Cartoons with Phonograph Connections

Phonotoons: Dennis the Menace

Phonotoons: Peanuts

Talking Toy Humor





Frank and Ernest

Artist: Bob Thaves, 2002

"Mary had a little lamb..." were the first words reported spoken by Edison into his tinfoil phonograph on December 6, 1877 at Menlo Park, NJ.




Punch, April 6, 1878






In 1871, Mary Potts of Ottumwa, Iowa, revolutionized the industry by patenting an iron with a detachable handle. This newspaper woodcut is from 1878.





The Yellow Kid and His New Phonograph

Artist: R. F. Outcault, 1896

The Yellow Kid has been called America's first popular newspaper-cartoon character. In this early cartoon, the Yellow Kid's creator, R. F. Outcault, created a multiple panel cartoon featuring the "New Phonograph."




Topeka Mail and Breeze, ca. 1897

Hello! Santy!! - Cartoon by Albert Reid

Courtesy of the Kansas Historical Society: "In this humorous cartoon, Reid depicts the cultural icon Santa Claus as he is about to fill a stocking with gifts. Santa is shocked and alarmed when the newfangled phonograph blurts out a recording of the child's Christmas wish list."




Happy Hooligan

Artist: Frederick Burr Opper, 1900



In 1900, Frederick Burr Opper created the always-in-trouble Happy Hooligan, a comic strip character who was known for his tiny tin-can hat. This cartoon (above) is panel number 1 from the June 21, 1903, a comic strip entitled, "Happy Hooligan Takes His Little Nephews to the Photographer," published by William Randolph Hearst newspapers.





Pore Lil Mose - The New York Herald

Artist: R. F. Outcault, 1901





Harper's Weekly, 1908


In 1908, for the first time in history, Americans could listen to the recorded voices of the presidential candidates, Republican William Howard Taft and Democrat William Jennings Bryan.

In this cartoon, Bryan reacts in horror to his own statements for "government ownership," "initiative and referendum," and "any old ism"; his criticisms of previous Democratic nominees, President Grover Cleveland and Alton Parker; and his contradictory comments for and against imperialism.

Bryan bellows to his vice-presidential running mate, John Kern, who is turning the gramophone, to stop the infernal racket. Between them the dog of "hard times" wails, while on the shelf (upper-left) a bust of Andrew Jackson, on a base inscribed "Thomas Jefferson," casts a distressed glance at the party's current standard-bearer.

(Source: cartoons)





Edison Phonograph Monthly, August 1908

William Jennings Bryan, in his Presidential bid of 1908 recorded a series of cylinder phonograph records for the Edison Phonograph Company. In this cartoon, Taft is seen complaining that he has missed out on this innovative campaigning. The Edison Phonograph Monthly in September 1908, however, announced the release of 12 Edison Records by William H. Taft made at Virginia Hot Springs, after Mr. Taft delivered his speech of acceptance at Cincinnati. The EPM called this an announcement of great importance, noting that "no matter how the November election may result we shall have Records by the next President. This makes new history. It indicates progress."


Making the Taft Records

The morning papers were filled with accounts of Taft's 'canned speeches.' Everybody ... was discussing them as well as the report that Mr. Bryan said the opposition had stolen his campaign thunder. They all seemed greatly interested in the part that the Edison is playing in the Presidential campaign.

...both Messrs. Bryan and Taft gave the Edison first choice for introducing their personal views into American homes. Was ever such a compliment paid a talking machine?

As reported by The Edison Phonograph Monthly, September 1908





Suggested "Ad" for a Graphophone Company

Artist: Life Magazine, 1910

Why go the Metropolitan Opera House when you can sleep so much more comfortably at home?




St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 20, 1913

This 1913 cartoon is one of six panels from a comic strip of predictions by Robert Donald, managing editor of the London Chronicle, about the future of newspapers. It was reprinted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1913 and posted in a blog by Stephen Roth in 2018.




That Hawaiian Record

Life Magazine, 1917




Artist: Carl Anderson, 1935

This tradecard shows Henry spinning upside down on a turntable. Henry was a popular cartoon character first appearing in the comic strip by the same name in 1932.




Dagwood, 2001



Artist: Dean Young & Denis Lebrun, 7-1-2001




Blondie, 2012

©King Features Syndicate, 6-25-2012






Calvin and Hobbes, September 2014

Artist: Bill Watterson






The Listening Room

Artist: Stereo Review, August 1980



Test Record - Second Opinion

Artist: Stereo Review, May 1987







25 Watt Hi-Fi

Artist: Stereo Review






Slightly Used Tape Recorders

Artist: Unknown







Hi-Fi Performers

Artist: Stereo Review






Divine Sounds

Artist: Stereo Review






The Purists

Artist: Unknown










The Buckets - LPs vs. CDs

Artist: Greg Cravens, October 7, 2007







The Attraction of Vinyl

Artist: Gregory







Old-School Music Streaming

Artist: Bizarro, 2018







What's a Record?

Artist: Bill Amend, 1998







Mother Goose and Grimm

Artist: Mike Peters, 2018






Artist: Wayno & Piraro, 2018