Bursting Forth Upon the Scene

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September 4, 2018 Dick Sheaff


I have puzzled—probably for longer than it is worth—to figure out the origin, the meaning, of images of heads bursting through shredded paper barriers. One can picture a clown face doing it, a daredevil being shot out of canon, Bugs Bunny or Elmer Fudd or Porky Pig. Commonly seen even in the present day, the gimmick was for some reason particularly popular during the Victorian era. I wonder how far back into history examples of that particular conceit can be found? Does popping-through-paper signify arrival from some other plane, some other dimension? It is a version of peek-a-boo? Simply a version of "SURPRISE!"? Merely an attention-getting gimmick?

Here are some examples . . . .



Contemporary artist Jim Warren








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