Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Hiram Hefty is the fat man in this syndicated comic strip from 1909 drawn by "Weston."  Who Weston was I have no idea.  Also, I have no idea on when this strip started nor on how long it ran.  

The catch phrase "Nobody loves a fat man" had some popularity during that decade and later.  There is a postcard dated 1909 that showed a fat dog with that phrase printed on it, and Arthur Collins recorded a song "No One Love a Fat Man" in 1909.  The song -- or at least a song by that title has been recorded over the years, with a 1917 version by Ernie Mayne described as a music hall song.  In 1910, a cartoon depicting president Howard Taft wearing a cowboy outfit and sitting by a chuck wagon wit the caption, "Oh hell!  nobody loves a fat man!"  Also in 1909, a film short was released with the title Nobody Loves a Fat Man all details about this have evidently been lost to history.  The title was later used for a Fatty Arbuckle short.

What we have is 52 cartoons from 1909 about Hiram Hefty, a man scorned by one and all because of his size.  Fat shaming has been with us for quite a while now, folks.

The pattern of the strip reminds me of Winsor McCay's "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend," a classic newspaper strip begun in 1904.  (Oddly enough, Edison's 1906 silent short based on McCay's strip has at times been mistakenly dated 1903.  Just for jollies you can view the film here and examples of McCay's strip can be viewed here  You can compare them with "Nobody Loves a Fat Man" yourself.)

From more than a century ago, here are the misadventures of Hiram Hefty.

1 comment:

  1. I thought the original, popular, phrase was "Everyone loves a fat man" and it was inverted for this comic strip.