Saturday, January 2, 2010

Weary Willie and Tired Tim

Weary Willie and Tired Tim were a pair of idle cartoon tramps who would rather burgle than work. They were created by Tom Browne (1870-1910) for Alfred Harmsworth’s comic Illustrated Chips no. 298 on 16 May 1896. At first they were known as Weary Waddles and Tired Timmy. The characters brought the circulation of Illustrated Chips to 600,000 copies a week. Browne created other comics for Harmsworth and was paid well for the period; £150 per week. Weary Willie and Tired Tim occupied the front page of Chips until 1953.

The name Weary Willie was also used as an American slang term for a tramp, probably introduced by way of international music hall touring acts as those of Fred Karno, who featured another famous tramp, Charlie Chaplin, in his stage acts. The famous clown Emmett Kelly, a former cartoonist, had a character called Weary Willie who featured in circuses, television and movies.

Above: Cycling Magazine 1 September 1900

Above: Pick-Me-Up 15 Dec 1900


  1. Where is the actual evidence for 600,000 a week?
    Where is the evidence for £150 a week? That's far too high.
    And Tom Browne didn't create 'comics' for Harmsworth or anyone else. He drew comic'sets', either from his own scripts or someone's scripts written by others. The 'comics' were created by Harmsworth and his editors.
    'Weary Willie'- and 'Tired Tim' - were English slang terms (maybe American too, but English first it seems.)

  2. See >