Category Archives: Bob Hope

Laughter Is an Instant Vacation

Milton Berle? Bob Hope? Eugene P. Bertin? Connie Nelson? Robert Zwickey? Dale Turner? Anonymous?

vacation08Dear Quote Investigator: The comedian Milton Berle was a major star for decades on radio and then on television. The following insightful adage has been attributed to him:

Laughter is an instant vacation.

I have also seen these words credited to Bob Hope who was another top comedian with extraordinary longevity. Would you please explore this saying?

Quote Investigator: This expression was ascribed to Milton Berle in 1977, and in 1985 Bob Hope included the adage in an essay he wrote for the UPI news service. So linkages exist for both comedians, and full citations are given further below. Yet, the phrase was already in circulation before 1977.

The earliest evidence located by QI appeared in the “Pennsylvania School Journal” in 1968. A column called “Ravelin’s: Threads Detached from Texture” by Eugene P. Bertin stated that laughter was an “instant vacation”; however, the phrasing was not compact. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1

There is a purifying power in laughter. It is truth in palatable form. It is instant vacation. Seeing the comical side of many situations makes life a great deal easier. It’s like riding through life on sensitive springs that ease every jolt.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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Notes:

  1. 1968 April, Pennsylvania School Journal, Ravelin’s: Threads Detached from Texture by Eugene P. Bertin, Quote Page 450, Column 1, Published by The Pennsylvania State Education Association, Editorial offices: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (Verified with scans; thanks to great librarian at University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida)