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dr bartolo
830168.  Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:39 am Reply with quote

Question:
how did the joker in a pack of cards evolve?

KLAXON: the fool in the tarot deck

the real answer is the game of euchre.
in the 1880s,players of the game of euchre (pron. juker) decided that the agme would be much improved by the addition of an extra card that functioned as a top trump.

to prove this point, some of the early jokers have the legend "this card takes either bower" or "best bower" printed upon them (the bower, from the german bauer, farmer, are the [otherwise] top trumps in the game)

http://plainbacks.com/I71-I80/Slide1.JPG
http://plainbacks.com/I31-I40/Slide3.JPG
note prescence of "best bower"' cards in the pictures


Last edited by dr bartolo on Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:59 am; edited 1 time in total

 
rewboss
830175.  Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:29 am Reply with quote

dr bartolo wrote:
Question:
how did the joker in a pack of cards evolve?

KLAXON: the fool in the tarot deck


Is that not a bit unfair even for QI? The idea of a card that trumps all may have evolved from Euchre, but the image of the court jester used on the Joker card may well be Tarot's fool. Perhaps a subtle rewording of the question?

 
dr bartolo
830414.  Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:12 am Reply with quote

OK, I accept that possibility. but a more likely explanation is that the jester was thaight to be an ideal compliment for the 12 "court' cards.
http://www.wopc.co.uk/usa/hart/index.html the third deck of cards from the top: note the prescence of the "imperial bower, or highest trump card"

http://plainbacks.com/I21-I30/Slide5.JPG
http://plainbacks.com/I41-I50/Slide3.JPG this deck is from 1890.

 
rewboss
830419.  Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:33 am Reply with quote

Right, it's disputed. It certainly, as you say, makes the ideal addition to the "court cards", but on the other hand, if the idea that "Joker" comes from a mispronunciation of "Juker" is correct, that may be just a convenient coincidence.

I'm thinking just a devious rewording of the question. "What is the origin of the joker card?" would be my suggestion: "Tarot's fool" is still klaxonable, naturally leading to the explanation that the question is about the card, not the image on the card.

 
dr bartolo
830553.  Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:28 am Reply with quote

rewboss wrote:

I'm thinking just a devious rewording of the question. "What is the origin of the joker card?" would be my suggestion: "Tarot's fool" is still klaxonable, naturally leading to the explanation that the question is about the card, not the image on the card.


I rest my case.

BUT, there I put forth the following

observation-the earliest jokers that are depicted as jesters come from the 1880s

1- common sense dictates that the largest source of the tarot (or similar) packs was German or Hungarian immigrants .
2- the the fools in tarock packs used by the said immigrants ls generally depicted as a harlequin.

THEREFORE, the proof needed for the [dis]proving of this case is an image of the earliest jester-joker that comes down to us, and see wether it looks like aforesaid card.

 
Spud McLaren
832295.  Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:46 am Reply with quote

A joker of a different kind - Ephraim Bee, who through a practical joke, called into being a Benevolent Society, E Clampus Vitus.

 
Spud McLaren
832323.  Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:13 pm Reply with quote

Now I know in the index under the J series header it says, "Not japes, jests or jokes ...", but come now, with a panel of mainly (if not all) comedians, we must surely find time for a jokers, jocularity and joviality episode? Possibly little-known facts about famous comedians?

E.g.:

Les Dawson - "Before his fame Dawson wrote poetry and kept it secret. It was not expected that someone of his working class background would harbour such literary ambitions. In a BBC TV documentary about his life, he spoke of his love for some canonical figures in English literature, in particular the 19th Century essayist Charles Lamb, whose somewhat florid style influenced Dawson's own...Dawson wrote many novels but was always regarded solely as an entertainer in the public imagination, and this saddened him. He told his second wife, Tracey, "Always remind them - I was a writer too"."

[Wiki]

 
rewboss
832337.  Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:48 pm Reply with quote

OK, which joker once ruled Scotland? Klaxon: Alex Salmond, Malcom Rifkind and Idi Amin.

Answer: George Buchanan, jester to King James VI of Scotland. King James often didn't bother to read any documents he was signing, until Buchanan got him to sign a document in which he abdicated for fifteen days, handing his kingdom over to Buchanan for that time.

Jesters and licenced fools were not purely for entertainment. Since they had no vested interests in the way of land, wealth, power or status, they were often a monarch's most trusted advisers. They were also the best people to ask to break bad news to the monarch, and, as long as they were careful, were in a better position than most to tell the ruler a few home truths. Even today, you might argue that this heritage survives in the tradition of political satire.

 
Spud McLaren
832344.  Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:27 pm Reply with quote

Wonderful!

rewboss wrote:
They were also the best people to ask to break bad news to the monarch...
"The best example of this is in 1340, when the French fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Sluys by the English. Phillippe VI's jester told him the English sailors "don't even have the guts to jump into the water like our brave French.""

-Wiki, again

 
Phantom2448
832367.  Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:56 pm Reply with quote

Then of course you could always add The Joker, Batman's arch-nemesis, who was a psychotic nut at the best of times.

 
Neotenic
832451.  Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:57 am Reply with quote

Some people call me the space cowboy.
Yeah! Some call me the gangster of love.
Some people call me Maurice,
Cause I speak of the Pompatus of love.

Straight dope article on the origins of the baffling word 'pompatus' in Steve Miller's 'The Joker'.

 
Riddley
832617.  Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:43 pm Reply with quote

Speaking of Les Dawson. I have read a few things online about him at the Empire Theatre in Sunderland. Wikipedia explains:
Quote:
Sid James famously suffered a heart attack during a performance of The Mating Season on 26 April 1976 and died on the way to hospital. Later it was rumoured that his ghost was in the dressing room he occupied on the night of his death; after one experience during a gig there, the comedian Les Dawson refused to play the venue again

Does anyone know anything more about this? I realise that Dawson's on-stage persona would not be his real one, but he seemed to be the last person I would expect to be "spooked" in such a way.

 
Zebra57
832661.  Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:09 am Reply with quote

A number of QI threads to follow on this post:

James VI of Scotland was prone to periods of insanity and almost certainly suffered from porphyria which he inherited from his mother via the French royal family (eg, Charles the Mad). This condition caused his succession to the English throne to be called into question. At times Buchanan was often the only person he would listen to.

The good doctor's link to the 12 court cards throws up an interesting point. In a recent television programme on UK ITV "Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" it asked:
"How many kings in a pack of playing cards have beards?"
The answer was three with the King of Hearts not having a beard. Does this require a klaxxon?

The Joker can show a jester or fool but may show other pictures and tends to vary from country to country.

Les Dawson apart from being a novelist was a very good pianist (not just his joking stage act). Like many multi-talented entertainers he was "typecast" into one area of his ability.

 
rewboss
832686.  Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:14 am Reply with quote

Zebra57 wrote:
Les Dawson apart from being a novelist was a very good pianist (not just his joking stage act).


Yes: it actually requires a lot of skill to deliberately play the piano badly.

 
djgordy
832701.  Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:53 am Reply with quote

I am an extremely skillful piano player.

 

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