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"The green line" (circa 1920)

Posted by Peter Sattler on April 18, 2004

I've been trying to find the meaning of the phrase "follow the green line."

Specifically, I've run across it in a Preface that Bud Fisher wrote in one of his "Mutt and Jeff" collections (No. 9, 1924). After hawking his wares, he writes in a postscript, "Follow the green line in passing out and charge your expenses to charity."

Now the only other "green line" references I know from this period has to do with drinking. In "The Camel's Back," Fitzgerald describes a party were people are told to "follow the green line," at the end of which the find booze in plain green bottles.

A quick web search turned up a similar reference. Writer John Dos Passos wrote this note on an invitation to one of his art shows: "Follow the green line to the cocktail shaker. Any person caught looking at a picture will be fined for infringement of rules."

But it doesn't make much sense with the Bud Fisher quote! So what gives? What's "the green line," in reference to drinking or shopping or charity or anything?

Thanks for the help,
Peter