The music of the years gone by.

Link to today’s strip

Except he wasn’t named for a sandwich, Pete. According to the ever reliable Wikipedia, Hoagland Howard “Hoagy” Carmichael was named after a circus troupe called the “Hoaglands” that had stayed at the Carmichael house during his mother’s pregnancy.

And we keep slipping further back in musical history, because ‘Stardust’ was recorded in 1927. I expect tomorrow we’ll be referencing ‘Maple Leaf Rag’, and by June Ruby will have pulled out a phonautograph to listen to the 1860 recording of ‘Claire De La Lune’.

At least Stardust has become something of a timeless classic, with famous covers by Sinatra, Louie Armstron, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Willie Nelson, and Fred Flinstone.

So don’t besmirch the Hoag for his weird name dear Pete. Then man wrote hundreds of songs, over decades, including ‘Georgia On My Mind,’ ‘Stardust’ and ‘Heart and Soul.’ HEART AND SOUL, Pete! The only song other than ‘Chopsticks’ passed around from one unlessoned kid to another via church basement pianos and children’s keyboards for decades immemorial. The song 70% of the population would try to plunk out if tied to a piano and told to play something under pain of death.

You will never, in your entire life, do anything that could even come close. Stardust was chosen by Library of Congress for the National Recording Registery. All you’ve done is come up with a handful of pathetic comic characters with even stupider names than Hoagland flailing their way through inane plots, barely earning you a footnote in history, Tom.

Um, I mean, Pete.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

32 responses to “The music of the years gone by.

  1. William Thompson

    “Ruby” Lith is puzzled. What’s odd about being named after a sandwich? She knows the family story of how her parents and grandparents decided to name her after a sandwich, and of their long and bitter fight before one name triumphed. Yes, “Reuben” won out.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    “Hoagie…heh heh” he said, filing away the pizzeria napkin for future reference. The fact that THIS was the best “old 78RPM records” gag he could come up with is less alarming than it is just plain sad. Why not just run six days of old record labels and be done with it? Why include the joke at all? Is it a contractual issue or something?

  3. Just want to say thank you, ComicBookHarriet, for the invaluable history lesson. You’ve done what Batiuk couldn’t be bothered to do–make history interesting. Thanks!

    • comicbookharriet

      Thanks BC! Everyone has to find their way of wringing something out of this cardboard called Funky Winkerbean, and falling down the Wiki-hole is my cope of choice.

  4. Captain Gladys Stoatpamphlet

    TB had been saving that sandwich gag for his acceptance speech at the Reuben Awards.

  5. billytheskink

    “That’s odd”, sez the guy who was best friends with “Mooch” Myers, who went to prom with “Chien” Parks, who frequented the pizza place owned and operated by “Funky Winkerbean”, and who was previously employed by “Mason Jarre”.

  6. Gerard Plourde

    Although the strip isn’t available yet for me, as a Philadelphian I have to weigh in on TomBa’s ridiculous attempt to tie Hoagy Carmichael to the name we have given to the sandwich.

    First of all, the name for the foot long sandwich became popular during World War II and is derived from the old Hog Island Naval Shipyard at the very southwestern edge of the city. Urban legend has it that Italian workers from South Philadelphia carried these sandwiches to work for lunch and so they became known as Hoagies. (The pronunciation makes sense if you’ve ever heard Tina Fey employ the Philly dialect on SNL).

    Needless to say, given the very different spelling and the known source, Hoagy’s nickname couldn’t be related to the sandwich even if his parents had access to The Flash’s treadmill.

    • justifiable

      While Carmichael was born long before the sandwich made its appearance, the dates don’t line up for that since 1) Hog Island was closed down in the early ’20’s, and 2) Al DePalma, a former jazz musician and self-styled “King of the Hoggies” was selling them out of his luncheonette in 1931. DePalma claimed in 1928 he and a friend were walking down Broad Street when they passed two men eating the packed sandwiches. DePalma commented, “You have to be a hog to eat one of those.” When he couldn’t make a living as a musician during the Depression, he opened up a store on South 21st Street. His nearby competitor was selling long-roll sandwiches, so DePalma remembered his earlier comment and called his offerings “hoggies” to set them apart.

