Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Hobos, Gazabos, Tramps and "The Great Bozo!" - a Bozo Etymology Update

Writing on his website, World Wide Words, Michael Quinion postulated that the word bozo, meaning a stupid or silly person, may have been derived from the word hobo.  

Hobos everywhere were offended.

Writing on my website, Early Sports ‘n’ Pop-Culture History Blog, I traced the origin of bozo to the name of a character in the Vaudeville play, The Wise Guy in Society (1910).

Standard etymologies were upended.

A 1926 interview with Bobby “Bozo” Archer (who originated the role of Bozo), suggests that we may both be right, and the character's name may be a few years older than previously known.

Everyone is contented:

Bob Archer, the original, explains the origin of Bozo: ‘Twas with Edmund Hayes as “The Wise Guy,” Johnny Sherry as straight, with Archer as Tramp Comic.  One evening, Hayes mispronounced Hobo as Bozo.  Bob appreciated and appropriated the name which for 20 years he has used.

The Vaudeville News and New York Star, December 4, 1926, page 19, column 3.

It may be true that Bozo was a mispronunciation of Hobo.  What would Freud say?  Freud would say that Hayes subconsciously conflated hobo with another word so similar in sound and meaning with the modern word, bozo, that “Bozo” accidentally slipped out. 

Candidates for such subliminal influence on the origin of bozo might include:

1. Bozo Woolingham; a vaudevillian who died a few months before the debut of The Wise Guy in Society.

2. “The Great Bozo”; a hoop-roller and barrel-jumper who performed during the first decade of the 1900s (if he was not the same person as Bozo Woolingham).

3. Bozo Gopcevic; a San Francisco businessman and serious claimant to the thrones of Serbia and Montenegro.  He had been in the news in 1909 in connection with various cloak-and-dagger machinations in an attempt to assume the throne.

4. Gazabo; a then-current slang word that frequently meant, a stupid or silly guy, but which could also mean, just a guy, depending on context.  Interestingly, and perhaps coincidentally (or not), gazabo was frequently used in the phrase, “wise gazabo,” a playful variant of “wise guy.”

5. Or, perhaps just Archer's first name - Bob.

[Listen to Ben Zimmer discuss my research on Bozo, on Slate's Lexicon Valley Podcast at Vocabulary.com]

The Original Bozo

The character named “Bozo” seems to have first appeared in the play, “The Wise Guy,” first performed in 1898.  Spike was a working-class piano mover forced to navigate the dangerous waters of high society while delivering pianos to his upper-crust clients.  The fish-out-of-water comedy was so well received that Hayes’ acting troupe performed the play every year for more than ten years.  Interestingly, “The Wise Guy” was written by George M. Cohan, better known for writing “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and for being famously portrayed by James Cagney in the classic film, Yankee Doodle Dandy.[i] 

"'A Bunch of the Girls' They Will Be Seen With "A Wise Guy," at the Grand, Aug. 19." St. Paul Globe, August 12, 1900, page 23.

"Scene From 'A Wise Guy,' At the Grand," St. Paul Globe, August 19, 1900, page 26.

Robert Archer appears to have joined the show as one of the “specialties” during its 10th season, when Hayes was working with the “Jolly Girls.”

The Jolly Girls’ Roster.

The roster of The Jolly Girls Co., presenting Edmond Hayes in “The Wise Guy,” is as follows: Edmond Hayes, Stella Gilmore, Harriet Belmont, Jas. J. Collins, Harry Francis, Bobby Archer . . . .

During the action of the play, which is in two acts, the following specialties will be introduced: The International Entertainers, Archer, Ladello and Davey; William Dale, juggler, and Wise Guy Quintette.  The season opened Aug. 18 at the Avenue Theatre, Detroit, Mich.

The New York Clipper, August 24, 1907, page 725.

Robert Archer's character got good reviews from the outset.

Empire - Burlesque

Robert Archer, in the first act, plays the part of Hayes's pal, and his makeup has a hideousness that is overdone.  As an acrobat, however, Archer shines, and he is assisted by three other members of the company.

