And he's doing fine without my support, so it's all good.
But I have to respect him for giving the nod to one of my favorite comic strips when he named his band. Smokey Stover was an amazingly witty newspaper comic from 1935 to 1973, drawn and hilariously written by Bill Holman. You may have noticed that the death or retirement of many cartoonists hardly makes a difference. There is still a Dennis The Menace every day, even though his creator Hank Ketcham is long gone (and was estranged from his real-life son Dennis until his death) and Hi and Lois are still in the paper, although their creators Dik Browne (deceased) and Mort Walker (retired) are no longer part of it.
By the way, Lois Flagston is Beetle Bailey's sister, a fact that I work into almost every conversation I ever have, according to Peggy.
But the point is that Smokey Stover was so utterly original and unique that no one even attempted to keep it going when Holman retired in 1973. But it's still a part of our culture, here 42 years later.
Smokey Stover's real name was Smokestack Stover, and he was a firefighter, serving as what the strip called a "Foo Fighter" in what they called the "Foo Department." It follows, then, that he rolled around in a two-wheeled "Foomobile" as he responded to blazes with his Chief, Cash U. Nutt.
|Smokey and Chief Nutt|
On walls in offices and houses and the firehouse, readers saw signs reading "NOTARY SOJAC," and the meaning of this was never explained, making it a mystery that rivals the ongoing popularity of Ronald Reagan as something I can't figure. Another phrase seen often: "1506 Nix Nix."
|Polly wants a cracker! Get it?|
Here's a classic Smokey from 1938:
We took a French word "dada" (meaning "hobbyhorse") for the name of an artistic and culture movement early in the 20th Century that turned conventional art upside down by using nonsense, travesty, and incongruity. There was no finer example of Dadaism in American culture than Smokey Stover, and now you know what Dave Grohl and I have in common, besides each of us having heads full of long lustrous locks (I used to.)