      The earliest mention of “hoggie” in print ads is from this time – it’s only after the war that the more Philly-phonetic “HOagie” made an appearance. After the late 1950’s you didn’t see it spelled any other way.

      • Gerard Plourde

        Another fun fact – in the Italian section of Norristown PA, just west of Philadelphia, the sandwiches were called “Zeps” (short for Zeppelins) as recently as the1960s.

        • justifiable

          They actually date back to before the war, but a zep isn’t the same thing as a hoagie. A zep has only one variety of meat, traditionally cotto salami, provolone, thick-cut onion and tomato, oil, oregano and always hold the lettuce. The only variation that was allowed was tuna fish, on Fridays.

          It’s still debated as to whether they were named for deli owner Jimmy “The Zep” Pascuzzi, who sold them as a cheap one-meat staple back in the Depression-era ’30’s, or for the zeppelin-looking “Conshy roll” from the Conshohocken Bakery that’s required by Norristown Sandwich Law, which is wider and longer than the traditional hoagie roll. Which would actually make it a Bread Zeppelin (sorry).

  7. justifiable

    Todd is so full of shit. Pete’s at a complete loss as to what a “record” is, but he somehow knows Philly’s locale-specific term for a long-roll sandwich? Even though it’s called a “sub” in Ahia?

    Since he failed in NYC, where it’s called a “hero,” does he really think all his Atomik Komix Kreations are named for extra-long sandwiches?

  8. Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

    And why, precisely, is a little twerp from western Ohio referring to the sandwich as a “hoagy” (sic) as opposed to a “sub”? Most Buckeyes, one would presume, still call them subs. It’s not as if there’s a Wawa in Westview.
    And you would think Mopey would know Mr. Carmichael from his memorable 1961 guest appearance on “The Flintstones,” where he essentially played himself and performed the unforgettable “Yabba Dabba Doo” song. Apparently, however, he has absolutely no pop culture knowledge outside of comic books.

    FunFact #1: Among the hundreds of Hoagy’s compositions was a 1945 WWII ditty entitled “I’m a Cranky Old Yank In a Clanky Old Tank in the Streets of Yokohama With My Honolulu Mama Doin’ Those Neat-O Beat-O Flat on My Seat-O Hirohito Blues,” which may still hold the record for longest song title.

    FunFact #2: Carmichael’s 1927 recording of “Stardust” was on the Gennett label, whose studios were in Richmond, Indiana, right across the Ohio border in Wayne County.

  9. Epicus Doomus

    Kudos to all of you. The depth of knowledge on display here tonight regarding obscure topics featured in an even more obscure comic strip boggles the mind. Well done!

    • justifiable

      You’d love that Howard Robboy, who co-wrote two scholarly works, The Submarine Sandwich: Lexical Variations in a Cultural Context and The Socio-Cultural Context of an Italian-American Dietary Item is officially known as a “hoagie expert” as he’s the only person to so testify in court.

      In 1973, a Tucson specialty sandwich man sued a 7-Eleven for infringement when they introducing a pre-wrapped version of his “hoagie.” Robboy testified that the word originated in the 1930’s, therefore it could not be copyrighted. The Tucson sandwich man lost the case.

      Robboy’s research for those papers included poring over phone books and newspaper ads from the 1920’s on, just looking for references to various sandwiches to track their origins – he even found a “hoogie” mentioned in 1941, just to show you what a wildcard the spelling was.

  10. Y. Knott

    Man, I could sure go for a Carmichael sandwich right about now.

  11. Paul Jones

    I always thought that they named the sandwich after him. Y’know, like they were his favourite or something.

    Anyhow, Pete has not much of a leg to stand on given that he’s surrounded by people with punny names.

  12. Charles

    So Batiuk spends part of this week expanding on the character of Ruby, and like always, it’s just lame and predictable. So a 99 year-old woman likes music almost as old as she is! Strap in, we’re in for a wild week.