During the action of the play, which is in two acts, the following specialties will be introduced: The International Entertainers, Archer, Ladello and Davey; William Dale, juggler, and Wise Guy Quintette.  The season opened Aug. 18 at the Avenue Theatre, Detroit, Mich.

The Indianapolis News, November 15, 1907, page 21.

In the comments recorded in 1926, Robert Archer did not specify when Hayes serendipitously added the name “Bozo” to the show, but the date can be narrowed down to about a five-month period between joining up with Hayes in August 1907 and their performance at the Bijou Theater in Philadelphia the following January.

The reviews weren't all positive, but Robert Archer's character had a new name - -“Bozo”.

BIJOU – A needless bid for laughs through the use of the roughest sort of comedy takes the edge off the show given by "The Jolly Girls" company this week.  The two act farce "A Wise Guy," in which Edmond Hayes is featured, is being used for its tenth successful season, according to the program announcement. . . .  The ability of Hayes to win laughs through legitimate efforts is so apparent it is difficult to understand why he should resort to some of the raw methods he uses in the show.  Hayes is a good comedian and from his first entrance twists laughs out of the audieence with every line and action. . . .  

Robert Archer, who essays the role of Bozo, Spike's pal, has probably not accepted the idea that comedy can be gained without resorting to unclean methods, for he makes his appearance in the first act in the dirtiest kind of make-up and the allusions to him made by Hayes adds to the offensiveness.  Archer also goes through the motion of sopping up beer from the floor and plasters the foam on his face, later allowing Marie Jansen, one of the chorus girls, to drink from the can and then spit the beer in his face.

Variety, Volume 9, Number 4, January 4, 1908, page 27.

Hayes took a year off from the piano mover shtick in 1909, when he staged a baseball-themed show, “Umpire,” perhaps to capitalize on the recent success of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (1908) and other baseball-themed songs and shows that came out in its wake.

Hayes reprised the role of Spike Hennesey in a 1910 sequel, The Wise Guy in Society.  Archer returned as the piano mover's assistant -- Bozo.

Columbia – Burlesque.  Edmond Hayes, the “Wise Guy,” is at home this week at the Columbia, where his company is dispensing fun in large quantities through the medium of burlesques and specialty acts.  In the first part of the bill, “McGuire from Slatington,” Frank Riley and James Collins are particular favorites; Hayes, of course, as the piano mover, is leader in the fun centered about his person in “The Wise Guy.”  Other popular principals are Marie Jansen, prima donna; Bobby Archer as Bozo, Shapely chorus girls and other clever principals provide generous entertainment, in which the songs are a feature.  The burlettas are staged and comstumed in an attractive manner.  Smoking is permitted.  Friday is “Amateur night.”

The Cambridge Chronicle (Cambridge, Massachusetts), December 3, 1910, page 10.

Bozo was stupid – but memorable:

The “piano mover’s” pal was Robert Archer, and the make-up of this guy is a scream.  He plays a dumb part, but his every move was a laugh.

The New York Clipper, January 7, 1911, page 1171.

A new actor, Tommy “Bozo” Snyder, assumed the role of “Bozo” in Hayes’ troupe by 1914:

[T]his week one of the best farces now playing in vaudeville will be presented as the feature act.  It is entitled “The Piano Movers,” and is presented by Edmond Hayes & Company.  Mr. Hayes plays the role of the superintendent, and does all the bossing.  Bozo’s (Thomas Snyder) work is entirely pantomime.

The Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), February 8, 1914, page 9.

Based on the nature of press notices over the ensuing years, Tommy “Bozo” Snyder appears to have achieved a higher level of success and name-recognition during the mid 1910s than Robert “Bozo” Archer ever had.  Snyder performed under that name for nearly four decades.  Charlie Chaplin reportedly named Snyder his favorite mime.[iii] 

Hobo → Bozo Subliminal Influences?


The obsolete, slang word, gazabo, is believed to derived from the Spanish word, “gazapo sly customer, sharpie, literally, bunny, young rabbit, akin to Portuguese caçapo; Iberian Rom word of obscure origin.” See Dictionary.com.   

