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Interview

Denys Parsons

READERSVOICE.com aims to gather a few interesting reading tips. For this issue, something different: a bit of a sampler from out of print, or at least fairly old, books. It’s worthwhile digging up older stuff sometimes. So think of this as an old releases column.

Denys Parsons collected misprints and howlers from stories and advertisements in newspapers. Pan published many of his paperbacks, like Funny Ha Ha and Funny Peculiar, in 1973; Funny Amusing and Funny Amazing, published 1977; and Lady with Little Dog seeks Post, published 1981. These shouldn’t be too hard to track down, and they are well worth it. Here are a few howlers from Denys Parsons’ book Can it be true? It must be true – it was all in the papers, which was published in 1953 by Macdonald and Co, of London.

Wanted – Position in Cabaret. No bad habits. Willing to learn. (Boston News)

We do not tear your clothes with machinery. We do it carefully by hand. (Sign in laundry window).

The vendor’s solicitor will then send you the daft agreement and ask you to sign it. (Weekly Paper).

Beware! To touch these wires is instant death. Anyone found doing so will be prosecuted. (Signboard)

Official Advice – Don’t grow your potatoes where they will not grow. (Daily Express).

Here are a few from Funny Ho Ho and Funny Fantastic:

Among the side reactions of this mercurial drug, the most important is the death of the patient shortly after the injection. (New York State Medical Journal)

The Rev. Dr Charles Brown’s career has been a striking one. He started life at the age of eight… (Oxford paper)

Fog and smog rolled over Los Angeles today, slowing snails to a traffic pace. (Los Angeles newpaper).

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