Myths & Apocrypha
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The Dogging Myth
Bummer & Lazarus were the Emperor's companions--not!

Source credit: Bummer & Lazarus San Francisco's Famous Dogs
by Malcolm E. Barker

The Lassie quality dog story of Bummer & Lazarus is well worth a read. [Visit the book link above.]
Herb Caen lauded Barker's definitive work as "A wonderful addition to the shelf of Sanfriscana!"

We consider Mr. Barker's work holy writ in its meticulous separation of fact from fallacy.
     Bummer & Lazarus were not Emperor Norton-1's dogs.
     They were their own dogs.
     They were officially sanctioned dogs by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors (16 June 1862)*
     They were His Majesty's contemporaries, loyal subjects, equally beloved by the citizenry,
          but their story is a separate, intersecting one.

*Had they been the Emperor's pets, no city proclamation would have been needed to protect them--duh?!

Ultimately, it's not a treasonous act of subversion to mislink the nobility exhibited in these three San Franciscans' lives. The association is understandable after so many years and yarns. A few of Edward Jump's satirical cartoons of the time contain all three actors which Barker and others have sited as contributing to their historic misassociation, most notably the free lunch counter illustration and "Funeral of Lazarus" (in which Norton-1 is depicted as presiding eulogist).

Infamous Lunch Counter illustration
(Lazarus carried on bier followed by Bummer.)
Funeral of Lazarus detail
One might also extrapolate peerage from the over-the-top obituaries they each received in the papers. The samples below suggest they were all profoundly important to the community--in a clear sense, royalty.
Lazarus : “Lazarus has risen, and is stuffed [taxidermy]... Bright dogs can never die! Lazarus sits in state.
...two dogs with but a single bark, two tails that wagged as one, a death and a separation.”
[The Daily Evening Bulletin, 26 October 1863

Bummer: "...There is no longer any use of withholding from the public the appalling fact that 'Bummer' is dead!
...for Death had his grip upon old 'Bummer,' and no earthly power could 'wake him to glory again.'"
[The Daily Examiner, 4 November 1865]

Norton-1: "Le Roi Est Mort. Imperial Norton is dead and turned to clay.
     ...Thousands flocked thither for a last look at the man... of imaginary majesty, Emperor of the United States, Protector of Mexico and prospective consort of the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India...
      The floral tributes, wreaths and bouquets were so numerous as to completely cover the coffin lid, the only exception being the silver plate..."
[San Francisco Chronicle, January 11, 1880]    (Le Roi Est Mort = The King is Dead.)

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