Gazabo was used in American-English as early as 1893:

You weak-minded old gazabo, is it to hear ye singing’ topical songs thot Oi came down from Archery road? What ails ye?”

“Quondam” (pseudonum), Uncle Jeremiah and Family at the Great Fair; Their Observations and Triumphs, Chicago, Laird & Lee, 1893, page 108.

If Edmond Hayes conflated “hobo” with “gazabo,” it would not be the first time that “Gazabo” and “Hobo” were used together:

When Mr. Cleveland welcomes to Washington the hordes of hoboes and the battalion of gazaboos that his proclamation of communism has summoned, he must beware of Hogan’s eye.   There will be a reproach in it that Mr. Cleveland will feel even if he should warm to enthusiasm in addressing from the east end of the Capitol the beggars and tramps who believe with him and Hogan that the poor should live at the expense of the rich, and that corporations are a misdemeanor calling for a fine.

The Sun (New York), April 28, 1894, page 6.

An anecdote from 1884 explains one sense of what was then a relatively new slang word; it was new enough that the old, square judge did not understand it:

The Worthington Advance, June 21, 1894, page 3

Attorney – “You say he is a disreputable character; that he waits around saloons so as to be invited to drink, and that he borrows money and does not repay it?”
Witness – “Put  it to suit yourself; only remember he’s an all-round gazabo.”
Court – “Gazabo?  Gazabo? What language is this?”
Attorney – “He means, your honor, that this plaintiff is thoroughly unreliable.”

The Worthington Advance (Worthington, Minnesota), June 21, 1894, page 3.

“Gazabo” was in regular and common use throughout the early 1900s, and into the 1910s, when Edmond Hayes named his sidekick, “Bozo,” continuing through the mid-1910s when “Bozo” morphed into the word “bozo” we all know and love today:

Mr. Aesop’s Fables Up to Date.
The Wise Guy and the Gazabo

A Wise Guy met a Sloppy-Weather Gazabo driving a Wooly Skate [(a ragged-looking horse)] to a Rickety Cart.

[The Gazabo makes a bet with the Wise Guy – they race the horses – the “Wooly Skate” is a ringer, and easily beats the Wise Guy’s horse.] 

“By my Father’s Bears!” shrieked the Wise Guy, “but I have been Bunkoed!” 
“Almost do I feel sorry for thee!” grinned the Gazabo, “for thou wert so Very Easy!” and he went His Way leaving the Wise Guy poorer in the Scads, though richer in Experience.
But alas! Experience Buyeth not Beer: neither doth it purchase Bologna.
Moral: Neer trust Appearances; the sad Mule kicketh Hardest. 
Second Moral: Easy Money is the hardest to get.  And Verily: When thou meetest a Jay [(a country bumpkin)], regard him with Suspicion and pass by on the other Side; of a truth he is Loaded!

The San Francisco Call, March 24, 1901.

The popular comic strip, The Katzenjammer Kids, for example, used “Gazabo” regularly:

El Paso Herald (Texas), August 10, 1912.

Omaha Daily Bee (Nebraska), January 10, 1915.

Evening Capital News (Boise, Idaho), January 21, 1917.

Wise Gazabo:

Packy McFarland seems to be a wise gazabo in the art of advertising.

Truth (Salt Lake City, May 30, 1908, page 11.

Through all our history down to the last
The wise Gazabo when he shall hear
Of that reckless ride through the tempest vast,
Shall say, “What good it did, isn’t clear!”
   And he’ll hug his fireplace all the more
   For the reckless gallop of Theodore [(Roosevelt)].

Monroe City Democrat (Louisiana), January 21, 1909, page 4 (satirical reworking of Longfellow’s, The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere).

Wise Gazabo.
She – How old would you say I was?
He – About six years less than I thought. – Boston Transcript.

The Hays Free Press (Hays, Kansas), May 2, 1914, page 7.

In 1912, a wordlist in the language periodical, Dialect Notes, illustrated the meaning of “gazabo”:

gazabo, n. An officious person; an odd, queer, or stupid person. “He’s a regular gazabo,” “I went down town, and some gazabo directed me to the wrong place,” “See that gazabo, with his hat on in church.” Term of disparagement.[iv]

Dialect Notes (American Dialect Society), Volume 3, Part VII, 1911, page 544.

