1. This one needs a geezer tag–that’s a VERY old joke (not with a dog, but a kid).

  2. Yeah, this joke had gray hair when Gabe Kaplan gave us the Epstein’s Mother version as a running gag on Welcome Back, Kotter.

  3. I don’t think it’s the first. He called 911 and for pizza (off camera) a few times and Ma Goose understands him. I think he’s always been capable of being heard. We just assume he shouldn’t be because that’s more consistent with the way we think comic strip logic should be.

    I’m not sure we need geezer tags for old jokes. The joke itself is the geezer; it’s not that you need to be a geezer to catch the reference.

    I had a friend in college whose mother was an elementary teacher and this actually happened to her. (“Is this Timmy?” “No, this is my mother”). But I guess a story of a relative of a friend is distant enough to just be another reiteration of the joke (at least to anyone I tell it to on the Internet).

  4. As I recall, the notes from the TV show were usually signed “Epstein’s mother”. It’s a subtle difference in that while it’s an unusual way to sign a note, it is still sound logic for the mother to refer to herself this way. On the other hand, a dog’s owner referring to herself as “My owner” makes no sense at all.

  5. The phone looks like a piece of wood. I think that’s why he looks so shocked in panel two–this was just a rehearsal and a demon decided to have some fun.

  6. If I remember correctly, in the early years of the strip, Grimmy communicated via thought balloons only, but after some years he switched to speaking sufficiently to be able to have conversations with Mother Goose.

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