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A little something saucy from the seaside

For years and years, the tradition here was to send home a saucy postcard from your seaside holiday. Which is where everybody went for their holidays, always. And the undisputed king of the saucy postcard was a man named Donald McGill (link goes to a Google Images search; click for an amusing hour of postcard browsing).

He was born in 1875 and was a draughtsman in the Navy when he drew a little get well card for a sick nephew in 1904 and kinfolk said, “Jed, move away from there.”

Fat ladies, drunks, vicars, honeymooning couples, wartime propaganda…he poured out tons of the damn things. The ruder they were the better they sold, though he only got pennies for each design.

He is author of the famous joke “Do you like Kipling?” / “I don’t know, you naughty boy, I’ve never kippled!” which sold a record-holding six million copies.

He went on merrily until the Fifties, when the authorities decided to clean up all this disgusting smut and conducted a series of raids on seaside postcard shops. Some of the naughty designs had been on sale for decades without apparently causing riots. They confiscated thousands, mostly McGill’s, and took him to court.

He admitted breaking the Obscene Publications Act, but his defense was, “holy shit! REALLY? NAUGHTY DOUBLE MEANINGS? ZOMG, I had no idea until you pointed it out. Boy, is my face red!” Also, he was pushing eighty. So he pretty much got off, except for the lost revenue.

You still see McGill’s designs on cards and packaging (I saw a box of candy with a McGill wrapper the other day, which resulted in this post). Some say the vacation postcard is making a comeback, but I think the Royal Mail should be so lucky.

So. There. Something fun for the weekend. Have a good one!

August 3, 2012 — 10:41 pm
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