"Gob Humor" here the other day. It was a...

WE MENTIONED

April 21, 1993

WE MENTIONED "Gob Humor" here the other day. It was a feature on this editorial page for many years. It was, as Hal Williams explains in his history of the Sunpapers, a "must filler," used whenever there was space left over after the editorials, letters, etc.

Let Hal Williams explain: "In 1924 the USS Tennessee invited newspaper editors on an inspection trip, and the jokes in the ship's newspaper caught the eye of The Evening Sun's representative. The first Gob Humor appeared on Nov. 6, 1924. . . . Jokes [were] drawn from 181 fleet and station newspapers.

"Readers thought some of the jokes were too raw for a family newspaper, and individuals and groups, such as the Holy Name Society, would complain. When Newton Aiken became editor in 1943, he wanted to drop it but was told it was the best read item on the page. He never understood some of the jokes selected by whoever was Gob Humor editor that month, and he would try them out on a subordinate. Invariably the answer was, 'It's okay, Newt. That'll get by. It's a tame one.'

"But now and then, after the first edition was rolling, some printer would alert Aiken that he had a dirty joke on his editorial page, and it would be yanked for an innocuous one.

"In-office collectors of Sunpaper misprints, miscalculations and blunders prize numerous Gob Humors that lasted only one edition and some that never got beyond the page proof.

"Finally Gob Humor was dropped when the Navy replaced fleet and station newspapers with a service-wide journal lacking salty jokes."

"Gob Humor" was compiled in a book by Leon L. Lerner in 1953, and you can still find a copy now and then at used bookstores.

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