What happened to Kilroy.Alfred Newman,and Joe Palooka ?
Who were these people and what did they do?
darrell is correct about Kilroy & Alfred Newman, BUT not Joe Palooka who was an old comics favorite of mine.
Joe Palooka, the heavyweight champion in one of the country’s most popular comic strips, began blazing a trail for the many thousands of Americans who would soon don uniforms and fight on World War II battlefields. Other comic strip heroes would enlist and fight in the war, but Joe Palooka did it first.
Palooka, the lovable, laudable, squeaky-clean comic strip boxer created by Hammond ‘Ham’ Fisher, made his newspaper debut on April 19, 1930, a little less than six months after the stock market crash of 1929. In that first series, readers saw Joe become heavyweight boxing champion by knocking out the dastardly Jack McSwatt with a powerful right and a spirited ‘WHOOPEEEEE!’
The Palooka comic strip scored big with the American public, even as he underwent a stunning personal transformation, changing from ugly, dark-haired, bug-eyed, and quite stupid to handsome, blond, clear-eyed, and merely inarticulate. By the late 1930s, the strip appeared in more than 500 newspapers and had an estimated 50 million followers.
Even as Palooka enjoyed great popularity in the United States, much of the world was teetering on the brink of war. Japan attacked China in 1937, the next step in a decade of aggressive moves Japan had made in Asia. In Europe, Adolf Hitler became more belligerent, ‘annexing’ Austria and the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia in 1938, then seizing the rest of the Czech homeland. In September 1939 the Nazis invaded Poland, and World War II began.
Many Americans still had clear and unpleasant memories of World War I, and the country remained vigorously isolationist, with public opinion opposed to the nation’s entering another foreign war. Like it or not, though, the conflict was going to involve the United States, and the country needed to prepare for it. Joe Palooka, all-American bastion of honesty, humility, courage, and devotion to duty, came along at just the right time to do his nation proud.
Ham Fisher came up with the idea for Joe Palooka in 1921 when he encountered a big, burly, and inarticulate boxer outside a poolroom in the struggling young illustrator’s hometown of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. As Fisher told it years later in the pages of Collier’s magazine, ‘Here, made to order, was the comicstrip character I had been looking for-a big, good-natured prize fighter who didn’t like to fight; a defender of little guys; a gentle knight-I ran back to the office, drew a set of strips and rushed to the newspaper syndicates.’
Editors and newspaper syndicators resisted the charms of the amiable but dim-witted pugilist that Fisher first considered naming Joe Dumbelletski or Joe the Dumbbell. For the next decade Fisher fine-tuned his strip and shopped it around, and he eventually settled on the name Palooka for his boxer. The word is of uncertain origin. In 1945’s The American Language: Supplement 1, H.L. Mencken credited baseball player and writer Jack Conway with coining it to mean a ‘thirdrater.’ The Oxford English Dictionary traces the word’s origin to 1925 and a book by H.C. Witwer called Roughly Speaking. In any case, the word was certainly used verbally before it ever saw print. Once Fisher finally sold his Palooka strip it took off quickly. Within 25 days he placed it in 30 big-city newspapers. Readers found Joe’s ‘common man’ persona appealing. He was unpretentious and had a strong work ethic. He possessed integrity along with smalltown simplicity and morals. And he fought off scores of crooked, mean, cursing (#!$#!) contenders with names like Ruffy Balonki, Red Rodney, and the aforementioned Jack McSwatt.
JOE PALOOKA (1934) – Full Movie – Captioned
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