It is not a big leap, in meaning, sound, or spelling, from hobo and gazabo to “Bozo,” the stupid tramp.  The common use of, “wise guy” and “wise gazabo,” meaning approximately the same thing, might also have contributed to twisting the tongue while saying the word hobo during a performance of The Wise Guy in Society.  Whether or not gazabo played a specific role in the origin of, “bozo,” it seems likely the similarity in sound and meaning may at least have played some role in how quickly the public picked up on the word, Bozo.


The word “hobo,” itself, was also not very old in 1910; the word first appeared in print about twenty-five years earlier, in an article about conditions in the Hennepin County (Minnesota) Jail:

The “Hobo.”

The genus tramp, i. e., the “bum” or “Hobo,” is usually made up of a conglomeration of human outcasts, most prominent among which are two classes; the tramp from stress of circumstance, and the bum from choice, who occupies his mean place in the scale of creation by natural selection.  Tramps, whom misfortune has driven into this nomadic life, are commonly men of little force of character, whom reverses or calamaties have completely unmanned . . . .  They have no strength to buffet the wave or stem the tide, hence they drift. . . .  But the genuine, unreformable bum the “Hobo” by instinct, is altogether another and entirely different animal.

[The writer treats the word hobo as though he expects the readers to be unfamiliar with the word; he defines the meaning of the word, gives examples of use, and gives a purported origin of the word.]

Thieves’ Vocabulary.
The fraternity of tramps and thieves, as well as all the lower order of crooks, have a lingo, or jargon of their own, not easily understood by the uninitiated. . . .  No Hobo or tramp, ever speaks of having stolen a watch, though he may have “swiped a super.” . . . .  An overcoat is a “Ben.” Hobo is a call to attract attention, the same as Hello in the average citizen’s vernacular.  It is pronounced with the long sound of the vowel, o, in b both syllables, and is sometimes uttered with the aspirate omitted, as “Obo,” and is the shibboleth of the fraternity of bums and crooks.  It is not commonly applied by them as a generic term to designate the order.  Hence “Hobo,” when used in a substantive sense, means tramp or crook, as the case may be.  For instance, when one says “That man is a Hobo,” he means tramp or crook.

St. Paul Daily Globe (Minnesota), November 30, 1885, page 8.

          Other Bozos

If Edmond Hayes did not conflate “hobo” with “gazabo” – begetting “bozo” – perhaps he was thinking of an actual person named Bozo. 

Bozo Gopcevic

            Bozo Gopcevic

In 1909, San Francisco businessman Bozo Gopcevic and serious contender for the thrones of Serbia and Montenegro, was in the news had been in the news in 1909 for plotting to reclaim his rightful place on the throne:

Half way around the world a San Francisco man is journeying with the secret purpose of seizing for his brother the throne of the nation of Montenegro.  The man who will lay claim to the rulership of that troubled country is Bozo Gopcevic, brother of Milos MItrov Gopcevic, who, as a gripman [(San Francisco cable car driver)], a few days before the fire [(the San Francisco fire of 1906)] married Miss Floyd, a noted beauty and heiress.  Eventually it is his purpose to transform the government into a republic.

The San Francisco Call, January 18, 1909, page 1.

Was it a whim of fate that the dream of empire for the Serbs, so nearly realized by Prince Stephen Duchan six centuries ago, should be fulfilled by his lineal descendant Bozo Gopcevic of 1845 Sacramento street, San Francisco, in this year of our Lord 1909?  Was it the finger of fate that pointed out San Francisco to Bozo as the spot from which to start his pilgrimage at the end of which he will deliver his people from bondage . . . ?

. . . Will Bozo Gopcevic carry out the decree of fate, six centuries delayed, and weld the Slavic peoples together under the democracy “the United Balkan States, Bozo Gopcevic president”?  Will Bozo fulfill the dream of Stephen the Great?

The San Francisco Call, January 19, 1909, pages 1, 2. 

