Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Funny Bones, 1951

Funny Bones, 1951

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 14, 2009

Those Maypole dancers and spring fairies and boys’ band players of 1927 were all grown up by 1951 — here is what made them laugh as young parents who had come through World War II and were then facing Korea:


I’m all for higher taxes,
I think they would be fine.
Provided that they start in
The bracket over mine.

Young Scientist

Dad: “That boy will be the death of me!”

Mom: “What’s wrong now?”

Dad: “He wants to know what would happen if he mixed a bottle of ink eradicator with a bottle of ink!”

No Joke

Oliver Wendell Holmes once mistook an insane asylum for a college. Realizing his mistake, he explained to the gatekeeper, and commented humorously, “I suppose, after all, there is not a great deal of difference.”

‘Oh, yes, there is,” replied the guard; “in this place you must show some improvement before you can get out.”

“Only God Can Make a Tree”

Puttering in my home workshop, I produced what I felt was a creditable artificial table Christmas tree. I displayed it when my brother-in-law and his family were over, and remarked: “That’s what I call a tree – even if I did make it myself.”

My small niece examined the phony tree critically, and wonder filled her eyes as she looked up at me.

“Won’t Heavenly Father be surprised when He finds out about it?”

Counted Ten

The minister returned the used car to the dealer and was promptly asked, “What’s the matter, parson, can’t you run it?”

The sharp reply: “Not if I want to stay in the ministry!”

Marriage or Money?

Uncle: “You boys today want too much money. Do you know what I was getting when I married your aunt?”

Nephew: “Nope, and I bet you didn’t either.”

A Wise Mother

Daughter: “Yes, I’ve graduated, but now I must inform myself in psychology, philosophy, bibli–”

Practical Mother: “Stop; I have arranged for you a thorough course in roastology, boilology, stitchology, darnology, patchology, and general domestic hustelology.”


“Are you doing anything for that cold of yours?”

“I sneeze when it wants me to.”

All Over

Teacher, in geography class: “Where is the capital of the United States?”

Junior: “All over the world!”


Political speaker: “I’m pleased to see this dense crowd here tonight.”

Voice from the back: “Don’t be too pleased; we ain’t all dense.”

He Asked for It

A man of Scotch descent was attracting much attention in the hotel lobby with his tales of his great accomplishments.

“Well, now,” said an Englishman at last, “suppose you tell us something you cannot do, and I will undertake to do it.”

“Thank ye,” replied the Scot; “I canna pay ma bill here.”

A Mix-Up

The treasurer, dictating a letter: “From the comparative size of the coal shipment and the bill, I should say you got them mixed – you should have sent the coal by mail and the bill by freight.”

Prove It

“Your age, madam?” asked the Judge.

“Thirty years,” replied the lady witness.

“You may have difficulty proving that,” said the Judge.

Replied the witness: “You will find it difficult to prove the contrary. The church that had the record of my birth burned down in 1900.”

Her Privilege, But!

A woman, explaining a traffic crash to a policeman, concluded:

“– and then I very clearly signalled that I had changed my mind.”


“Should I take Junior to the zoo tomorrow?”

“If the zoo wants him, let ’em come and get him.”

One for the Doctor

A doctor wrote out a prescription in the usual illegible hand. The patient must have recovered quickly because he did not get it filled. In due time he forgot what the little piece of paper in his card case was.

The patient used it for two years as a railroad pass. Twice it got him into Radio Music Hall and once into Ebbetts field for a ball game. It came in handy as a letter from his employer to the cashier to increase his salary. To cap the climax, his daughter played it on the piano and won a scholarship to a conservatory of music.

Necessity: something you cannot get along without, but do.

Luxury: Something you ought to get along without, but don’t.

Little Things

“It’s the little things that keep people awake at night,” says a doctor. “Especially those aged one day to eighteen years.”

True Love

It was a little girl’s first day at school and the teacher was making out her registration card.

“What is your father’s name?” asked the teacher.

“Daddy,” replied the child.

“Yes, I know, but what does your mother call him?”

“She doesn’t call him anything. She likes him.”

Strictly Business

Two snowy-haired old ladies, bouncing along in an antiquated automobile through York, Pennsylvania, made an illegal turn. The traffic cop had to blow his whistle vigorously and repeatedly before they came to a stop. “Didn’t you hear my whistle, lady?” he asked. Wide eyed and innocent the little lady looked at him. “yes, indeed,” she said, “but I never flirt while driving.” With a grin, the amazed cop waved them on.


