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5 Years in Leavenworth for Selling Boob McNutt (Ira O'Neal, Black Man convicted) History of Eight-Pagers # 25




Ira O'Neal was a "colored" man, according to the Chicago Tribune in 1932, a former policeman...and he goes down in history as being the only person sentenced to 5 years in Leavenworth prison for selling Tijuana Bibles. He called them "carts (short for Cartoon books) and he was actually convicted not for selling them, but for mailing a letter OFFERING to sell them. 5 years.

Ouch. I wonder if the fact that he was using the pseudonym "Balzac" had anything to do with it? (True...)

The Chicago Tribune report ("Ex-Policeman Gets Five Years on Smut Charge" February 21, 1932) not only mentions Ira's race, but reports Ira's wife Viola was given a year for helping.

Actually, Mr. O'Neal was offering more than 8-pagers, but as this entry is for the Tijuana Bible series here on Vintage sleaze, that shall be our concern. (Among the other items being offered were "The most beautiful Photos in the world of Girls and Men together, posed in Action, and boy are they a Wow at $5.00 per dozen" and "Single Photos post card size of girls alone, $3.00 per dozen, Beautiful." but as these were 1932 post cards, I don't think they would cause too much concern today.

But back to the comics!


Quoting from Ira's original letter, once a pitch, now evidence:
"Last but not least, `Carts' Short for Cartoon Books. I have Tillie and Mac, Jiggs, Boob, Moon, Dumb Dora and others. These Books are put up and longer and contain more than usual. Also larger and they are not the cheap variety. Price $1.00 each; $10.00 per dozen." (sic)

Not cheap indeed. A buck each? Pfffft!


The "Boob" which Mr. O'Neal refers to is shown above. It satirized the Rube Goldberg character. In the filthy little book, we learn why the word "Jazz" has a sexual connotation while Boob learns quite a bit more. Um...do they know that up at Lincoln Center? We also see an early reference to "Shag"...I always thought Austin Powers made up that word.


I was alerted to this story by none other than the slightly pig-faced conservative author James J. Kilpatrick, failed talking head (briefly, for 60 minutes...) and segregationist. What? No WONDER he was pissed at Ira's dirty comics! He was a racist buffoon, but at least he provided good footnotes in his book "The Smut Peddlers" which is not on kindle yet.


Those of you who have read this far and would like to see the transcript putting Ira O'Neal into jail can go HERE.

The Tijuana Bible History Series by Jim Linderman Runs once a week or so...make sure to bookmark to enjoy future (and past) posts. Some groundbreaking original research, government documents and rare examples.

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