Monday, September 19, 2011

Will Cuppy

On this day we commemorate the passing of Hoosier humorist Will Cuppy who died Septermber 19, 1949. Cuppy grew up in and around Auburn, Indiana, and left Hoosierdom as soon as he could, which as it turned out was at the age of 18 when he moved one state over to attend the University of Chicago. It was there that, for all practical purposes, Cuppy became a professional student. After many years in Chicago he moved his act to New York.

Cuppy was a noted writer who parodied everything from nature to historical figures, and the human condition in general. He was meticulous to a fault in his research. The volume The Rise and Fall of Practically Everybody was published poshtumously in 1950. This book fell into my hands and it struck my fancy. I knew just enough history to appreciate the lampooning those old guys and gals got at the hands of this literary genius. I was so taken with it, in fact, that I read some of the "G-rated" excerpts to my sixth grade students, as it paralleled some of the ancient history we were exploring. (History was taught in schools? You've got to be kidding! No, I am not.) Well, I take no responsibility for the warping of any minds with whom I interacted.

History: The Egyptians of the First Dynasty were already civilized in most respects. They had hieroglyphics, metal weapons for killing foreigners, numerous government officials, death, and taxes.

Nature: A few Cobras in your home will soon clear it of Rats and Mice. Of course, you will still have the Cobras.

William Jacob "Will" Cuppy August 23, 1884 – September 19, 1949 RIP


Vee said...

I'm sure I would enjoy his writings. I'm reading "Admit One: My Life in Film" right now. Though great humor, James does not always produce general audience pages.

JennyMac said...

RIP Will.

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

Cute! I should look for it. Not familiar with him.

vanilla said...

Vee, I admit I am totally unfamiliar with Emmett James's work, either in film or in print. Should I fill in some gaps in my knowledge?

JennyMac, Cuppy was indeed one of the clever ones.

Shark, I think you might enjoy some of the man's writings. I do recommend Decline and Fall...

Vee said...

You might enjoy the self-deprecating humor of Mr. James.