Dinty Moore: Man, or meal?

Dinty Moore beef stew advertisement


Plus: two fictional characters, and lots of restaurants.

Originally, though, Dinty Moore was a character. He was created for the comic strip Bringing Up Father, which was popular back in the 1920s and ’30s. The main characters were Jiggs and Maggie; Dinty Moore was the keeper of the tavern where Jiggs met up with his friends.

NYC restaurateur James Moore, a friend of the strip’s creator, believed he was the inspiration behind the character. So, to capitalize on the popularity of the strip, he changed his restaurant’s name to Dinty Moore’s.

Others followed suit, and soon “Dinty’s Moore’s” restaurants could be found in various parts of the country.

In 1935, Hormel began using the name for a canned beef-and-gravy product that cost 15 cents a can. (And, in the ’60s and ’70s, commercials for Hormel’s Dinty Moore beef stew introduced the second Dinty Moore character: an animated lumberjack.)

While all this was going on, several dozen baby boys with the surname Moore were given the first name Dinty.

One example is Dinty G. Moore (1927-2013) of Ohio.

Another example is American essayist Dinty Moore, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1955. “Why my mother thought naming me after a comic strip was a good idea is a secret she took to the grave,” he said. But he also insisted that he doesn’t mind having the name:

“The name is more of a gift than a burden, or at least that’s the way I’ve decided to approach it. People are amused, and when they are amused they smile, and smiling makes them think they like me, so I am more popular than I deserve to be.”


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