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Theatrical Posters, with Dastard

Posted by Laurie Frost on May 27, 2009

A little levity today, courtesy of yet another collection from the
Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, this one a collection of some 2100 performing arts posters. Most date from 1879 to 1910, so they are in the public domain.

I like the tails on these devils, but best of all is the caption:  ”Toby creates a little consternation in fairyland.”


Cross-dressers never go out of style:





Squaw Man? Looks like The Village People in an earlier incarnation.

Remember  Penelope Pitstop on the Wacky Races cartoon and her outwitting of Dick Dastardly [he had that dog that chortled each time his master screeched: “Muttley! Get me out of here!”]?

Never occurred to me dastard might be a word I’d see again one day. In fact, I didn’t even think it was a “real” word, but it is one, and sounds like a useful one as well. A dastard is a cowardly scoundrel, found in all times and places:


 You go girl!

I’m having a few little problems with the next two:


Doesn’t this desert look just a little, well, wet? And the people surprisingly dry, not to mention sure-footed? How would the hem of one pant leg alone end up tattered? And what’s with that lady’s feet? Why bother bloodying up the raft when a simple shove would get rid of the unconscious or sleeping lady — but she must be faking it after all because otherwise, wouldn’t that arm fall down? Of course, her hand could be stuck in her hair, I suppose.

Back Out West there’s some excitement in town:


I think the enormous grizzly is somewhat sweet on the dare-devil cowboy. Nice to see the cowboys and indians frequenting the same bar, too. But the  one I’d like to know more about is the other bear in the picture. Where are your arms, or front legs, pedobear? Why the ring around your nose? And what is your relationship with Cowboy Orange Shirt?

Finally, Happy Families Are All Alike, especially when out for a stroll with phallic objects, hammer and tongs, and mismatched shoes:



All poster images courtesy of the Library of Congress. Catalog numbers, in order of pictures:  [devil]  [widow]  [aunt]  [cracker jacks]  [squaw man]

LC-USZC4-5655  [Siberia]  [desert]

LC-USZC2-3673 [bear] [poor relation]

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