Jones: “Look at that bunch of cows!”

Smith: “Not bunch – herd!”

Jones: “Herd what?”

Smith: “Herd of cows!”

Jones: “Sure, I’ve heard of cows.”

Smith: “I mean a cow herd!”

Jones: “What do I care if a cow heard? I didn’t say anything I shouldn’t have!”

Good Reason

Manager: “Why did you leave your last job?”

Applicant: “Illness.”

Manager: “What sort of illness?”

Applicant: “My boss said he was sick of me.”


A busy man was using the telephone. “I want Central double two, double two,” he said.

“Two-two, two-two?” repeated the exchange girl, reproachfully.

“All right,” said the man, patiently, “you get me the number and we’ll play train later on.”

Smart Man

Once upon a time there was a wise creditor. After many attempts to collect, he wrote this note – and got his money promptly:

“If you don’t pay up immediately, I’ll tell all your other creditors that you did pay me.”

Brain Work

Freshie: “I can’t find ‘airplane’ in the dictionary.”

Sopho: “Look on the flyleaf.”

Could Be

“What is the Mason and Dixon Line?”

“It’s the division between ‘You-all’ and ‘Youse-guys.’”

A Compliment?

Sal: “You mean your teacher said your singing was ‘heavenly’?”

Pal: “Well, practically that. He said it was ‘unearthly.’”

The one who thinks our jokes are poor, would straightway change his views,
Could he compare the jokes we print with the ones we didn’t use.



  1. I haven’t even opened the full post to read the rest, and I’m already cracking up over the “Taxes” joke.

    Comment by Ray — February 14, 2009 @ 6:50 am

  2. Oh, Ardis, this is my favorite list yet – and the final note is an awesome way to end it. I won’t even try to highlight my favorites, since that would require I cut and paste almost the entire post.

    Comment by Ray — February 14, 2009 @ 6:56 am

  3. Awww, I can always count on Ray to make me laugh at what makes him laugh!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 14, 2009 @ 8:25 am

  4. The “Funny Bones” posts, more than just about anything, remind me of one downside of Correlation — the elimination of anything potentially offensive, questionable or risque, which is, of course, what humor depends upon. These are great, Ardis. As a father of nine, I especially like the Oliver Wendell Holmes one. ..bruce..

    Comment by bfwebster — February 14, 2009 @ 11:35 am

  5. bruce, it seems to me from searching for these jokes that the process started in the early 1950s, when the joke pages became “wit and wisdom” pages — a few jokes like the ones in this post, outnumbered by quotations from classical or ecclesiastical sources. By the ’60s, the few jokes are very pale and seldom funny, and I’ll probably have to go through a full year’s issues to glean enough for a so-so post.

    The Ensign published a humor page for a brief period in its earliest years — most probably don’t even remember that (even those of us old enough to remember) because the jokes were seldom funny. I think you nail the reason by referring to “the elimination of anything potentially offensive” — they relied on real-life Mormon experience, which of course can be very, very funny, but they either weren’t clever in the first place or else were over-written to make it abundantly clear that we weren’t making fun of anything or anyone, even ourselves. Pity. We’re the funniest people I know!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 14, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

  6. Nice collection, again. Of course, you really ought to send “A Wise Mother” over to fMh–their humor barrel is a little like the widow’s, and could use either Elijah or a refill.

    Comment by Mark B. — February 14, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  7. You can play Elijah, Mark B.; I’m too frightened by the fMhladies to hold out a helping hand anymore. fMhLisa considers all my contributions to be “s**t-flinging.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 14, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  8. Just got back in town. I agree with others that this set of jokes is great. I can’t begin to choose which ones I liked best.

    Comment by Maurine — February 14, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  9. I see they were still telling Scotch jokes in the 1950s.

    So funny about the little old lady… “I never flirt while driving.” Ha.

    And I second the vote to send Mark B. over to minister to the fMh crowd.

    Comment by Researcher — February 15, 2009 @ 8:13 am

  10. I think about you, Researcher, and Bill MacKinnon whenever I type up a Scotch joke and hope that this isn’t going too far. The Scots are quite clearly very different from the Scotch.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 15, 2009 @ 8:44 am

  11. fMhLisa considers all my contributions to be “s**t-flinging.”

    They’re jealous of your street cred and how you and Julie M. Smith can tear them limb from limb…

    Comment by queuno — February 15, 2009 @ 10:55 pm

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