Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CIGARETTE SADIE by Chester Gould

CIGARETTE SADIE was a companion or "topper" strip (used to fill out the tab pages format) to the Sunday DICK TRACY comic strips in the early 1930s.

CIGARETTE SADIE was a humor strip about a girl who sold cigarettes in what I will assume is a speakeasy. The Volstead Act wasn't repealed until 1933, so I believe the assumption is correct.

So this Sadie is some wise crackin' blonde that encounters all sorts in this illegal establishment of loose and dangerous men as she peddles those cancer sticks. Not the sort of thing that a family newspaper would print, but there it was, waaay back in the 1930s.

I was thinking of Mark Tatulli, who gave a presentation at the last Reubens convention, reading off letter after letter from readers complaining about LIO. Heck, SADIE would give those letter writers something serious to complain about!

I can't think that the gags were considered fresh even over 60 years ago. I imagine Sadie's voice sounding a lot like Mae Questel's.

I love the stamps. "Here Kids, on today's stamp we see Cigarette Sadie, our own night life star -- she's yours," is so full of unintended sexiness! Yipe! And ROWR!

Above: the bad news: a stingy Scotsman gag; the good news: a brand new 1932 Dick Tracy stamp!

I guess today the sales pitch would be that this strip is aimed at women who (a) read newspapers and (b) push cigarettes in illegal gin joints.

A lot of Sunday features had these companion strips. And I think we have learned why so many of them are forgotten.

Gangsters, murder -- it's all fodder for a smart line by Sadie. She was taken for a ride -- er -- dropped out of the Sunday DICK TRACY strip after a couple of years.

These scans are from the book DICK TRACY THE THIRTIES: TOMMYGUNS AND HARD TIMES copyright 1990 The Wellfleet Press.


Tyler Garn said...

Those strips are fantastic. I'm always amazed at how tame a lot of things have become nowadays.

Prof. Grewbeard said...

thanx for this, it's so darling. Chester Gould's work has haunted me since childhood. Flattop frozen to death on the moon was the topper!