|A youthful Rube Goldberg at age 54 - Look Magazine, August 1938|
A still from Rube's brief but memorable appearance in
the film Artists and Models (1937).
Click here to view Rube's scene in the movie.
In the movie, Rube is introduced by fellow cartoonist
Russel Patterson as "the original surrealist"
RUBE GOLDBERG ARTICLES & COMICS ON THIS BLOG
INVENTION CARTOONS ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rube Goldberg Machine For Testing Liquor In 1930s Prohibition America
A Rube Goldberg Machine for Voting - Election Day Special
The Snoremonica: They Laughed When I Went To Bed (an overview of the "crazy invention" theme of screwball comics)
HUMAN INTEREST DAILY NEWSPAPER CARTOONS------------------------------------
Rube Goldberg on Barbers, Radio, and Insurance Salesmen (1930 dailies)
COMIC STRIP & PANEL SERIES----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Foolish Questions: Say Are You Looking at A Computer?
The Silly Sunday Suicides of Rube Goldberg's Early Boob McNutt Comics (May 25, 1919)
Boob McNutt Oct 3, 1926 (found in Screwball Sunday Supplement Vol. 1 No.K9)
Rube Goldberg's Amazing Boob McNutt's Ark: The Man-Eating Biffsniffle (1931)
Rube Goldberg's Lala Palooza (1937 dailies)
Rube Goldberg's The Squawk Club (1945)
ADVERTISING CARTOONS ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pepsi and Pete (found in Screwball Sunday Supplement Vol.1 No. 4)
|Rube Goldberg is most famous for his chain reaction invention cartoons - satires of both engineering and society|
|The Inventions of Professor Lucifer G. Butts, A.K. by Rube Goldberg|
Collier's Weekly, August 3, 1929
Reuben Lucius Goldberg (July 4, 1883 – December 7, 1970) was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. All American screwball comics stem from Rube Goldberg. Starting in 1907, Goldberg wrote and drew wacky, observational, and exaggerated screwball comics for various newspapers, creating the template that was refined by others.
It could be said that the primary theme of Rube's comics is insanity as seen in everyday life.
Goldberg was a powerhouse of originality and production. Largely remembered for his "invention-cartoons," Goldberg produced numerous other individual cartoon masterpieces that are now almost totally forgotten. He created an astonishing 60 original cartoon series from 1905-38, including Foolish Questions, I'm the Guy, Mike and Ike, Telephonies, Benny Sent Me, Bobo Baxter, Boob McNutt, and Lala Palooza.
Many of Goldberg's cartoons remain entertaining as sheer screwball farces and purely original cartoons. A great many of his cartoons hold both a fascination and a cautionary attitude towards America's obsession with modern technology. Because we are still immersed in an ever-accelerating technological world, Rube's technology-themed cartoons continue to resonate with modern readers to the extent that his name has now become synonymous with "a wacky, overly-complex invention."
Nonetheless, Rube's legacy extends far beyond his technology cartoons. Rube Goldberg produced a vast body of work that is an American treasure, and yet very few of his cartoons have been reprinted since their original publication in daily newspapers 80 to 100 years ago. Rube Goldberg's legacy of cartoons is ripe for rediscovery, and hopefully this blog will help promote that.
More on Rube Goldberg's life and work to come. This page is a work in progress! Check back sometime and you'll find more here.
In the meanwhile, more information on Rube can be found at his Wikipedia article.
|Some nice quotes and insights on Rube's career|
St. Petersburg Times, Jan 31, 1945
|Rube Goldberg's Pepsi and Pete advertising comic strip,|
discussed in the newspaper article above, was filled with good
gags and humorous inventions.
Rube Goldberg Videos(List supplied by Jennifer George, Rube's granddaughter - thanks!)
"Something for Nothing" -- Rube draws a perpetual motion machine -- 1940
"Artists and Models" -- Rube drawing
OK-GO -- "This Too Shall Pass" -- Rube Goldberg machine music video. 35 million views, and counting...
