1977 Called and wants to know what’s the ponchline


Let’s put aside the borderline-Geezer aspect of this, since there was a movie remake of CHIPS a few years ago that fifteen people actually saw…

Is the Old Mother Hubbard character here supposed to be Judy? Even though it was Punch who did the hitting? And why does she look like Dudley Do-Right in drag?

Actually, there’s nothing about this that doesn’t confuse me.


  1. I agree; I thought she was a guy (or even, the guy) at first. I also think that Ponch should have something like a nightstick showing.

    Bill, your premise is way off; Judy would come back swatting with just as big a stick as Punch started with, sometimes with Punch’s stick itself, and I’m talking about the middle of the last century, not some modern gender equalizing version.

  2. “The middle of the last century”? Would that be 1850 or 1950? 1850 seems a much more appropriate date for this duo.

  3. >Is the Old Mother Hubbard character here supposed to be Judy?


    >Even though it was Punch who did the hitting?

    Yes. The cartoonist isn’t up on his references.

    > And why does she look like Dudley Do-Right in drag?

    Because the cartoonist is a bad artist drawing from memory.


    I’m not really sure why you ask these rhetorical question.

    We need a “Look, it’s just a bad cartoon, okay?” tag me-thinks.

  4. A different take:
    Maybe if we look at it like Ponch is just the real Ponch, who acts like Ponch, and Judy is the real Judy who has fought back against *Punch* (not Ponch) so often with a stick, that she has a hair trigger on her response to the slightest action that makes her (I don’t know what the best word is, so I’ll just say) uncomfortable.
    It’s more “when Ponch met Judy”, but needing the “Ponch and Judy” wordplay to be understandable.

    I mentioned the mid-20th century because my entire experience was from television. In my 1960s French class we read stories or scripts about Guignol, the similarly violent French puppet show. “Punch and Judy” was the British version that kids talked about and I’m thinking I saw it on PBS 13 out of NY/NJ. Before they got Sesame Street, they may have needed some fancy children’s programming. (Give *me* Captain Kangaroo!).

  5. The phrase “Ponch and Judy” came to him. If you start with that, this is a reasonable comic based on it. Me, I’d have used some other recognizable Judy, maybe Ponch and Judi (Dench).

  6. Actually, I think it is all acceptable within the realm of cartoonist license.

    True she looks more like Punch with his crescent moon face then the slightly less grotesque Judy but she doesn’t look too unlike Judy. And with the very clear caption, makes it clear she’s supposed to be Judy.

    And although Punch always started it, she participated and it was her world. It’s enough that “Punch and Judy” bashed people with sticks, so she bashes people with sticks.

  7. Actually, the TV series title was stylized as “CHiPS”.

    Now, speaking of PUNCH, I have to collections of cartoons published in the British satirical periodical of that name, both published in the ’40s or so. There was some pretty good artwork in that magazine.

  8. For some reason I can no longer guess at reconstructing, in the early 1960s when my family had moved into a new house outside Miami, at some point a bunch of reading material appeared on a wire bookshelf. Either taken out of storage, or a gift from our visiting New York relatives. Along with books including H G Wells’s “An Outline of History” (which at some point I tried to read, thinking I would learn history), there were runs of very old issues of some obscure-to-me magazines. These included Esquire (which in pre-Playboy days had a racy aspect) and the British Punch.

    I didn’t understand anything about, or in, Punch. Especially the cartoons, which were usually unfathomable , and never funny. Sort of the way some people nowadays characterize cartoons in The New Yorker (which I think are always amusing and sometimes great).

    At some point I heard things like “It’s hard for Americans to understand British humour” and “English humour is so dry!” and figured this fit with my slack jawed incomprehension at Punch. (All the better to in a few years be totally startled by Peter Sellers and Monty Python.).

  9. Actually, the TV series title was stylized as “CHiPS”.

    Oh, well, if we want to be technically correct (the best kind of correct) then it was actually “CHiPs”. The ‘s’ is a plural.

  10. Right and Ponch’s patch on his sleeve should just say “CHP”. I don’t think they used “CHiPs” on official gear.

  11. I looked it up and their shoulder patches say “California Highway Patrol” with the logo. But that’s too much for a comic strip.

  12. Note for Bill, I posted a second message after the first with just and image link. I got the moderation message, but it still hasn’t shown up. It’s not terribly important, but if it didn’t show up in the moderation queue then that might be a concern.

  13. Brian in STL, thanks for the correction. I did miss that darned lower-case “s”.

    Now relating to the *two* (to correct my typo in my response above) PUNCH collections I have, I didn’t state that I found every cartoon funny, but that I did appreciate the artwork. Some have lovely cross-hatching and shading. Looking through the volumes again, I do still find several quite amusing.

    The volumes I have are “PUNCH And The War” from 1941 and “The Best Cartoons From PUNCH” from 1952.

    Artwork by Frank Reynolds:


    One of my all-time favorites, Russell Brockbank:


    Note that in the 1840s PUNCH magazine popularized the usage of “cartoon” meaning a humorous illustration, and that the magazine itself was named after the puppet.

  14. Thanks for those PUNCH cartoon artwork selections, I only breezed very lightly right now, but did see some amusing bits. My reaction reported above, that I didn’t get anything at all, was tru enough but was from when I was maybe twelve.

  15. Most famous “Judy” folks in my mind-corner of the world are probably in order:

    1; Judy of “Punch and Judy”.
    2. Judy Henske, “the Queen of the Beatniks,” a cult favorite songstress of mine
    3. Judy Carne, of LAUGH IN etc.
    4. Judy of JUDGE JUDY (which I’ve never actually seen)

  16. Sigh…. I guess I’m in permanent moderation. Again. The entire site had to crash and rebuilt before I could get out of it last time.

  17. Sally was their baby sister. Judy was their teenage sister, but nobody talks about her anymore. Big scandal.

  18. ‘In Catholic editions of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s series, the “Sally,” “Dick,” and “Jane” characters were renamed “Judy,” “John,” and “Jean” to reflect the names of Catholic saints.’

    There’s a St. Judy?

  19. For some reason we had what must have been the generic copy reading books about Alice, Jerry and his dog Jip.
    (While passing through a NYC subway station with my dad there was a bookstore that was selling them when there were still stores in same and my dad bought one of the books when I pointed it out to him – also gone with Hurricane Sandy.)

  20. Sally was their baby sister. Judy was their teenage sister, but nobody talks about her anymore. Big scandal.

    Sally was actually Judy’s daughter?

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