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The New York Yankees, Rin Tin Tin, Scotland Yard and Sweet Home Chicago – True Comics #65

June 22, 2013


Here we have another Golden Age potpourri delight. Once, not so long ago, we looked at an issue of True Comics, which had as one of its features a bio of old-timey cowboy comedian Will Rogers. While this edition lacks any such wattage for its “truth,” it does have a brief, superficial bio of Larry MacPhail, a baseball executive of yore (the Steinbrenner long before Steinbrenner), and also a metric ton of other material. Like all books back then, you got a lot of bang for your dime.

Let’s look inside.  

The comic opens with a short feature on the evolution of the automobile and the automobile industry, still a relatively new thing in 1947 America. It’s your typical car porn, except for this last panel, with its eerily (in)accurate prediction of what cars and cities will look like IN THE FUTURE:


Hey, people were probably queuing up around the block to get their hands on “the exciting story of paper and pulp” in the next issue. They couldn’t even throw in an exclamation mark to help pretend there was a little excitement to that. Why bother?, I guess.

Mr. MacPhail’s story is as superficial as it comes, touching on none of the more salacious details that make him such an interesting feature in the history of America’s Pastime. Yes, night games were one of several incredibly important contributions he made to the game of baseball:


And yes, he constructed teams that won on the field, including the last club he worked for, the DiMaggio-led New York Yankees:


Yet MacPhail was a hard drinker and a general nutcase with a bottle in his hand, and he was forced out of his executive-ownership role with the Yankees just after the victorious close of the ’47 World Series. Not that you’d expect dirt like that to get thrown into a dime mag, but its absence is noticeable in this case. It’s like Pete Rose without mentioning the gambling.

If you’re ever caught between two broad-shouldered Chicagoans who are arguing about where Chicago got its name, and you want to get your nose broken, interject with the all-too-daintily correct info that it was named after the wild onion flower:


The cover promises the winner of a Rin Tin Tin contest, and the insides deliver. Long before McKayla Maroney was unimpressed at “winning” a silver medal in the vault, Jeanne (Jenny?) Craig was only pleased in a Mona Lisa sort of way about winning a Rin Tin Tin puppy:


Also: Is it Christmas?

There’s a World War II feature about American’s trapped behind Nazi lines in the Balkans, which is noteworthy mainly for the magnificent faces the artist churns out. Just look at the mugs in these four panels:


That guy with the pipe at the bottom looks like a human bottle brush.

Finally, there’s also the main cover feature, a stunningly dull history of Scotland Yard. It’s only worth looking at for the stunning Mad Hatter-like giant haberdashery on display:


These Golden Age variety books kept coming at you, like insistent salesmen trying to interest you in another bit of merchandise after you’ve passed on some of their other wares. Relentless, but in a good, understandable sort of way. Where else could you get such a barrage of cars, baseball, beards, dogs and headwear?

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