Books: His Better Half

RUBE GOLDBERG

by PETER C. MARZIO

322 pages. Harper & Row. $12.50.

By the 1920s he was widely syndicated, a national institution more or less on a par with his friends Ring Lardner, Will Rogers and Charlie Chaplin. His grand subjects were the quirks of everyday life, things like the difficulty of navigating through revolving doors.or reading a medical thermometer. But Rube Goldberg's zany imagination and zippy drawing style really blossomed with the Inventions of Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts—those incredible falling domino devices that poke fun at the complex concatenations of modern technology by...

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