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An Evening with Droodles

Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Registration is requested
Members Free and Non-members $15

An Evening with Droodles

Before the inspired nonsense of Monty Python, David Letterman and The Far Side, there were Droodles. With a few squiggles in a simple square, these clever drawings created absurd scenes like "Ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch" (used by Frank Zappa as an album cover) and “Octopus signaling for a left turn.”

Like hula hoops and UFOs, Droodles were one of the biggest fads of the 1950s. At the height of their popularity, fans enjoyed a Droodles daily newspaper column, a Droodles TV show with Carl Reiner, Droodles cocktail napkins, even Droodles ads for Lucky Strike cigarettes. Now they’re back with The Ultimate Droodles Compendium, a collection of more than 350 Droodles and fascinating Droodliana collected by Athenæum member Fritz Holznagel.

In this funny and all-too-brief hour, we’ll laugh at some of the best-loved Droodles and discover how they were born. We’ll hear about Roger Price, the brilliant and unpredictable comedian who invented Droodles (and later co-created another pop culture hit, Mad Libs). And everyone will be invited to ask questions, make wisecracks and share their own creative captions for Droodles.

Fritz Holznagel is an Emmy Award-winning writer, expert time-waster, and the author and compiler of The Ultimate Droodles Compendium. Born and raised in Forest Grove, Oregon, Fritz earned a history degree at Willamette University. Finding (as predicted) no jobs in the field of history, he spent a decade in film and animation, winning an Emmy for scripting the CBS special A Claymation Easter. A trivia fan, he wrote questions for learning games like Where in the USA is Carmen San Diego? and appeared on the game show Jeopardy!, eventually winning the show’s Tournament of Champions in 1995. Fritz has since written for publications like The Dictionary of American History and for internet companies like Google and Lycos. He is the co-creator of the biographical guide, which features over 4500 thumbnail sketches of famous people. His books include The World Wide Web Top 1000 and Secrets of the Buzzer (a manifesto on signaling speed for quiz players). A Droodles fan since childhood, and a member of the Athenæum since 1998, he is delighted to bring the works of Roger Price to the wider and more deeply sensitive audience they deserve.

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The BA's virtual events are not routinely captioned. To request real-time captions for this event, please contact Hannah Weisman at or 617-720-7617 no fewer than four business days prior to the event.