Throwback Thursday: A pair of “Lovairs”

Love is in the air, and you’ve got two days left to catch it. For some romantic inspiration, we found a nice-looking couple in our 1956 Aesculapian yearbook and a 1950s pop culture reference that just has to be explained.

Image courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine Archives.

Image courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine Archives.

Unless there’s an incredible coincidence, the caption of this picture is a joking reference to a minor character appearing in the long-running newspaper comic strip “Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.” Thanks to the archives at newspapers.com, we have the full story. For a handful of strips in May and June of 1956, Pierre Lovair, a French violinist and novelist, moved to the Appalachian mountain town of Hootin’ Holler, bringing his French accent and scandalous Bermuda shorts with him. Like the man in our photo, he was the object of affection for the women of Hootin’ Holler, as evidenced by the song Snuffy Smith’s wife Loweezy sings about him:

Oh, Pierre, Pierre Lovair
wif th’ wax moustache
an’ th’ purty black hair,
I sigh leetle sighs
when he cuts them eyes
an’ ‘possum grins at me.

The song proves to fan the flames of jealousy in Snuffy, who responds

He better watch his step
or, by thunder!!
Ol’ Pierre will end up
Six feet under.

Hopefully the pair in our photo had a more pleasant relationship.

Interestingly, at the end of the character’s short time in Hootin’ Holler, Pierre receives a letter that calls him away to Texas and he is never seen again. Perhaps his acceptance letter to a certain medical school came in?

Happy Valentine’s Day.

– By Andy Phifer

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