Before the days of electrical refrigeration, people had small, thickly insulated cabinets in their home that stored slowly melting blocks of ice. This is how our grandparents and their parents kept food cool and fresh in America. My Southern mother still called her refrigerator an "ice-box," as do I -- to the amusement of some. Back in the day, you had to replace the ice as it melted -- it must have been quite a strenuous and messy task. Milt Gross, in today's comic, uses what was then a common chore as the basis for one of his terrific 12-panel operas of escalation, as Pop Feitelbaum tries in vain to get "de ice in de ice-box."
I think the comics of Milt Gross are superb in all periods of his career, but my favorite is the 1920s Sunday pages, which I think offer some of his wildest and funniest drawings. Today's 1926 comic is a great example:
|The Iceman Cometh in Milt Gross' Oct 24, 1926 Nize Baby|
(from the collection of Paul Tumey)
Despite this pattern, visually the climax of the page is the wonderful 4th panel of Pop's circular skittering fall with the block of ice. Screwball comics are unpredictable in their movements, which is part of the delight of reading them.
We've seen in previous postings that Milt Gross liked to sometimes include his own version of a Rube Goldberg machine. The last panel once again shows Milt Gross' debt to to Rube Goldberg as he makes reference to Goldberg's popular comic panel, Foolish Questions.
Tomorrow, we'll take a look at Rube Goldberg's Foolish Questions panel. Join me then! And be sure to stop by every Monday for a new Milt Gross comic!
Keeping my ice peeled,