Comic Strip / Snuffy Smith

Snuffy Smith is a long-running newspaper comic about a hillbilly community. It originally began in 1919 as Barney Google, about a diminutive sportsman involved primarily in horse races. The strip reached mainstream popularity in The Roaring Twenties with the introduction of Barney's horse Spark Plug; The strip sparked a trend for continuity-laden comics such as Toots and Casper and Tillie the Toiler, while "Sparky" became a popular nickname for boys (including future cartoonist Charles Schulz), and a song about the title character and his "goo-goo-googly eyes" became a smash hit in 1923.

Once the Smith clan was introduced in the mid-1930s, however, Barney moved Out of Focus and was eventually written out of the strip entirely in favor of the more-popular Smith around 1954. The official name of the strip remains Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, even though the former character hasn't been a regular for 60 years.

The Smith clan is:
  • Snuffy, the patriarch. A thieving moonshiner.
  • Loweezy, the matriarch. Is the actual caretaker.
  • Jughaid, the oldest son. Usually seen in a coonskin cap.
  • Tater, the baby.

Has the distinction of being the oldest currently-running daily comic in newspaper print in the U.S., as The Katzenjammer Kids (running from 1897) runs only on Sundays, while Gasoline Alley (begun in 1918) ran originally as a Sunday-only panel.

Tropes featured include:

  • Alliterative Name
  • Anachronism Stew: The characters are usually seen listening to 1930's-era "cathedral shaped" radios.
  • Artifact Title: Barney Google and Snuffy Smith has been all-Snuffy, no-Barney for six decades.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A lot of characters from its early years have all but disappeared: Barney's wife divorced him shortly after the strip began, and his black jockey/valet Sunshine and his ostrich Rudy were written off after Barney left the big city.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Barney appeared for a week in 2012, after having not been seen for fifteen years; this was lampshaded by the sheriff asking him if he was an Internet entrepreneur. He has been seen more often since then.
  • Cutesy Name Town: Hootin' Holler
  • Deep South
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the strip's first year, Barney was taller and he had a wife (the ironically named "Sweet Woman") and a daughter. Both disappeared after a short time, and Mr. Google got more squat.
  • Eccentric Townsfolk
  • Genre Shift: The strip originally centered on Barney's sporting endeavors, turning to a hillbilly comedy after a couple of decades.
  • Gossipy Hens: Hootin' Holler is a small town that amuses itself by talking about itself. Seen with most of the town's women, especially Low'eezy and Elviney, and men too, except they don't call it gossip.
  • Literal-Minded: In one comic, Snuffy lands a Precision F-Strike when asked to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, then lampshades this trope after being reprimanded:
    Snuffy: Consarn it, Judge, you're the one who told me to swear!
  • Name and Name: Officially, at least...
  • Preacher Man: Parson Tuttle
  • The Sheriff: Sheriff Tait is one of the strip's regular characters.
  • Shout-Out: Google was mentioned when Barney reappeared in 2012, as noted above.
  • World War II: Snuffy was featured serving in the Army during the conflict, which was a turning point in Barney becoming more and more of a secondary character.