2015-09-09 / Features

Historical Society Honors Legendary Cartoonist With Exhibit

By Jason D. Antos

Thomas Aloysius Dorgan, also known as Tad Dorgan, was an American cartoonist who signed his drawings as Tad. Known for his cartoon panel Indoor Sports, Dorgan who was born in 1877, was also famous for the many words and expressions he added to the English language via his cartoons.

The Bayside Historical Society at Fort Totten is honoring the Bayside and Great Neck resident with an exibit of original pieces from his illustrious collection.

Tad showed promise as an artist from an early age. When he was 13, he lost the last three fingers of his right hand in an accident with a factory machine. He took up drawing for therapy to over come his accident. A year later at the age of 14 he joined the art staff of the San Francisco Bulletin.

He created his first comic strip, Johnny Wise, for the San Francisco Chronicle in 1902. ByPHOTOS JASON D. ANTOSPHOTOS JASON D. ANTOS 1905 he was working in New York City for the New York Journal as a sports writer and cartoonist. A prolific writer on boxing Dorgan was described by fighter Jack Dempsey as "the greatest authority on boxing."

Dorgan is generally credited with either creating or popularizing such words and expressions as "dumbbell", "fro crying out loud", "cat's meow", "drugstore cowboy" and even "Yes, we have no bananas," which was tunred into a popular song in the eraly 20th century. 

Dorgan was palced at the top of the list of the foremost makers of American slang Funk and Wagnall's dictionary.

Dorgan and his wife, Izole M., lived in Byaide and Great Neck. Dorgan retired from attending sporting events in the early 1920s because of poor health, and a heart ailment kept him at home for the last eight years of his life, but he continued to produce comics until his death. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007.

The exhibit runs until October. For more information, visit baysidehistorical.org.

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