Category:
Inebriation and Intoxicants

A legendary moment in live theater

During a Dublin production of Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore, sometime in early 1986 (or maybe late 1985?), the actor Alan Devlin, who was playing Sir Joseph Porter, abruptly stopped in the middle of his performance, proclaimed, "F... this for a game of soldiers," left the theater, and headed to the pub next door to have a drink, with his microphone still on.

Surprisingly, he wasn't fired and was even re-hired for the London production a few months later.

Alan Devlin (right) during the London production of H.M.S. Pinafore



Noel Person, who was the theatrical producer of the play, later described the incident to an Australian journalist (The Melbourne Age - Aug 22, 1986):

"We had this actor named Alan Devlin who was very fond of his drink. During the show one night, he arrived absolutely bombed out of his mind. We used to fly him in from the top of the proscenium. When he came down he tried to start, "I am the mon... monar... mumph" and he couldn't. So he started again, then again, and finally said "Oh, --- it! I can't do it". And he walked out. Through the orchestra pit, in his uniform, through the audience, out the theatre and around to the pub and ordered a pint. Some of the audience thought this is taking Gilbert and Sullivan to the limit.

"The guy that was playing Dick Deadeye and the girl who was playing Buttercup, well, they freaked. But they were very experienced actors. So they cut to the end of the first half. The understudy was already in the show so they began the second half with him."

Happily, Noel Pearson hired back Mr. Devlin for the show's London season. "I got him to sign a contract in blood: he had to be in the theatre an hour before or he got paid only half his salary until the end of the run; we gave him a minder... When we opened at the Old Vic we had publicity like you never saw. On the opening night, when he appeared on stage, he practically got a standing ovation."

On Twitter, someone who was in the audience that night has posted their memory of what happened. An excerpt below:

The first verse went perfectly well. It was when Devlin came to the second verse, and discovered that he couldn't remember it, that the visible trouble began. He improvised by simply repeating the first verse. And again, for a third time. People started to wonder.

Then he tried to leave the coracle. Surmounting he brim of it - about two feet high if my imperfect memory serves - gave him great difficulty. But after a couple of attempts he managed it, and stood center stage, swaying slightly as though in a moderate breeze.

After briefly considering his options, he then announced "ah f*** this for a game of soldiers," hopped down into the orchestra pit (with more adroitness than you'd have expected from his swaying), strode along the central aisle through the audience, and left by the main exit.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 06, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Theater and Stage, 1980s

Wine Bottle Dust

A gag gift sold to wine lovers back in 1979.

Given how many wineries, with attached gift shops, have sprung up in the past twenty years, I think this would sell even better today. An opportunity awaits for an entrepreneur.

Alexandria Town Talk - Apr 19, 1979



Posted By: Alex - Mon Jan 31, 2022 - Comments (3)
Category: Imitations, Forgeries, Rip-offs and Faux, Inebriation and Intoxicants, 1970s

Muir’s Improved Pub

In 1865, temperance advocate William Muir obtained a British patent (No. 1 for 1865) for what he called "Improvements in the construction of public houses." Although whether they were actually improvements depended, I suppose, on one's point of view.

Muir wanted to improve pubs first by constructing their front walls out of plate glass in order to make the interior visible to people passing by. This, he believed, would "to a great extent check drunkenness and the indecent behaviour of the persons obtaining refreshment."

Second, he wanted to make the entrances only two feet wide in order "to prevent, as far as possible, the entrance of females with extensive steel crinolines." Why prevent women wearing crinolines? He didn't elaborate. Was this some kind of code for keeping prostitutes out of the pubs?

I don't think many publicans rushed to adopt his improvements.

More info about William Muir

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 21, 2022 - Comments (4)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Patents, Nineteenth Century

USB Wine

Since this is French, it probably won't work in the U.S.

More info: usbwine.com

Posted By: Alex - Fri Jan 07, 2022 - Comments (5)
Category: Humor, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Internet

Insect Sour

A new alcoholic beverage, "Insect Sour," on sale in Japan boasts that its main ingredient is "giant water bug extract". These water bugs are apparently popular among bug aficionados because they have "a sweet, almost fruity, flavor comparable to some types of shellfish like shrimp."

I bet it pairs well with Insect Balls.

More info: Sora News 24

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 05, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Insects and Spiders

Kmarto Wine

In the mid-1980s, K-Mart stores in Gainesville, Florida introduced a K-Mart-branded wine, which they called Kmarto. It cost a mere $1.97, and was available in both a red and white variety.

Very little information remains about Kmarto. For instance, I don't know how long it was sold. Just a few years, I think. As far as I know, it was never sold outside of Gainesville.

