W. C. Fields? Clifford Terry? Corey Ford? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: The famous comedian W. C. Fields apparently told a hilarious joke about whiskey. Here are three versions:
(1) I always carry a flask of whisky in case of snake bite. I also carry a small snake.
(2) I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake—which I also keep handy.
(3) I always keep a flagon of whiskey handy in case I see a snake — which I also keep handy.
No one seems to know the actual phrasing employed by Fields. Would you please help me to find a citation?
Quote Investigator: During the 1930s W. C. Fields developed a comedy routine called “The Temperance Lecture” which included the snakebite gag, but the contents of the routine and the phrasing of the gag varied.
In 1946 Fields recorded a version of “The Temperance Lecture”. The audio is accessible via YouTube and Spotify. Fields described the dire effects of overindulging in alcohol. One time he awoke to discover a goat in his bed and a manhole cover resting on his head. So he decided to quit, but he misunderstood the cause of his problems. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:YouTube video, Title: W.C. Fields Temperance Lecture, Uploaded on October 20, 2011, Uploaded by: records45ful, Description from uploader: “Here is the 1946 classic recording of W.C. Fields, on 4 … Continue reading
Right then and there I swore that I would never again poison my system with maraschino cherries. Two weeks later I slipped and had another, but you must believe me when I say I thought it was a seedless grape.
I washed it down with some snakebite remedy which I always keep handy. Only, however, after first being bitten by a snake which I also keep handy.
Below are selected citations in chronological order.
|↑1||YouTube video, Title: W.C. Fields Temperance Lecture, Uploaded on October 20, 2011, Uploaded by: records45ful, Description from uploader: “Here is the 1946 classic recording of W.C. Fields, on 4 sides. On Variety V 101. (3 record set)”, (Quotation starts at 8 minutes 21 seconds of 10 minutes 55 seconds) (Accessed on youtube.com on June 26, 2022) link|