Posted by: Brad Nixon | November 7, 2015

Maggie and Jiggs at the Seashore

This is a quick sidebar to our stay in Seaside, Oregon (see previous post for an introduction). Sometimes one encounters something while traveling that’s worth taking a moment to explore. Today’s post is a quick example.

I mentioned that one of the delights of Seaside is Funland, with its arcade and bumper cars.

Bumper cars Brad Nixon 0273 (640x471)

Look closely in the far corners of the background and you’ll see two caricature figures. What do they represent? Who are they?

IMG_0274 Brad Nixon

IMG_0275 Brad Nixon

They’re the kind of illustration one might see at any number of places around the world, calling attention to a couple of rules, including, on the right, beside the female figure, a disclaimer of liability for accidents on the part of the Funland management.

It’s possible that you don’t recognize them, depending on your age or if you’re from outside the U.S. For a long time, though, they were two of the most recognizable celebrities in at least the U.S. They are Jiggs and Maggie, principal characters in a comic strip created by an influential artist named George McManus in 1913, “Bringing Up Father.” King Features Syndicate ran the strip in its publications for an astounding 87 years, until May, 2000. Maggie and Jiggs were multimedia celebrities, and were featured in stage plays, multiple feature and two-reel films and radio, as well as the long-running comic strip. Since Funland’s been around since 1931, it’s not surprising to see the two of them there, since they were big stars in the day.

In McManus’ story, Jiggs is an immigrant Irish hod-carrier who wins the Irish Sweepstakes and becomes a millionaire. Maggie is, to quote the description in Wikipedia, “his formidable, social-climbing (and rolling-pin wielding) harridan of a wife.” Jiggs sees no reason that he should change his lifestyle, which centered around hanging out with his rather low-brow buddies at a tavern (run by the memorable Dinty Moore), while Maggie is determined to have them adopt a more stylish and glamorous lifestyle, as you can see from the disheveled formal wear Jiggs is sporting.

It was fun to see them in Seaside, and to think that they’ve found a place to retire, although one suspects that Jiggs is still angling to duck out for a quick one with the boys.

It always pays to look around you, wherever you go. There are lots of stories under western skies.

This post is part of a series about traveling in Oregon. CLICK HERE for the first. Use the navigation below to see earlier or later posts.

© Brad Nixon 2015, 2017



  1. I never knew Jiggs was an Irish hod carrier! Good to see that there are still bumper cars being enjoyed! Love this series. Thanks.


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