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"The green line" (circa 1920)

Posted by ESC on April 19, 2004

In Reply to: "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

I couldn't find anything in my references. I googled "maps" "follow the green line" and found:

The first Green Line referred to the 1949 armistice line between Israel and the Arab nations (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt) following Israel's 1948 War of Independence. The term "Green Line Israel" refers to these borders that lasted from 1949 until the 1967 Six Days War.

The term "Green Line" also refers to the line of demarcation that divides the Cypriot capital of Nicosia into the the southern Greek Cypriot region and the northern Turkish Cypriot region that was created following the 1974 invasion by Turkey that created the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

The Green Line was also a line of demarcation in Beirut, Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War from 1975 to 1990. It served to separate the Muslim Lebanese in West Beirut from the Christian Lebanese in East Beirut. It was so named because the line was always drawn in green on local maps. Many of the buildings along the Green Line were severely damaged or destroyed during the war. Since the end of hostilities, however, many of the buildings have been rebuilt.

Green Line can also refer to a line on any number of mass transit systems (of those systems that are referred to by color), including those of Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, D.C. and Boston. The name was used by London Transport to describe their express bus services from country areas to central London; these are now operated by a private company, but the name has been retained.