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R. D. JONES And His Sewing Machine
   
The following is an ad from a real-life newspaper which appeared four days in a row - the last three hopelessly trying to correct the first day's mistake.
   
MONDAY:
   
For sale: R. D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Phone 948-0707 after 7 P.M.. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who lives with him cheap.
   
TUESDAY:
   
Notice: We regret having erred In R. D. Jones' ad yesterday. It should have read "One sewing machine for sale cheap. Phone 948-0707 and ask for Mrs. Kelly, who lives with him after 7 P.M."
   
WEDNESDAY:
   
Notice: R. D. Jones has informed us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because of the error we made in the classified ad yesterday. The ad stands correct as follows: "For sale -- R. D. Jones has one sewing machine for sale. Cheap. Phone 948-0707 after 7 P.M. and ask for Mrs. Kelly who loves with him."
   
THURSDAY:
   
Notice: I, R. D. Jones, have no sewing machine for sale. I intentionally broke it. Don't call 948-0707 as I have had the phone disconnected. I have not been carrying on with Mrs. Kelly. Until yesterday she was my housekeeper, but she has now quit.


A female newscaster is interviewing the leader of a youth club:
Interviewer: "So, Mr. Jones, what are you going to do with these children on this adventure holiday?"
Mr. Jones: "We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, and shooting."
Interviewer: "Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?"
Mr. Jones: "I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the range."
Interviewer: "Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?"
Mr. Jones: "I don't see how, we will be teaching them proper range discipline before they even touch a firearm."
Interviewer: "But you're equipping them to become violent killers."
Mr. Jones: "Well, you're equipped to be a prostitute but you're not one, are you?"


AS A television writer/researcher, I was working on an item that involved a debate. At the last minute it was cancelled, and I had to notify the participants, one of whom was named Singer. Telephoning his office, I was surprised to hear a pleasant female voice rattle off an unfamiliar company name. "Oh no," I said, realizing I had misdialed, "you don't sound like a Singer." "Heck no," she shot back. "We're not even allowed to hum around here."


A FRIEND of mine, a newscaster in Victoria had triumphantly passed the inaugural three months at a new job without referring to his former radio station, and considered himself out of the danger zone. But one morning, to his horror, he heard himself announcing: "And it's currently 23 degrees in beautiful downtown Edmonton." Recovering quickly he added, "What a coincidence! It's also 23 degrees here in beautiful downtown Victoria."


A FREE-LANCE writer working at home, I squeeze in my household chores between assignments — not always with the best results. For example, there was the day I overheard my sons talking as they came home from school. "I'm starved," said one. "I hope there's something good for dinner." Replied the other, "Well, do you smell anything in the oven or do you hear the typewriter?"


JUST before he was to go on the air, a radio announcer grabbed a news wire story about an African leader who had been assassinated. Realizing too late that he couldn't pronounce the deceased's name, the reporter sputtered "His name is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin."


FORMER NBC news correspondent Judy Woodruff once had a chat with an oil rich Saudi sheik. At a dinner attended by members of the press accompanying former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on a visit to Saudi Arabia, the sheik expressed interest in the earning power of ABC's Barbara Walters. "Is it true that she earns a million dollars a day?" he asked. ''No, no," Woodruff replied. "It's about a million dollars a year. " "Oh," said the Saudi, his interest in Walters obviously waning. "Only a year.


I AM a disc jockey and one night when I was at the controls, a record began to skip. Before I could react, the needle scraped across the entire song leaving me with "dead-air" silence, a D.J.'s worst enemy. I grabbed the mike and shouted over the air: "All right which one of you listeners at home just bumped your radio and made my record skip?" After my little face-saving joke, I played another song. A few minutes later the switchboard operator came in to say that three people had called to apologize.


As A weekend disc jockey on our local radio station, I got pretty bored talking to a microphone for seven hours at a time. One Sunday I decided I would ask listeners to call me so I'd know that I wasn't alone. Five phone calls later, one of which was from my mother and another from my grandmother, I told listeners that unless I got more calls they would hear a grown woman cry on the air. A call came in as I started the next record. When I answered the phone, a friendly male voice said, "You are going to be thrilled to death. You've got forty listeners here!" After I expressed my delight, he said, "Yup. I've got the radio on in the barn for my cows."


WHEN I was a magazine editor, a young man approached me about a staff-writer position. He had studied dramatic arts in college, had been a professional actor, and also sang and played the guitar at local restaurants. "How come," I asked, "with all that talent and experience, you want to switch to a nine-to-five writer's job?" He started explaining that he enjoyed the arts, and writing was an art he'd always wanted to try, and so on. Suddenly he stopped his spiel, looked me in the eye and grinned. "Let's face it," he said. "I'm starving, and I'm trying desperately to get into a rut." I hired him.


