Loose Talk At City Hall – 1981

Crabmans Special Report590This was my first editorial comic strip, published in The Nevada City Independent in 1981. The big issue of the day was Nevada City’s open container law. Yeah, that’s right, newbies…you used to be able to drink a cold one right on the street! With all those new breweries opening up, maybe it’s time to bring the old tradition back. (Don’t hold your breath!)

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5 Responses to Loose Talk At City Hall – 1981

  1. Greg Goodknight says:

    People even were once allowed to smoke on Broad Street. I mean, out in the open. Tobacco! With no shame!

  2. steve cottrell says:


    I didn’t realize that that was your first multi-panel editorial strip in the Independent. Wow! That’s like a pitcher throwing a no-hitter in his Major League debut. What a great strip –– and so much fun to look at and read thirty-three years later.

    I remember those meetings well, including the night that some folks who opposed to the open container ordinance sat in front of City Hall drinking beer prior to a council meeting, then walked upstairs to the old council chambers with cans of beer and sat in the audience drinking while the council discussed the ordinance. Chief Beard showed what I thought was a proper level of discretion that night and did not confiscate the beer.

    That may have been the same night that a certain councilman stood up, pulled off his sports coat, and began to go after an audience member who had made an unkind reference to the bar patronage of the councilman’s wife? Now THAT was a testy meeting.

    In ’81, I was editor of the old Nevada County edition of the Mountain Messenger, and I recall our headline after the city council voted down the proposed ordinance: “NC Council Cans Open Container Ordinance.”

    And people think city council meetings are interesting now? Phew! They can’t hold a candle to some of those meetings in the early ’80s.

    Thanks for posting the strip.

  3. rlcrabb says:

    Steve -I may have done a few multi-panel comics before this, but I believe that this was the first one covering a council meeting. I remember Cathy and Glenda approaching me after the meeting and asking if I was the Independent’s new reporter. (Well, not exactly!) And yes, this was the meeting that Ernie and Jim almost came to blows, right in front of where I was sitting. Being the new kid on the block, I refrained from drawing it into the strip. After I got a little more confident, I did start drawing things like the mayor falling asleep during the meeting.

  4. Riki Colby says:

    I love reading your long ago work…

    • Robert Lovejoy says:

      Crabbie’s recent work ain’t half bad either. However, Crabb was closer to his last acid flashback then than he is now. By Golly, I hope our beloved and much respected RL Crabb doesn’t loose his touch now that he has come out of the shadows of darkness and onto the sunny side of the street.

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