Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Legend: A mysterious bolt in a bedroom floor turns out to be holding up the chandelier in the room below.
Origins: Prior to the "nosy daughters" version quoted above, this tale circulated in two main forms. In one, newlyweds fearing someone had bugged the bridal suite as a prank unscrew a suspicious-looking bolt in the floor. Only the next morning do they discover their action sent a light fixture crashing down onto a couple in bed in the room below or a massive chandelier to its thousand-piece demise on the marble floor of the hotel lobby.
An equally popular version about diplomats on a mission to Moscow is also in circulation. A search of their hotel room reveals to the travellers the presence of a large knob clumsily hidden under a rug. The clever trade delegates remove it, then toss what they presume to be a microphone out a window, congratulating themselves on having foiled their eavesdroppers. Moments later, the KGB is pounding on their door, but not to replace the "bug." No, it seems the visitors caused a large chandelier to come crashing down onto the dancers in the hotel's ballroom.
One telling attributes the Russian incident to hockey star Phil Esposito, placing it during a leg of the 1972 Canada-Russia series when Team Canada was in Moscow. This version, however, surfaces in 1985 and 1996 books, so we don't know if it was told in 1972 or is just now being told about 1972. What is known, however, is the same story (minus Esposito) surfaced in a 1965 joke book, and as an anecdote told by Admiral of the Fleet
Barbara "truth Orr dare" Mikkelson
Last updated: 27 December 2004
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