OLYMPIC gold medalist Darrell Pace was to give an archery exhibition in New York's Central Park, and the event received coverage by all the TV stations. Shooting steel-tipped hunting arrows, Pace punctured bull's-eyes without a miss. Then he called for a volunteer. "All you have to do," said Pace, "is hold this apple in your hand, waist-high." ABC correspondent Josh Howell took a bold step forward. He stood there, a small apple in his hand, a larger one in his throat. Pace took aim at 30 meters as we all held our breath. Then thwack — a clean hit that exploded the apple before striking the target behind. Everybody applauded Howell, who was all smiles — until his cameraman approached with a hang dog look. "I'm sorry, Josh," he said. "I didn't get it. Had a problem with my view finder. Could you do it again?"


I'VE always suspected that some disc jockeys are long on conversation, but short on knowledge. My theory was borne out as I listened to the local radio station in a small Indiana town. "And now," the deejay announced, "here's the theme music from 'War and Peace' — by Leo Tolstoy and his orchestra."


TELEVISION comedy writers never hesitate to practice their trade on one another.  I was working on an NBC variety show with 11 other writers and made the mistake of showing up in funny looking saddle shoes.  My colleagues kidded me mercilessly.  Finally, I thought a joke of my own might stop the attack. "Sure, you can kid me if you want," I said, "but these shoes were given to me by my father on his death bed."   "What did he die of?" one gagster replied.   "Embarrassment?"


WHEN Toronto Sun president Douglas Creighton and his wife, Marilyn, were heading home from Texas after buying The Houston Post, customs officials asked the usual questions: "Did you buy anything, ma'am?" "Just a newspaper."


MY FAVORITE open-line radio talk show was hosted by Dean Tower, a family counselor. One day a child asked, "How can I get my parents to increase my allowance?" The counselor asked the boy how much money was involved, how reliably he carried out his responsibilities, and what he was required to buy with his allowance. He then advised the boy to discuss these points with his parents. As the counselor was about to say he thought the boy's request a reasonable one, there was a silence on the air. Only then did he realize he had been talking to his own son!


ONCE when John Clare was editor of the now defunct Star Weekly in Toronto, a member of his staff confessed that he enjoyed writing magazine articles but didn't like having them edited. Clare stared at the man, disbelieving. "Goodness gracious," he said, or some such "that's like a ball player being shy of round objects."


SEVERAL years ago I worked for a Hollywood television network where numerous changes were being made in top management — firings, hirings, resignations, transfers. One day, in the midst of this upheaval, my supervisor said to his secretary, "I'm going out to eat. If the boss calls, find out who he is and tell him I'll call back."


WHEN we needed a writer/editor for our small office, our manager included us in the screening process. The field was narrowed to three equally qualified candidates. The manager then read us a line from one of the cover letters: "I've been with this company for six years and am not in a senior position." Said our manager, "This guy is frustrated by his lack of progress and has the gumption to say so. He's our man." The fellow was hired and did fit in well. Months later I told him he owed his job to his cover letter's candour, and I showed him the winning line. "What a way to land a job," he told me. "It was supposed to say, 'I've been with this company for six years and I am now in a senior position."


I WAS an intern for a large professional journal and was concerned that my first article would not measure up. My anxiety increased when I walked into my editor's office and saw that his "In" box was labeled "Sows' Ears"; the "Out" box was labeled "Silk Purses."


FINDING myself with time to spare after retiring from 43 years in the newspaper business, I phoned the proper county authority, explained my background as a reporter and editor, and said that I would like to get involved in their literacy program.  There was a pause at the other end.  Finally a voice asked, "Okay, but do you want to teach or join a class?"


A NEWSPAPER publisher sent a telegram to a noted astronomer:  WIRE COLLECT IMMEDIATELY FIVE HUNDRED.  WORDS ON WHETHER THERE IS LIFE ON MARS.  The astronomer dutifully replied: NOBODY KNOWS - 250 times.


AS PRODUCER of the "Charlie Brown" TV specials, I'm always listening for new voices for the characters. While waiting to board a plane, I heard this fantastic voice from a young boy who looked about six or seven years old. I secretly started to follow him around the airport so that I could hear more. Suddenly his mother looked at me very suspiciously, and then angrily. I hastily presented my business card.  "Why are you following us?" she demanded, ignoring the card.  "Look," I started to reply. "I produce the Charlie Brown TV shows and —"  "We don't have a TV, and who's Charlie Brown? Now just what's going on here?"  "Well, if you'll just call the number on my card there, I'd like to audition your son and see. . ."   She started fuming. "If you don't leave us alone, I'm calling the airport police," she said, and she stormed off with her son.  I suppose I picked one of the few mothers in America who had never heard of Charlie Brown.


AT THE insistence of a reporter, a wealthy man finally decided to reveal the secret of his success. "I became rich selling homing pigeons," he said.  "Really?" replied the amazed reporter. "How many did you start with"  "Only one," the millionaire answered, "but he kept coming back."


THE city editor of the Omaha World-Herald handed the unpopular job of writing the annual Father's Day piece to my colleague Ralph Smith, an independent minded veteran of the rewrite desk. Grumbling sourly, Smitty quickly whipped out his response: "This is Father's Day. It is also the day when this reporter was to have his story in the paper about Father's Day "On Father's Day, a father can do as he wishes. "This reporter is a father. He doesn't want to write a story. On Father's Day he can't be compelled to." To the delight of readers and Smitty's long suffering colleagues, the editor ran the by-lined "story" on page one, all editions.


