THE QUESTION MAN
A skit by Bob & Ray which was obviously inspired by a chapter of THE CHAMELEON by Harry Stephen Keeler. Here's the section of the chapter by Harry:
“I am a well-to-do farmer worth in the vicinity of $150,000, aged 44 and a bachelor. I recently engaged myself to three different women in our town, one a widow of one of our former respected citizens, one the waitress in the depot lunchroom, and the third a member of the Dizzy Dames Company which played three nights here. I have written letters at different times to each one asking marriage, unfortunately signing them with my name. How can I extricate myself from this tangle without suffering a financial loss?”
Ans: A reversal of the direction of current through a series-wound electric motor does not change the direction of rotation, because the polarity of both field and armature change together. This causes a continuation of torque acting in the same direction.
“I have to read a paper at our club entitled ‘How To Handle a Woman When She Is Stubborn.’ Just what line of development shall I follow adequately to settle this question for my audience?”
Ans: The diphthong is used as a rule, but sometimes the pronunciation is made with a slurring sound, leaving the Z silent.
“I am a maiden lady of 65. When I was up in Chicago in 1890, I nearly became engaged to a young man. I lived there in a regal 4-room furnished apartment which cost me $18 per month. I have decided to go up to Chicago again and live there for a while, for it seems to bring me luck. Where in your city, now that the American currency has been inflated, can I rent another 4-room apartment for around the monthly sum I spent in 1890?”
Ans: His full name was Hoang-Ti, and he lived during the Meng dynasty. He had one daughter, the beauteous 0 Lyra Meng, who later became empress of China during the Ling regime.
“My son went up to the city and came back with an appetite for something he calls patty-de-foy-graw and Lobster allah newburg. I am a section hand on the railed here, and make $2 a day. Maw wants to know what this patty-de-foy-graw and allah newburg is, and how we can serve it every night.”
Ans: It depends upon the temperature of the air. The sound will travel faster at night. The sound waves must, however, be distinct at their focus.
“My daughter hasn’t washed a dish or swept a floor for a month, since the new novel The Price of Daphne Dane’s Folly by Eleanor de Gazoola came out. All she does is to sit in the attic and read about Daphne Dane. The publishers have just announced a series of Daphne Dane books by the same author. What shall I do to get a little work done around the house during the coming year?”
Ans: The population of Zanzibar is composed chiefly of Arabs, Banyans, Mahometan Hindus, Wasawahili, Somalis, Comorines and Wanyamwesi.
“I have decided to ask President Franklin D. Roosevelt to dinner at our house when he comes through this part of the state. Does he like bread pudding better than lemon meringue pie?
Ans: The square root of this number differs so slightly from the cube root that on a small scale the discrepancy is unnoticeable.
“A witch doctor that visited this town sold me a magic ring for $22.50 that you can bury with some money and in seventeen days the money will double itself. I buried it in the woods near my house with $408.29 in cash. The seventeen days are over, but I’ve forgotten where I buried the money. How can I get hold of the $816.58?”
Ans: The mummy of Pharaoh is in dispute, but that of Xemitocles I, his son, in the British museum, is colored red, green and lilac.
“My datter consulted a fortune teller twelve years ago who told her that she would elope with a brunette. She ran away to Kansas next day with Henry Perkins, my hired hand, a brunette, and married him. She just got back a month ago, after Henry’s death, with twelve husky children. Now another fortune teller tells her she’s going to elope with a blonde, very shortly; and Cephas Brown, my new hired hand, is a blond. There is lots of googly-ooglying going on between her and Cephas during times when she’s not washing the children’s faces. What shall I do? The spring sowing is just on and you can’t get another hired man for love nor money.”
Ans: The misprint on page 24 of last month’s issue of Humor Magazine was due to the union linotyper quitting when the whistle blew at the middle of a slug.
“I am married to a jealous wife who is a blonde, and I work in a mattress factory. What can I do to make life more smooth at home?”
Ans: The touch system is different on the old Oliver than on the new Underwood.
“I own 240 acres of rich Illinois land in the Delta of the Mississippi, now worth $500 an acre. I am a widower. I recently answered an advertisement in the New York papers of a rich young widow worth a quarter of a million in her own right, who wanted a husband who was true and kind, farmer preferred. We have written each other, and she says that if I’ll send on a thousand dollars for her trousseau and travelling expenses, she’ll come on at once, bringing the papers representing her real estate. If I cut down this amount to $900, is there any danger of her losing interest in me?”
Ans: None whatsoever.
And here is an MP3 of the 50s or 60s skit by Bob and Ray. QUESTION MAN
My conclusion? Bob & Ray stole only from the very best.