- Barney Google
"Barney Google and Snuffy Smith", originally "Barney Google", is a long-running American
comic stripcreated in 1919 by Billy De Beck. The strip inspired the popular 1923 song, "Barney Google (With the Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes)," with lyrics by Billy Rose.
When the strip began, its title character, a little fellow with big eyes, was a sportsman involved in
horse racingand boxing. In 1922, the strip took a huge turn in popularity with the addition of a race horse named Spark Plug, a nag who seldom raced and was typically seen almost totally covered by his horse blanket.
In 1934, an even greater change took place when Barney and the horse visited the
North Carolinamountains and met a moonshiner named Snuffy Smith. The strip increasingly focused on stereotypical humor about the hillbillies of southern Appalachia, with Snuffy as the main character. Locals in the strip are extremely suspicious of any outsiders, referred to as "flatlanders," or, even worse, "revenooers" (federal revenue agents). Snuffy was so popular that his name was added to the strip's title in the late 1930s, and Barney Google himself virtually disappeared after the 1950s.
The strip first appeared in the sports section of the "Chicago Herald and Examiner" as "Take Barney Google, F'rinstance". By October 1919, the strip was syndicated by King Features and was published in newspapers across the country.
Fred Lasswell, DeBeck's lifelong assistant, took over "Barney Google" in 1942. Lasswell drew the strip until his death on March 3, 2001. John Rose, who inked the strip for Lasswell, draws the comic today.
In 1963 Lasswell won both the
National Cartoonist SocietyHumor Comic Strip Award and Reuben Award.
"Barney Google" appears in 21 countries and 11 languages. It is credited with introducing several slang phrases, including "sweet mama," "horsefeathers," "heebie-jeebies" and "hotsy-totsy" (meaning just right, perfect). In 1995, the strip was one of 20 included in the
Comic Strip Classicsseries of commemorative US postage stamps.
From Spark Plug to the engine
Peanuts" artist Charles M. Schulzwas known to his friends as Sparky, a nickname given to him at birth by his uncle as a diminutive of "Barney Google"'s Spark Plug. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/books/review/McGrath-t.html?pagewanted=1&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/C/Cartoons%20and%20Cartoonists McGrath, Charles. "Good Grief!" "The New York Times Sunday Book Review", October 14, 2007.] ]
Although it is often stated that the comic strip was not the inspiration for the name of the
Edward Kasnerwas challenged in the late 1930s to devise a name for a very large number, he asked his nine-year-old nephew, Milton Sirotta, to suggest a word. The youth was obviously a reader of the comics page, as he told Kasner to use "Google" at a time when the comic strip was at a peak of popularity. Kasner agreed and in 1940 he introduced the words " googol" and "googolplex" in his book, "Mathematics and the Imagination". Milton Sirotta died in 1980. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=Ad8hAx-6m9oC&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22Mathematics+and+the+Imagination%22&lr=&num=100&as_brr=0&sig=w7kRxBQdlkopY5SjJK4XUnZe4_k#PPA20,M1 Kasner, Edward and Newman, James. "Mathematics and the Imagination", Simon & Schuster, 1940.] ] [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=j3Yf9VcwdYMC&pg=PA254&dq=kasner+%22barney+google%22&lr=&num=100&as_brr=0&sig=4iL8QTMZyZXG3cgBffVO551txI8#PPA254,M1 "Perfect Figures: The Lore of Numbers and How We Learned to Count", Macmillan, 2007.] ] This is the term that Larry Page and Sergey Brin had in mind when they named their company in 1998, but they misspelled "googol" as "google," bringing it full circle right back to Billy DeBeck. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=3DiHy31K30oC&pg=PA325&dq=kasner+%22barney+google%22&lr=&num=100&as_brr=0&sig=3Hu4mMALTVqA9igLd5rcoAwRhVo "Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase". Sterling, 2000.] ] ["Chambers Dictionary of Etymology"]
Beginning, with "Horsefeathers" (1928), Barney Hellum portrayed Barney Google in a series of live-action short films, featuring Philip Davis as Spark Plug. There were at least 11 films in the series, ending with "Slide, Sparky, Slide" (1929).
There was an animated version of Barney Google in the 1930s, produced by the Charles Mintz Screen Gems Studio. They made only four Google cartoons, two of which were released in 1935 and two in 1936.
Two live-action feature films with actor Bud Duncan portraying Snuffy Smith were made in 1942: "Private Snuffy Smith" and "Hillbilly Blitzkrieg". Cliff Nazarro appeared as Barney in "Hillbilly Blitzkrieg". [ [http://www.toonopedia.com/google.htm Don Mark's Toonopedia] ]
In 1963-64 Paramount created 50 six-minute episodes of "Snuffy Smith and Barney Google" based on the "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith" comic strip.
In 2006, BCI Eclipse released 20 episodes of the 1963 cartoon as part of Animated All Stars 2DVD BCI 46952. [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0830452/ Snuffy Smith and Barney Google] , Internet Movie Database, comment by Fun Show of Shorts, 19 November 2006, retrieved
* The Master
* Snuffy Runs the Gamut
* Pie in the Sky
* Barney's Blarney
* Barney Deals the Cars
* The Country Club Smiths
* Ain't it the Tooth
* Jughaid the Magician
* Glove thy Neighbor
* Jughaid's Jumpin' Frog
* Getting Snuffy's Goat
* Rip Van Snuffy
* Just Plain Kinfolk
* Keeping up with the Joneses
* Settin' and a-Frettin'
* Jughaid for President
* Little Red Jughaid
* My Kingdom for a Horse
* The Tourist Trap
* It's Better to Give (Christmas Show)
* [http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/bgoogle/about.htm "Barney Google and Snuffy Smith"] at
King Features Syndicate
* [http://www.toonopedia.com/google.htm Barney Google entry at Toonopedia]
* [http://www.reuben.org/ncs/awards.asp NCS Awards]
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0830452/ Snuffy Smith and Barney Google at IMDB]
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