A TORONTO disc jockey received the following letter: "Please let me know as fast as possible the title of a song you played last week. I'm not sure whether it was Tuesday or Thursday. Perhaps it was Wednesday. It was a polka or a waltz, but it may have been a fox trot. The lyrics were wonderful, although I can't remember what they said. I'm sorry I didn't catch the name of the composer nor of the singer. On second thought, I'm not too sure if it was your station, but give me the information anyway since I want to buy the record."


EVERY author fears that arch foe, the rejection slip. In China, one economic journal has reportedly come up with a "Thanks, but no thanks" note that has real style: "We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of a lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that, in the next thousand years, we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sightedness and timidity."


THE 11 p.m. news team of our television station received a surprise visit one night from a lovely young celebrity who was in town to promote her newest movie. The actress managed to arrive just in time to be squeezed into the final segment of the show. Just before airtime, however, the producer realized that her blue slacks were going to disappear into the blue background. When he complained that her entire lower body would be invisible on the screen, a hand appeared out of nowhere holding a brown skirt. So the celebrity appeared on the show in a brown skirt, while the anchor woman finished up the news behind her desk-in her beige blouse and lacey black slip.


A FOREIGN journalist in Gdansk, Poland, covering the Solidarity congress in September 1981, wanted to phone London. The hotel telephone operator was not very encouraging. "That'll take two days," she said. "Two days?" "On whose behalf are you making the call?" asked the operator. "Well, you might say on behalf of Solidarity," said the journalist. "Oh, that's different," was the cheerful reply. "That'll take five minutes."


AUTHOR Leo E. Buscaglia, on the moment he'd most like to forget: When speaking in public I perspire profusely, and thus always carry a few neatly pressed white handkerchiefs. Once, in a televised appearance before a large audience, I had already used two handkerchiefs. I reached for number three and proceeded to wipe my forehead-only to find to my horror that I was using a pair of pressed white-briefs, underwear that had inadvertently been piled among the handkerchiefs. With as much poise as I could muster, I completed the dabbing and quickly returned the underwear to my pocket. I often wonder how many viewers shared the "brief" embarrassment.


COLLIER YOUNG, creator of the TV series "Ironside," had a job writing advertising copy for Young & Rubicam in the late 1930s. He was not noted for his industry, and habitually took afternoon naps. One day his boss, Sid Ward, lurked outside the cubicle where Young was dozing. At 5:01, he dashed in and shook the sleeping writer violently. "Collie," he shouted, "for God's sake, wake up! You're sleeping on your own time!"


TELEVISION offerings were scant, and my husband finally settled on a PBS nature broadcast.  As we watched, two male crickets waged a fierce battle to win the favours of a female.  The victorious male then mated with his prize.  "That's television," my husband said, sighing.  "Wherever you look, nothing but sex and violence!"


IN OUR publicity office, we're always elated when one of our stories is picked up by a metropolitan newspaper. This inspired the comment of a departing staff member when he noticed that his going away gift was wrapped in a page from a New York daily. "At last," he said, "coverage by The New York Times."


JANET LANGHART, former co-host of Boston's "Good Morning!" television show on WCVB, told about the time she attended Easter morning Mass at the Mission Church in Roxbury, Mass. After the service, she fell into conversation with one of the Mission priests. "You know, Father," she said, "I'm not Catholic. I'm Baptist." ''Well, look at it this way," he replied. "You just work for another network."


"YOU don't know what you're doing," the impoverished writer pleaded with his landlord, who was pressing him for the rent. "Ten years from now, people will be saying 'Spencer, the novelist, once lived here.'" But the landlord was unimpressed.  "If you don't pay up today," he said, "they'll be saying that tomorrow."


JAMES HERRIOT, veterinarian and best selling author, receives a huge amount of fan mail, often bearing such strange addresses as "James Herriot, Darrowby, Yorkshire."  One letter, which bore only the words, "James Herriot, It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet, Yorkshire, Scotland," arrived with the addendum, "It Shouldn't Happen to a Postman, either."


A journalist had done a story on gender roles in Kuwait several years before the Gulf War, and she noted that women customarily walked about ten feet behind their husbands. She returned to Kuwait recently and observed that the men now walked several yards behind their wives. She approached one of the women for an explanation. 
"This is marvelous," said the journalist. "What enabled women here to achieve this reversal of roles?"
The Kuwaiti woman replied, "Land mines".


VETERAN newscaster David Brinkley remembers when he was a young reporter in North Carolina. The judge in a dry county had ordered 100 cases of illegal Canadian whiskey smashed in public, in front of the courthouse. The eager-beaver reporter scrambled to the bottom of the steps and tasted the contraband as it cascaded down. It was all water. "When I went to the judge and informed him of my discovery," says Brinkley, "he said, 'Damn, I told them to leave one fifth of whiskey in every case to make it smell right."
   

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Last updated May 19, 2008 by Becquet's Custom Programming