Bozo Gopcevic was a long-time resident of San Francisco and respected civic leader and businessman.  President Harrison appointed him to a position in the United States Mint in San Francisco, and he had also held responsible positions at the United States Land Office.  He also ran a newspaper, The Servian American, for more than twelve years. 

In addition to claiming the throne of Serbia, through descent from King Stefan Dušan, whose death in 1355 was the death knell of resistance to the advancing Ottoman Empire, Bozo Gopcevic also claimed the throne of Montenegro, as a direct descendant of St. Savar, who renounced his royal claims for the church six centuries earlier.[v]  His brother’s financially successful, and suspiciously short, marriage[vi] to an heiress several years earlier laid the financial foundation of their efforts to resume their “rightful” places in Serbian and Montenegran society.  One of his four brothers paid the price for their ambitions; he was reportedly murdered in Pueblo, Colorado by Austrian-Hungarian spies in 1902, and Bozo, himself, claimed to have been the subject of no fewer than three assassination attempts.[vii]
Although Bozo Gopcevic made good copy, he appears to have only made headlines in San Francisco; so perhaps it is unlikely that Edmond Hayes had Bozo Gopcevic one his mind when he misspoke in 1910.

               Bozo Vaudevillians
It may be more likely that Hayes was thinking (if he was thinking at all) about an old vaudevillian who died a few months before his fortuitous mispronunciation of hobo.  In April, 1910, The New York Clipper (a predecessor to Variety) reported the death of one, “Wollingham, Bozo (vaudeville), Atlanta, Ga.” March.” [viii]  There may have been another old vaudevillian named, “Bozo,” although it is unclear whether they are the same person – or different.  There are several references to a man billed as, “The Great Bozo,” in The New York Clipper during the first decade of the 1900s. [ix]   He was described, at various times, as a “hoop roller” (a type of juggler) and “barrel jumper” (a gymnastic act involving diving and jumping into and out of barrels).

Bozo Goes to War

The earliest-dated example of bozo in print is from a diary entry dated July 20, 1916, written by an American flier flying with a French squadron before the United States’ entry in to World War I; the memoir was published ten years after the war:

That you, Bertie, you old bozo!

Bert Hall and John Jacob Niles, One Man’s War; the Story of the Lafayette Escadrille, New York, H. Holt and Company, 1929, pages 159.

The word appeared several times, throughout the memoir, in dated diary entries and letters; as well as in supporting text, presumably written after the war:

You see in the French Flying Corps, and in the Lafayette Escadrille too, we believed that if some bozo wrote your name on a bullet, it would get you, no matter if it was a silver bullet, or a lead bullet, or a tin bullet, [p104] or a hunk of an aerial bomb, or just a three-corned brick bat. [Pages 103-104: Supporting text – not a Diary Note; referring to something that happened in 1915.]

About that time another American bozo came up and asked the Yale graduate who the Ninniesniffer was – meaning me, of course. [Page 294: Diary note, February 2, 1918.]
In the New York Bar last night there was an interesting gang of Yanks, all winning the war by themselves.  One particularly loud-mouthed bozo, who heard me speaking the English language, came up to me and said: “How come you’re in a French uniform?” [Page 306: Diary Note, February 1918].

I was aware of this reference before I posted my earlier piece on the etymology of bozo, but omitted them because they had been published more than a decade after the war, and because I questioned the reliability of one of the authors, Bert Hall, who “was sent to prison for a Gun scam, a illegal firearms importation into China.  He went to McNeil Island Penitentiary in Washington state on Nov. 11, 1933.
Since then, however, I have found several other, World War I-era memoirs, some published immediately after the war, and some published long after the war, that also suggest that the word bozo was current among American soldiers serving in Europe during World War I.  And, although Bert Hall may have been an opportunistic liar and cheat later in life, there is no suggestion that he falsified his war record or his diaries.

The word appeared in a yearbook, of sorts, for a unit that served in Europe during the war:

Grover Wall; Grover enlisted in the First while living in Newburgh, but now he makes his home at 724 Madison Avenue, Brooklyn.  He was a mechanic when transferred from the First and served as such until November 9, 1918, when he was raised to corporal.  Some of Grover’s intimates called him “Bozo.”