Famous RG Honda commercial
Pee Wee Herman's Rube Goldberg morning
The Truffle Shuffle sequence from The Goonies featuring a Rube Goldberg machine
Joseph Herscher and his amazing solution to turning the page of a newspaper -- NYT article and video
A Rube Goldberg Gallery of Rare Comics and Art
|Foolish Questions - Goldberg 's first hit cartoon series.|
This 1906 postcard reprint is an early piece of comics merchandising.
|1915: Mike and Ike - They Look Alike (these characters later appeared in Boob McNutt). |
Were these the inspiration for Herge's Thompson and Thomson?
|1920s - original art presented to fellow cartoonist Jimmy Hatlo|
|1920s - original art. The first strip is from the Sad, Sad Story series.|
|Above, the first three Bobo Baxter strips from 1927 |
This great screwball daily ran for only a year.
|Rube makes screwball comedy from a trivial crime in a graphically impressive cartoon - 1925|
|1925 - Rube's daily strips of the 20s and early 30s covered a dizzying array of topics|
|Rube's cartoons were so popular they were the subject of a few sheet music folios|
Click here to hear Billy Murray sing Rube's 1912 hit, I'm The Guy
|Boob McNutt (Feb 22, 1925)|
Rube's screwball Sunday comic, which ran from 1915-1934
|March 14, 1926. The topper featured the charming|
Bertha, the Siberian Cheesehound, also a character in Boob McNutt
(courtesy Carl Linich)
|A rare poster from the 1919 Boob McNutt stage play. Recently sold at auction for $850|
|Rube Goldberg's last Sunday comic was a mixture of strips.|
|Not much is known about this LP cover - looks to be from the late 1950s early 1960s.|
A RUBE GOLDBERG PHOTO GALLERY
|Rube's 1904 yearbook photo - UCLA College of Mining|
|Young Rube Goldberg circa 1910-15. Rube used this|
drawing table all his life. Now in the possession of
Jennifer George, his grand-daughter
and Director of Rube Goldberg, Inc.
|Cartoonist Billy DeBeck and Rube Goldberg|
|From the rotogravure section of the June 10, 1923 issue of the San Francisco Bulletin.|
Left to right: Fontaine Fox, H.T. Webster, Charlie Voight, Bob Brinkerhoff (misspelled in the photo's caption), Billy De Beck, Harry Hershfield (also misspelled in the caption), Clare Briggs, and Rube Goldberg
|1941: Rube Goldberg in his office working on an editorial cartoon|
|Rube Goldberg demonstrating one of his invention cartoons,|
circa late 1960s.
|Press photo of Rube Goldberg drawing his last cartoon. This|
appears to be the same drawing tables as in the earlier photo, above.
|After a long and successful career as a humorist-cartoonist,|
followed by an equally successful career as political cartoonist,
Rube took up a 3rd career as a sculptor in the last years of his
life. Here, he sculpts a bust of Russian leader Khrushchev.
A Gallery of Books by Rube Goldberg
|Rube's first cartoon collection|
Foolish Questions. Boston: Small Maynard and Co., 1909
|Two inscriptions by Rube in a 1909 edition of Foolish Questions. The second inscription, from 1962, is to|
cartoonist and comics historian Jim Ivey, who wrote one of the definitive articles on Goldberg's comics (published in Nemo The Classic Comics Library #24, 1987).
|1909 - RG's first illustrated book|
|1912 - A collection of Rube's newspaper cartoons|
Chasing The Blues. New York: Doubleday, Page, and Co., 1912
|Mike and Ike (They Look Alike). Comic Monthly #2. New York: Embee Distributing Company, 1921. (24 pages)|
|Foolish Questions. Comic Monthly #10. New York: Embee Distributing Company, 1921. (24 pages)|
|Life's Little Jokes. New Work: MS Publishing Company, 1924.|
|Is There A Doctor In The House? .New York: The John Day Company, 1929.|
An original illustrated book based on two incidents in Rube's life in which he was forced to deal with what he experienced as the overbearing pomposity of the American doctor. The books chronicles his wife Irma's appendix operation, which he also made into a 1928 Cosmopolitan magazine article,
"I, Rube Goldberg, Hereby Plead For Ether For Husbands, Too."
