Origins: This courtroom embarrassment tale teeters between joke and legend, with no real difference between the two versions other than that the latter is presented as a "true story." (It also lacks the "moral lesson" typical of many urban legends, save perhaps a warning to take important duties seriously.) This bit of humor has been used as sketch material for several television comedy/variety shows, most notably the very first episode of Saturday Night Live.
Last updated: 13 July 2007
Brunvand, Jan Harold. The Choking Doberman. New York: W. W. Norton, 1984. ISBN 0-393-30321-7 (pp. 141). Brunvand, Jan Harold. Too Good To Be True. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999. ISBN 0-393-04734-2 (pp. 152-153). Cerf, Bennett. The Laugh's on Me. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1959 (p. 285). Dale, Rodney. The Tumour in the Whale. London: Duckworth, 1978. ISBN 0-7156-1314-6 (p. 44). Emrich, Duncan. Folklore on the American Land. Boston: Little, Brown, 1972 (pp. 327-330). Smith, Paul. The Book of Nastier Legends. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986. ISBN 0-7102-0573-2 (p. 109). Torgenson, Dial. "Twice Told: The American Legends." Los Angeles Times. 6 January 1974 (p. 1). Reader's Digest. "Laughter, the Best Medicine." September 1968 (p. 97).
Also told in:
The Big Book of Urban Legends. New York: Paradox Press, 1994. ISBN 1-56389-165-4 (p. 135).