Who is Bart and what is the significance of his dinghy?

OK, starting off my fun here with a really obscure one…

I have a large collection of the Johnny Hart “B.C.” comic strips in book form. There is a strip in one that has always baffled me.

One of the cavemen (either B.C. or Peter, forget which) skips a stone into the ocean. Soon, a message arrives on a floating slab (in the manner in which Peter used to exchange messages with the unseen civilization across the sea). The message on the slab reads: “Nice going – you just sank Bart’s dinghy!”

Who the hell is Bart, and what is the significance of his dinghy? I have googled this many times and found no reference.

Either there is some obscure historical or cultural reference that I am not aware of, or perhaps this is some sort on “in-joke” on Hart’s part. (It is said that the “B.C.” characters were modeled after real-life friends.) Or perhaps it is meant to simply be a nonsensical reference made just to drive readers like myself nuts.

I don’t think it’s a reference. I think it’s the same as if the note had said, “Thanks a lot! You sank my dinghy!” Bart is just some guy, you know?

Do you really think you could skip a stone accross an ocean and sink a dinghy at the opposite shore? Do you realy think the people at that shore could send you a message by just letting a slab float accross the ocean all the way back to you? If you skipped a stone on the water and these things happened, wouldn’t you be surprised? Wouldn’t it be even funnier that the name of the guy was Bart? Or do you really think it is normal for people around the world to have English nicnames?

I don’t know. I guess this is like the Washington Post: If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

      • It is known for religious themes–is there anyone named Bart in the Bible? (I am guessing…)

Bart is a short nickname for Bartholomew. I doubt people in the Bible went around calling each other by their nicknames. They probably did realize that they were part of a very solemn thing going on. Now I’ll let someone else find out exactly who was St. Bartholomew and tell us about his life and miracles.

This was long before Mr. Hart got involved in Christian Fundamentalism – at any rate, while there was a disciple named Bartholomew (in some of the N.T. contradictory references, anyway), I doubt he owned a dinghy. :slight_smile:

Regarding “sailor’s” comments – no, in probably many dozens of stips involving Peter’s writing exchanges with his unseen “pen pal” across the sea, no names are ever mentioned. The gag itself is not extremely funny, even without the name of the dinghy’s owner, and I don’t think Hart just pulled a name at random out of his hat – it doesn’t enchance the gag, and indeed obfuscates it a bit. There is some reference there that we are not getting, that Hart perhaps thought readers would recognize.

BTW, in reference to Hart’s Christian leanings, I’m thinking (and hoping) that he is drifting away from the more hard core aspects of his conversion. It has been quite a long time since there were any overt religious references in his strips, and the last few weeks/months there are signs of his old more cynical humor returning. Several recent gags and punch lines, while fairly innocent in and of themselves, seem to be of the sort that a really fundie Christian would avoid. Perhaps he is remembering that the stock in trade of his profession is to be FUNNY, not to preach.

I’d vote with Achernar; I have that collection (and most all of Hart’s collections) and I think it was just the humor of the era, as often seen on the Johnny Carson show: use of a first name to make something familiar, and thus funny.

Innat right, Jacko?


I think this is it on the nose. It’s just a bad joke; I don’t think there’s any hidden meaning in it.