Tijuana bible
Posted: 02 May 2013 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I was a little surprised to find no mention of the term in the OED. I know they’ve been around since at least the 30s but how much further back does the phrase go? Any early cites in the slang dictionaries?

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Posted: 03 May 2013 12:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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what’s a Tijuana Bible?

Edit: Please ignore the question. I did what I should have done before asking: looked it up. Never heard the expression before, though, or seen such a thing.

[ Edited: 03 May 2013 01:38 AM by lionello ]
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Posted: 03 May 2013 03:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I can’t take Tijuana bible back to the 1930s. The earliest I can take it is 1947. Ed Cray’s “Ethnic and Place Names as Derisive Adjectives” in Western Folklore, 21.1, Jan. 1962, 27–34 says on p. 34: “Tijuana Bible—pornographic comic books, in a three-inch by five-inch format, parodying well known comic strips. These are most often purchased over the California-Baja California border. (Los Angeles, 1947).” I take the date as meaning the citation was collected orally in Los Angeles in 1947.

(Tortuous route to find that citation: I thought about just plugging “Tijuana bible” into JSTOR, but instead went old school and looked it up in various print slang dictionaries. Dalzell’s New Partridge said “1979” and cited Aman’s Maledicta. I eagerly looked that one up in the 1979 volume of that work—it’s not often that I get to consult my collection of Maledicta volumes (no index makes it difficult), so I was excited about that—that source cited Cray, which I ended up finding in JSTOR. Had I started there, I would have saved myself about 45 minutes. Nuts to Dalzell for not going to the original and, even worse, giving a false impression of the date.)

[ Edited: 03 May 2013 03:14 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 03 May 2013 05:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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TBs are also a good source of saucy slang of the mid-20th century, if that’s what you’re into.

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Posted: 03 May 2013 05:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks, Dave. I had assumed from their popularity in the 30s that the term too dated from then but as the wiki states there were many other names for them (eight-pagers, bluesies, gray-backs, Jiggs-and-Maggie books, jo-jo books, Tillie-and-Mac books, etc.).

Lionello, one of my many interests is the history of comics and it was in this context that I first came across Tijuana bibles some years back and studied several examples on the net. (I must say I’ve never been able to think of poor Laurel and Hardy the same way since!)

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Posted: 05 May 2013 06:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I dont recall hearing the term, although I’ve certainly seen a few of them in real life.

I couldn’t find any links to the term in google ngram viewer.

It’s a fascinating area of history that apparently led to the famous Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, et al.

Here is a link to a .org site that has scanned images from a few dozen originals.

[ Edited: 05 May 2013 06:25 PM by sobiest ]
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Posted: 04 June 2014 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dave, thanks so much for your detective work, this is the earliest record for this term I’m aware of.
I write about these comics and will update my history article, as well as acknowledge you for the contribution, if that’s ok.
One of my visitors was stationed at a Texas AFB in the late 1940’s, he confirmed their boarder town availability.

Though most of these comics were created in the 1930’s, their reprints were even more popular in postwar times.
They were so sought after, that companies published bogus bibles (gag cartoons without pornography) . These were the “Comics that Men Like” advertised in back pages of pulp mags. I’ve written several articles on the subject as well as reprinted a few from older sources at TijuanaBible.org. . I think it may entertain you.

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Posted: 04 June 2014 12:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Yes, you (or anyone else) is free to reference the information on this site. All I ask is attribution.

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