Harry T. Mitchell, Company L. 107th Infantry, 54th Infantry Brigade, 27th Division, American Expeditionary Force, 1917-1919, (Undated; but appears to have been written immediately after their service ended in 1919) page 70.  

In 1930, an anonymous author wrote a frank memoir, based on dated diary entries, about her service in Europe during World War I; she used the term, Bozo, in reference to a couple of unwanted suitors.  The title of her book, One Woman’s War, appears to be a nod to Hall and Niles’, One Man’s War, which had been published three years earlier:

I asked him why he didn’t join the engineers.  He said he wanted to fly and joined a squadron, thinking it was hot stuff, but it worked out to be a dud.  They call him Bozo. Page 211. October 29, 1917 (diary excerpt).

My friend Bozo has graduated to calling me “sweet mama.” [November 2, 1917, Page 212]
I see Bozo almost every day.  He is a little disappointed that I will not be his sweet mama. [November 14, 1917, Page 215]

Well, here’s a safe bozo – one who won’t lay hot hands on a foreign woman.”  But I soon found out my mistake.  He hadn’t been with me more than a half hour (alone) when he began to make the wildest hypnotic passes I had ever witnessed.  Up to this time I had only encountered Belgians and English as boy friends.  But that Hindu was something new and unique.  He had a bank roll to spend that staggered me, and until I said thumbs down on his style of affection, he was more than willing to spend it on little Eva.  What nearly made a Nautch dancer out of me was the gift he passed out. (And, my dears, on such short acquaintance too!)  If I had known then what I know now!  If I had had ten years of American town and country life to my credit – had, in other words, been up on the gentle art of gold digging – well, sisters, mama could have come out of that Hindu scrape a rich woman. 

Anonymous, One Woman’s War, New York, The Macaulay Company, 1930.

The word bozo also appears in a wartime story written by William Hazlett Upson in 1927.  Upson is most famous for his character Alexander Botts; and for his self-help book, “How to Be Right Like Me,” and his lectures on, “the art of being lazy,” and “you can be a lecturer too.”  He was a frequent contributor to The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers and Esquire.  Although he had served in the war, in the Marne-Aisne, St. Mihiel, and Argonne offensives and in Germany as part of the Army of Occupation, it is unclear whether the anecdote related in the book is based on actual events or entirely fictional.

The book is interesting for several reasons; it an early use of bozo, it illustrates the use of bozo among American troops in World War I, and its title – The Piano Movers – is the same title of a play that Hayes and “Bozo” Snyder performed in 1914.  Upson’s book is nothing like Snyder’s play; and there is no clear indication of an intentional nod to the earlier play; but it still, a remarkable coincidence.
The book tells the story of an unreasonable Sergeant who orders a crew of his men to traipse across the countryside, under threat of enemy fire, to retrieve a beautiful piano they had passed along the way.  Annoyed with having to risk life and limb to appease the Sergeant’s musical proclivities, they blew up the piano instead:
And the sergeant wept the whole night through,
He missed his music so bad;
That hard-boiled bozo certainly was
A sentimental lad.

But happy and gay was them six cannoneers
Of the second-section crew;
Each one had a hand grenade in his pack
And Michigan Mike had two.

They had found a brand-new method
Of moving pianos that day,
And they now was ready for any more
Pianos that came their way.

William Hazlett Upson, The Piano Movers, St. Charles, Illinois, The Universal Press, 1927, page 56.[x]

The word, bozo, based on the character, “Bozo” – the stupid piano movers’ assistant, had come full-circle.

Washington Herald, February 27, 1918



If Robert “Bozo” Archer, the original “Bozo” is to be believed, the name of his character was the result of his partner’s mispronunciation of the word, hobo, in reference to Archer’s “tramp” character.  The earliest appearance of the character’s name in print suggests that the name was first used in the play, “The Wise Guy,” in 1908.  The second person to play, “Bozo,” Tommy “Bozo” Snyder, appears to have achieved a greater degree of fame, and name recognition, perhaps pushing the word more firmly into the public’s consciousness.  The similar sound, spelling and meaning of the then-current slang word, gazabo, may have helped pave the way for public acceptance of the new slang word, bozo, meaning a stupid or silly man.