    Anyway, one of the basic setups for humor is going against expectations, and yet Batiuk never does any of it. His characters are exactly who they appear to be, with their boring hobbies and their boring tastes and their boring lifestyles.

    How much more amusing would this week be if Pete saw Ruby’s record player, walked over to it saying something like “oh hey, so you’ve got some Glenn Miller or maybe Benny Goodman?” and then he looks at her box of LPs to discover that she brought Megadeth. And then when he expresses surprise that she’s a Megadeth fan, she explains that she likes them, but she’s really more of a Public Enemy fan, although she’s been getting into the Revolting Cocks lately.

    It’s literally the least he can do, but because Batiuk doesn’t think about it and because his characters are absolutely the most boring, rote people anyone could imagine, he misses this avenue for humor.

    • justifiable

      You’re kidding, right? Because the notion that Battocks would find anything redeeming in music that was written after he graduated from Kent State is laughable.

      The enduring premise of the strip is that everything that Todd grew up with is perfect, pure and deserving of eternal worship, and everything that came after these goddamn millenials hit the scene with their hi-techie cell phone thingies is crap, because it instantly made all that wonderfulness obsolete. This is the man who dedicated an entire Sunday strip to holding a funeral for a fucking pay phone, fer chrissakes.

      Even when someone actually sells out and uses that nasty technology, it’s flat, stale and unprofitable, and that’s because they deserve to be punished for betraying the Golden and Silver Age of Comics.
      Thou Shalt Have No Other Ages After These. And don’t you ever forget it.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        So true. For Batty, everything was better in the good old days.

        He liked it better when you had to write a letter to the editor to criticize his strip. It kept complaints to a minimum.

        • Count of Tower Grove

          I will admit one thing that was truly better from the good old days was watching the VU meters peak on a tape deck.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            I liked that too. And old radios….that’s how I got into electronics and then into electrical engineering.

            Loved the old hi-if gear back then, but today I’m all digital….except for my ears.

      • justifiable

        Thanks to whichever one you that linked that payphone suicide Sunday strip to my rant – much appreciated! The incredible Amberson-like petulance Todd displayed over “America” daring to prefer progress in the form of cell phone is still gobsmacking.

      • Charles

        Well, that’s the whole point, that he can’t actually conceive of a “good” character having different tastes than his own. And because of that, he cuts himself off completely from one element of humor, and because of his inability to see the possible humor in this, he misses the possibility even when his own shortcomings trigger it. He would never see anything weird or absurd about a high school student in 2020 being a Connie Francis fan.

        So he has this rigid idea of what’s “right”, and it’s so rigid and he’s so lacking in self-reflection that he doesn’t even avail himself to the humor that that notion allows.

        • justifiable

          Honestly, it really is more than a question of taste, or his characters not liking anything he doesn’t like, because I really doubt Todd is a huge devotee of Top Hat party recordings. Todd sees huge monolithic cultural conspiracies out there actively gunning for everything he holds dear – Pop Art is evil because it debases komix, and anyone who likes it is wrong.

  13. Hitorque

    Doesn’t Pete have some fuckin’ WORK or something useful he should be doing? Chester literally made him and his worthless grabass buddy the *highest* paid clowns in the comics industry just to lure them out of Hollywood, he bought a nine-story warehouse and completely renovated it just for this little 4-person operation and Pete’s done maybe 45 minutes of actual work in two years…

    • William Thompson

      He’s Mopey Pete. There is absolutely nothing useful he can do. He doesn’t even make a good bad example (we’ve got Darrin for that).

  14. Banana Jr. 6000

    For the second day in a row, Batiuk’s subject matter inadvertently reminds us of a much better comic strip:

    Tomorrow, can he somehow remind us of Deathtongue?

  15. Count of Those Grove

    Lauds to all for their insightful and concise musicalogical and regional cuisine history. It’s been a much needed respite from the grinder of this bland strip

  16. Bruce Michele Lee

    Love these posts.
    Not to sound Les-level annoying, but it’s “Clair de Lune”.