Here's an experiment in creative use of the Comments feature. I want Language Log readers to help me try and find the earliest print occurrence of something that is just about impossible to search for. Here is our question: When was the first use in print of the device of punctuating the words or phrases in a sentence as separate sentences to show dramatically reduced speech rate? I. mean. Like. This. You can see a good example in the third panel of this PartiallyClips strip by Rob Balder. (Notice how hard it would be to find that using Google.) When did the use of this device start? I know it has been mentioned on Language Log, a year or so back, but I can't find the post and remember little about it except that finding the earliest occurrence was not mentioned.
Here's how we work: I start things off by giving a citation I just found from ten years ago. On page 28 of Robert Harris's novel Archangel (Hutchinson, London, 1998, hardback edition), a character who was tortured for a long time to get information out of him says with pride, "Not a word, boy. You listening? They did not get. One. Single. Word." That's the usage I'm talking about. So it's at least ten years old. Now, if you can find an occurrence that is earlier than that, and earlier than all the ones above yours in the list of comments below (if there are any yet), kindly supply the details. If this works right, we should get a list of successively older occurrences, each older than 1998 and older than all the ones preceding it. There should be no random chat about other interesting things about punctuation, or speculations about how they do this in Japanese, or reports about someone's pet parrot being able to read the newspaper, or any other irrelevant stuff. Just steadily older and older citations of uses of this typographical device. Got it? This will make the comments feature a really useful research tool, as opposed to being a sort of electronic toilet stall wall with free magic markers. That's. What. I. Want.