The judge outlines a plan to the force.


Original medium: Newspaper comics
Appearing in: The Hearst papers
First Appeared: approx. 1910
Creator: Thomas A. "Tad" Dorgan
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Cartoonist Thomas Aloysius "Tad" Dorgan was the creator of Johnny Wise, For Better or Worse (no relation) and other early …

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… comics, but his greatest fame came from his position as America's premiere sports cartoonist. Because of that, his daily cartoons about anthropomorphic dogs (comics historian Coulton Waugh called them "dog-headed men") usually ran in the sports section. It originally shared space with Dorgan's Indoor Sports, sometimes one and sometimes the other dominating.

Dorgan's dog-men feature varied its name from time to time. Sources cite Silk Hat Harry's Divorce Suit, Old Judge Rumhauser and Judge Rummy's Court, which, together, seem to cover most of its tenure. It ran in the Hearst papers, starting somewhere in the neighborhood of 1910.

Being situated on the sports page of most papers, the dogs were generally read by hair-chested he-men, so material wasn't limited to what was acceptable by gentler folks such as women and children. That's why Mr. Jack, also a raunchy funny animal, had been consigned there during the previous decade. Nothing in it would shock anyone today, but Harry, Rummy and their pals liked to party hard, with lots of booze and loose women. Prohibition affected the alcohol content of their activities only by making the stuff a little harder to come by.

When the gang got into animation, like so many Hearst properties of the time (e.g., Jerry on the Job, Maud the Mule), Judge Rummy was the star. Starting with Judge Rummy's Day Off, released August 19, 1918, between two and three dozen silent cartoons were made before the series ended, in 1921.

On the newspaper page, Dorgan continued his cartooning as health permitted. He suffered a heart attack in 1920, and a couple of years later went into semi-retirement, i.e., cut his output, claiming to have become lazy in his old age (he was in his late 40s). He died at 52, in 1929


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Text ©2007 Donald D. Markstein. Art ©: Judge Rummy is in the public domain. This image has been modified. Modified version © Donald D. Markstein.