If Freud is correct, and Edmond Hayes’ misspeaking of hobo represented a subliminal reference to something else, it may have been a subconscious nod to the slang word gazabo, to the recently deceased vaudevillian Bozo Woolingham, to “The Great Bozo,” hoop roller (if he was not, in fact, also Bozo Woolingham), or Bozo Gopcevic – the pretender to the throne of Serbia and Montenegro.

Although Bozo Gopcevic appears to have avoided his would-be assassins, an actual Central European nobleman did not share his luck.  In 1914, Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, triggering the events that would snowball into World War I – where the newly-minted slang word bozo found fertile ground among the killing fields of France.

Pure Gonzo! (Don’t get started on that one.)

[NOTE: This post updated November 18, 2019 to reflect an earlier first appearance the character "Bozo" in print, in 1908's "The Wise Guy," three years before "The Wise Guy in Society" in 1910.]

[i] There is no indication that Cohan, whose star had risen much faster and higher than Edmond Hayes’ during the intervening ten years, had any role in penning the sequel.
[ii] The earliest reference I could find to the show is from August, 1910: Out of Town News: Minneapolis, Minn, . . . Dewey (Archie Miller, mgr.) Season opens 28, with Edmund Hayes, in “The Wise Guy in Society” (see, The New York Clipper, August 27, 1910, page 708).
[iv] The same list includes the word, “geke;” apparently a forerunner to the modern word, “geek” (geke, n. – awkward fellow, guy.  “Isn’t that fellow a queer, crazy geke?”).
[v] The San Francisco Call and Post, December 11, 1913, page 9.
[vi] Milos’ wife died suddenly just a few months after their marriage.  She reportedly called for pen and ink on her deathbed and willed her entire estate to her new, formerly penniless husband.  He prevailed in an protracted will contest; laying the financial foundation for his brothers’ plans to return to Serbia and reclaim their purported birthright. The San Francisco Call, June 17, 1910, page 5.
[vii] The San Francisco Call, January 19, 1909, page 2.
[viii] The New York Clipper, February 19, 1910, page 43.
[ix] The New York Clipper, April 14, 1906, page 234 (performing with “The 4 La Rience, All ‘Round Comedy Singers and Dancers”); The New York Clipper, May 25, 1907, page 390; New York Clipper, May 2, 1908, page 285.
[x] A handwritten note, on the inside cover of the electronic-archive version I viewed, claims that the story first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in “early 1927.”


  1. In connection with footnote x, much of The Saturday Evening Post now being searchable online, you may be able to verify the accuracy of that claim.

  2. The source for the Gopcevic siblings newspaper picture is incorrect. It is actually San Francisco Call, Volume 105, Number 50, 19 January 1909 https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=SFC19090119.1.1

  3. The source for the picture of Bozo Gopcevic is https://archive.org/details/menwhomadesanfra00sanf/page/60/mode/1up?view=theater#

  4. The link for The San Francisco Call and Post, December 11, 1913, page 9 is https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86064451/1913-12-11/ed-1/seq-9/ where St. Savar is referring to St. Sava. My only proof of this is that the timing makes sense in the newspaper, there is no other St. Savar, and I have found four historical references with this spelling:
    1) https://books.google.com/books?id=PNc7AQAAMAAJ&lpg=PA43&ots=cgwKV3gSlf&dq=%22St.%20savar%22&pg=PA43#v=onepage&q=%22St.%20savar%22&f=false
    2) https://books.google.com/books?id=-1UD_BpGNvEC&lpg=RA2-PA259&ots=JTuEAm6d-M&dq=%22St.%20savar%22&pg=RA2-PA259#v=onepage&q=%22St.%20savar%22&f=false
    3) https://genealogytrails.com/ill/pike/milcolor70.html
    4) https://champagnat.org/fr/bulletin/saint-mungos-academy-glasgow/