dictionary of American Slang - alphaDictionary.com". www.alphadictionary.com. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Dumb Dora at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on March 6, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Maurice Horn, Women in the Comics. New York :Chelsea House Publishers, 1977. ISBN 087754056X (pp. 46, 56, 125)
  7. ^ Stephen D. Becker, Comic Art In America. New York : Simon and Schuster, 1959, (p.182).
  8. ^ "Flappers Make Bums Blush With Latest English." Washington (DC) Herald, March 13, 1922, pp. 1, 3.
  9. ^ "1920s Slang". Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  10. ^ "Flapper Blazing New Trail of Freedom", The Washington Times, April 16, 1922, p. 4E
  11. ^ "Grace Allen 'Dizzy Dame'--Even George Burns Says So." Seattle Daily Times, July 15, 1931, p. 15.
  12. ^ "Humor: Case Study--Comedy, United States." Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women. Routledge, 2004, p. 1086.
  13. ^ Horowitz, Susan. Queens of Comedy: Lucille Ball, Phyllis Diller, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, and the New Generation of Funny Women. Gordon and Breach, 2012, pp. 111-112.