Newspaper Archive of
The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
June 5, 2012     The Adams County Record
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June 5, 2012

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Page 10 Wednesday, September 5, 2012 The Adams County Record The History Corner ,, me worry? By Dale Hsk -- 253-4582 Years ago, I thought I noticed something odd in one of the old pictures in the museum collection. Thanks to the magic of the Internet I was easily able toverify that I wasfft imagining things. What I thought I had noticed was a picture of The image from the 1908 calendar advertising Antikamnia tablets "For pain and fever." The tablets were manufactured by the Antikamnia Chemical Company of St. Louis, Missouri. Alfred E. Neuman on the wall in a 1908 photo- graph. I was familiar with Alfred through the covers of MAD Magazine, so this aroused my curiosity. By simply typing "Alfred E. Neuman" into my search engine, I immedi- ately found a Wikipedia page with the complete history of Alfred's image. Not only that, but I found the exact calendar that is shown in the 1908 Council photograph! Publications in the. 1800s featured illustrated carica- tures that were based on pseudo-scientific "physiog- nomy" of the time. This line of "science" evaluated people's character or per- sonality from their outer appearance, especially the face. Illustrators of the day depicted the typi- cal Irish immigrant as a bomb-throwing, ape-like creature. From Wikipedia: "Bigoted and humor- ous, these drawings soon supplanted the previ- oas pictoral stereotype of tie .Irish bumpkin, and siare similarities with the Neuman face. Prominent illustrators such as Joseph Keppler and Frederick Opper developed a care- free Irish couple who lived in squalor, yet were oblivi- ous and content. These less threatening carica- tures were soon adopted by advertisers to promote a variety of products" Versions of the Alfred E. Neuman image seem to have first been used as medical pictures of peo- ple with deficiency dis- eases or hormone imbal- ances; the faces of patients with Williams syndrome have been compared to Neuman's. The picture on the wall. in the museum photo is from a calendar issued by the Antikamnia Chemical Company. According to Wikipedia: ... the company made its appearance around i890 in Saint Louis, Missouri. The trademark was registered that year, but the medi- cine was never patented. It was described as a coal- tar derivative, but it was half or more acetanilid, a somewhat dangerous and habit-forming compound [that actually did reduce pain and fever to some extent]. The company also offered it mixed with codeine, which is addic- tive, quinine, and several other items either sing!y or in combination. A typical recommended dosage for Antikamnia with Codeine for treating 'Worry (ner- vousness: 'the Blues')' was one or two every three hours:' My guess is that this was the origin of the "What, me worry?" slogan, used at least as early as the 1930s. The Antikamnia com- pany was still doing well in 1904, but the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Bill in 1906 virtually, col- lapsed the company. Evidently it was still hang- ing on in 1"908 when the -calendar in the photo was issued. Wikipedia: "The face had drifted through American pictography for. decades before being claimed and named by Mad edi- tor Harvey Kurtzman. Kurtzman first spotted the image on a postcard pinned to the office bul- letin board of BaUantine Books editor Bernard Shir-Cliff. 'It was a face that didn't have a care in the world, except mis- chief;, recalled Kurtzman:' Neuman was first featured on the cover of the maga- zine (then called "The Mad Reader") in 1954. The name "Alfred E, Neuman" seems to have become permanently attached to the image in 1956. Wikipedia: "The name Alfred E. Neuman was picked up from Alfred Newman, the music arranger from back in the 1940s and 1950s. Actually, we borrowed the name indirectly through The Henry Morgan Show. He was using the name Alfred Newman for an innocu- ous character that yoffd forget in five minutes. So we started using the name Alfred Neuman. The read- ers insisted on putting the name and the face togeth- er, and they would call the 'What, Me Worry?' face Alfred NeumanY An advertising postcard from 1930-1945 with a similar boy and slogatt Mad Magazine's Neuman. \ / An enlarged image t of the part of the museum photo showing the calendar with Alfred E. Neuman on it. "Prison inmates are treated to cable "IV, hot meals and a college education, while on the outside some people can only afford these things through a life of crime!" -- Alfred E. Neuman This 1908 photo of Council telephone operator Grace Taylor clowning around with sheriff Bill Winkler (she is wearing his pistol) shows an almost unnoticeable image of Alfred E. Neuman on the wall on the left. O Meat and beverat}es will be provided Brint} a dessert or sidedish to share. Adults and kids are Athletes are 1.00 Children $ and under are FREE BRIN@ YOUR LAWN CHALK and our appetite!