Bringing Up Father was an influential comic strip created by George McManus that ran from January 12, 1913 to May 28, 2000. Some readers, however, called the strip Jiggs and Maggie after its two main characters.
The humor centers around Irishman Jiggs, who comes into wealth in the United States. Even so, he still wants to keep his old pals, eat corned beef and cabbage (known regionally as "Jiggs dinner") and hang out at the tavern, much to the consternation of his social-climbing wife, Maggie, and daughter Nora. McManus's clean-line cartooning and strong sense of design made the strip a stand-out on the comics page.
McManus was inspired by The Rising Generation, a musical comedy by William Gill that he had seen as a boy in St. Louis, Missouri's Grand Opera House, where his father was manager. In The Rising Generation, Irish-American bricklayer Martin McShayne (played by the fat Irish comedian Billy Barry in the production McManus saw) becomes a wealthy contractor, yet his society-minded wife and daughter were ashamed of him and his buddies, prompting McShayne to sneak out to join his pals for poker. McManus knew Barry and used him as the basis for his drawings of Jiggs. McManus' wife, the former Florence Bergere, was the model for daughter Nora.
One of McManus' friends, restaurateur James Moore, claimed he was the inspiration for the character Dinty Moore, the owner of Jiggs' favorite tavern. James Moore changed his name to Dinty and founded a real-life restaurant chain. The restaurant owner, however, did not begin the successful line of Dinty Moore canned goods marketed today by Hormel.
Comics historian Don Markstein wrote about McManus' characters:
When McManus died, the strip continued with other artists, including Bill Kavanaugh and Frank Fletcher. It was expected that McManus' longtime assistant Zeke Zekley would take over the strip, but instead King Features Syndicate replaced McManus with Vernon Greene. With Greene's death in 1965, Hal Campagna stepped in, and Frank Johnson (Boner's Ark) replaced Campagna in 1980. The strip's popularity faded, and Bringing Up Father limped along until its 87-year run came to a close on May 28, 2000.
In 1995, the strip was one of 20 included in the Comic Strip Classics series of commemorative US postage stamps. Bringing Up Father went digital in 2007 when King Features made the strip available as one of the selections in its DailyINK email package.
Bringing Up Father still enjoys popularity in the Scandinavian country Norway; known as Fiinbeck og Fia, the strip has been published weekly in the family journal Hjemmet since 1921; a yearly Christmas book with the strip is published every year since 1930, in the last few decades mostly consisting of reprint material produced by McManus in the 1940s and 1950s. A similar publication was also a yearly event in Sweden during 1931-77, where the strip is known as Gyllenbom.
Sponsored by Lever Brothers, the Bringing Up Father radio series aired on the Blue Network from July 1 to September 30, 1941, presenting the misadventures of Maggie (Agnes Moorehead), Jiggs (Mark Smith, Neil O'Malley) and their daughter Nora (Helen Shields, Joan Banks). Craig McDonnell (1907-56) portrayed Dinty Moore. The 30-minute program aired on Tuesdays at 9pm.
The following movies, both titled Bringing Up Father, were based on the strip:
In 2009, NBM reprinted the first two years of the daily strip as part of their "Forever Nuts" series: Forever Nuts Presents Bringing Up Father, ISBN 1-56163-556-1.
IDW Publishing's "Library of American Comics" imprint is reprinting the cross-country tour storyline that ran from January 1939 to July 1940. Bringing Up Father: From Sea to Shining Sea (ISBN 1-60010-508-4) was published by IDW in November 2009.