In the song “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie” (Somethin’ Smith version), Gravel Gertie from the Dick Tracy comic strip is used as a reference for sorta-ugliness. I’m learning the song, but fear a lot of folks nowadays don’t know who she is or what she looks like. I’m seeking ideas for a more current widely known reference. So far I’ve only thought of Broomhilda, who doesn’t quite seem to fill the bill.
Note that Gravel Gertie was not stop-a-clock ugly, but she did have a rode-hard-and-put-away-wet look that would not be mistaken for attractive. At the time the song came out, Dick Tracy (and its characters) were household-name familiar to most Americans. I’m hoping to find a symbol of equivalent unattractiveness with equivalent name recognition. Any ideas?
I always heard it as Gravel Gertie and Ish Kabibble… the female and male counterparts
Thanks to all for your suggestions.
I favor Phyllis Diller so far – fairly universally known, about the right amount of sorta-ugly, scans nicely in the song, and since she’s a “character” no one’s feelings should be hurt.
Oh, like Patty the Daytime Hooker?
Dale Dickey was never a great beauty but she was kinda cute in a rough-hewn way.
Marge Simpson. More plain than ugly, but certainly not a beauty.
I never realized all this time that when my dad was gently making fun of me for “looking like Gravel Gertie” that it was, like, a 30’s comic strip thing. What a hoot! (Let’s not discuss “you need you some new drawers?” or “Sara’s got her brogans on!”)
Not germane to the discussion, but I’ve always liked ‘You look like the wreck of the Hesperus.’
Dad doesn’t say that - mom does.