You can view a free digital scan of this entire book here
|The Rube Goldberg Plan for the Post-War World. New York: Franklin Watts, 1944.|
|Music In The Zoo. New York: Mills Music Co., 1946|
|(co-authored with Sam Boal) Rube Goldberg's Guide to Europe. New York: Vanguard Press, 1954.|
|How to Remove the Cotton From A Bottle of Aspirin and Other Problems Solved. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1959|
|Rube Goldberg vs. the Machine Age. New York: Hastings House Publishers, 1968.|
A hodge-podge collection of cartoons and memoir fragments.
The closest Rube came to a published autobiography.
Rube Goldberg: Writer
|Above: from "'Inside Dope' on Popular Cartoonists" Literary Digest, December 6, 1924|
Rube Goldberg was as much a prose writer as he was a cartoonist and visual artist. As shown above, in the 1920s and 30s, he made bid for a career as a professional writer. As American newspaper comics were changing in this time, and Rube's screwball cartoons became out of vogue, it must have seemed a good idea to Rube to develop a second career as a writer.
Over the course of his life, Rube Goldberg wrote several books, dozens of articles, and even a novel and some short stories. As you might expect, much of his work was humorous. However, he also wrote some serious fiction, such as the excellent 1932 short story. "The Old Man Takes His Boy Back Home," reprinted in Peter Marzio's biography. Here's a partial list of his published non-fiction articles and stories. (From The Bancroft Library in Berkeley, California -- which holds the Rube Goldberg Archive. Also citations taken from Rube Goldberg His Life and Work by Pete Marzio, Harper and Row 1973. Lastly, a few of the citations from the collection and research of Paul C. Tumey)
Published Articles and Satire Written by Rube Goldberg
"My Answer to the Question: How Did You Put It Over?" American Magazine, March 1922
"The Growing Refinement of Price Fighting" Vanity Fair, September 1923
"The Ideal Home Life of Famous Film Stars" Screenland March, 1924
"My New Passion for Modernist Art" Vanity Fair, July 1924
"Left-handed Golf Courses: Our Greatest Need" The American Golfer, July 1924
"The Bobbed Hair Problem" Life, August 28, 1924
"What I Have Found Out About Money" Good Housekeeping, October 1924
"Bobbed Hair" Collier's, February 7, 1925
"I'd Like to Know Why --" Vanity Fair, May 1925
"It's the Little Things that Matter" Collier's, November 3, 1928 (reprinted below)
"It Happened to a Rube" Saturday Evening Post, November 10, 1928
"Comics, New Style and Old" The Saturday Evening Post, December 15, 1928
"I, Rube Goldberg, Hereby Plead for Ether for Husbands, Too" Cosmopolitan, December 1928
"How's the Market?" Cosmopolitan, Sept. 1929
"How's the Market?" Cosmopolitan, Sept. 1929
"Rube Goldberg's Lessons in Golf" The American Golfer, September 1929
"How's the market?" Cosmopolitan, September, 1929
"Is College Spirit the Bunk?" College Humor, December 1929
"Nutty Inventions Paid Me a Million" Modern Mechanics, December 1930
"Some Call It Golf but I Call It Midget Insanity" Cosmopolitan, January 1931
"New Golf Ball Worse Than the Depression" Life, June 19, 1931
"What Do You Do with Your Spare Time?" Cosmopolitan, August 1931
"The Gentle Week-end Guest" College Humor, August 1931
"The Greatest Show on Earth ... Every 4 Years" Cosmopolitan, July 1932
"Vacation Is a Necessary Evil" Cosmopolitan, August 1932
"What Do I Know After Forty?" The Saturday Evening Post, December 3, 1932
"Thankless Children" Saturday Evening Post, March 25, 1933
"Nobody Listens" Saturday Evening Post, November 4, 1933
"I Am Always on Time" Liberty, March 23, 1935
"One O'Clock Sunday Dinner" Esquire, September 1935
"Speed the Parting Guest" Esquire, January 1936
"We Need More Left-handed Courses" Golf, May 1939
"Do We Play Golf for Pleasure" Golf, Winter Issue, 1939-40
"Pretty Soft" Redbook, October 1941
"Cartoons" Life, November 27, 1944
"Inventions We Need in 1949" Cosmopolitan, January 1949 (2 -page cartoon spread)
Unknown title (humorous article about buying a toy for a child) Look, August 30, 1949
"On the Privilege of Being Over Sixty" The Rotarian, October 1950
"I Always Make It A Rule" The Rotarian, September 1952
"What Is Slang" Service, October 1952
"The Key to Home" Perfect Home Magazine, May 1955
Introduction to Stephen Becker, Comic Art in America (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1959)
"Don't Brush Off All the Old Rules" Seventeen, September 1966
"Rube Goldberg Speaks Out on Design Simplicity" EEE 1969
"Rube Goldberg Speaks Out on Design Simplicity" EEE 1969
"Sixty-Six Years," Do It The Hard Way: Rube Goldberg and Modern Times (Washington D.C. : The National Museum pf History and Technology, Smithsonian Institution, 1970)
|Above: Rube's writing was published in a 1936 issue of Esquire which|
also featured writing by Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound
"Bums" McNaught's Monthly, Feb. 1926
"Freaks" Vanity Fair, Mar. 1926
"The Outcast" Cosmopolitan, Apr. 1928
"The Old Man Takes His Boy Home" Cosmopolitan, Jan. 1932 (reprinted in Rube Goldberg His Life and Work by Peter Marzio, Harper and Row, 1973)
"You Gotta Be Phoney" Redbook, Mar. 1934
"Read 'Em and Weep" American Magazine, Aug. 1935 (reprinted in Hogan's Alley 2)
"Horning In" Redbook, Sept. 1935
"Buffet Supper: Try and Get It" Good Housekeeping, Sept. 1935
|This extremely entertaining article is a sarcastic account of Rube's experience as a Hollywood writer in 1929-30. The film that emerged from this experience was Soup to Nuts (1930), with a script by Goldberg,|
and featuring the Three Stooges in their first film.
Here are links to major collections of Rube Goldberg cartoons and interesting articles about him and his work
The Official Rube Goldberg website, owned and maintained by members of Rube's family. Includes products you can buy and large gallery of cartoons! Interesting news about various Rube-related projects, including the Rube Goldberg Machine Contests they sponsor.
Rube's son, the Broadway and film producer George W. George, gave the college 549 Rube originals. George was an alumni of the College (class of 1941). The above link should take you to an online catalog of the originals where you can view low res scans. Unfortunately, many of the scans are too small to read and the spotty notes show a basic ignorance of Rube's career. Nonetheless, some of the single panels, such as the Foolish Questions above, and the one-page illustrations can be read. Hopefully someday the College will do a better job of displaying these pieces in their emuseum.
In 1964, Rube gave his vast collection of 10,000 pieces of original art, articles, writings, letters, and memorabilia to his alma mater, the University of California. The collection is housed at the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, CA. This link takes you to a listing of the holdings, which is fascinating reading in itself.
I enjoyed reading this 2010 blog posting filled with appreciation and insights about Rube's humor.
Note - all cartoons, images, and photos on this page are copyright Rube Goldberg, Inc. and used with permission.