I was only able to find one picture of a bottle of the stuff — on, of all places, The Horse Doctor (a veterinarian's blog):



If you happen to still own a bottle of this stuff, I'm sure you could easily sell it for a couple of hundred dollars, because it's definitely a collector's item. As Paul Kirchner has reported in his book Oops!:

Gary Kirkland wrote about Kmarto for the Gainesville sun and received a number of calls from area residents who still treasure their vintage bottles of the stuff. Oddly, it didn't seem to have occurred to any of them to actually drink it—it was kept solely for its shock value. Many feel it broadens the scope of a well-stocked wine rack. One family uses it as the centerpiece for all important family photos—weddings, reunions, birthdays, etc.—to give events that special élan. In another family it has become traditional, whenever an expensive wine is served, to acknowledge that, of course, it cannot compare with the debonair-yet-somehow-impudent Kmarto.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Sep 28, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Alcohol

Always Elvis Wine

Always Elvis wine was released in 1979, two years after Elvis's death. The front label had a picture of Elvis, while the back label featured a poem by Col. Tom Parker.

Parker reportedly said that Always Elvis was the kind of wine Elvis "would have drunk if he'd liked the stuff."

At the time it sold for $4 a bottle. Now an unopened bottle of it will cost you upwards of $150.

However, there are other, newer Elvis Presley wines on the market, such as 'The King' wine, available at ElvisPresleyWines.com.



Chicago Tribune - Nov 4, 1979

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 27, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Celebrities, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Music

“I thought the Kama Sutra was an Indian restaurant”

Smirnoff ran this ad in the 70s but reportedly pulled it after a few months when its market researchers surveyed customers and discovered that "60 per cent of them thought that the Kama Sutra was indeed an Indian restaurant."

image source: codex



But according to Delia Chiaro in The Language of Jokes, the ad lived on in popular memory, inspiring a genre of "Smirnoff jokes".

In the mid-1970s the Smirnoff vodka company began using the 'before and after' technique to sell its product. The advertising campaign consisted of escapist photographs accompanied by slogans such as I thought the Kama Sutra was an Indian restaurant until I discovered Smirnoff. (The slogan originally had the additional rejoinder The effect is shattering which was eventually banned probably due to the allusion to 'getting smashed'.) The slogan turned out to be the inspiration of the graffitists of the nation as catchphrases such as the following began appearing on walls around the country:

I thought innuendo was an Italian suppository until I discovered Smirnoff.

I thought cirrhosis was a type of cloud until I discovered Smirnoff.


However it was not long before the graffitists began to abandon the formula, first by substituting the word Smirnoff with other items:

I thought Nausea was a novel by Jean-Paul Sartre until I discovered Scrumpy.

Soon, the caption began to move more radically away from the matrix, as more items were changed. In the next example there is no allusion to drink whatsoever:

I used to think I was an atheist until I discovered I was God.

Although Smirnoff jokes are now practically obsolete, the I thought A was B until I discovered C formula has now frozen into the English language as a semi-idiom. Today we can find graffiti (or indeed hear asides) such as:

I used to talk in cliches but now I avoid them like the plague

in which the original matrix is barely recognizable.

Below is another Smirnoff ad from the same series.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Aug 11, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Inebriation and Intoxicants, Advertising, 1970s, Jokes

Octogenarian Teetotalers

Published by the National Temperance League of London in 1897. It contained 113 portraits of teetotalers who were over the age of 80.

Unfortunately, there was no companion volume of Octogenarian Tipplers.



image source: Bizarre Books

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 29, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Elderly and Seniors, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Books

Flagon and Trencher Society

In order to become a member of the Flagon and Trencher society, one has to satisfy the following rule of eligibility:

Those persons, either male or female, who can prove direct descent from an individual who conducted a tavern, inn, ordinary, or other type of hostelry prior to 4 July 1776 (within any of the the American Colonies that existed at that time).



According to their website, the society was founded in 1962 by Walter Lee Shepard and the late Kenneth Stryker-Rodda. As of 2002, they had more than 1000 members.

There's a $200 fee to apply to join. But if you apply and can't satisfactorily prove descent from a colonial barkeep, you'll only get a portion of that fee back.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Jul 08, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Inebriation and Intoxicants

Page 1 of 10 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›




weird universe thumbnail
Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

Contact Us
Monthly Archives
May 2022 •  April 2022 •  March 2022 •  February 2022 •  January 2022

December 2021 •  November 2021 •  October 2021 •  September 2021 •  August 2021 •  July 2021 •  June 2021 •  May 2021 •  April 2021 •  March 2021 •  February 2021 •  January 2021

December 2020 •  November 2020 •  October 2020 •  September 2020 •  August 2020 •  July 2020 •  June 2020 •  May 2020 •  April 2020 •  March 2020 •  February 2020 •  January 2020

December 2019 •  November 2019 •  October 2019 •  September 2019 •  August 2019 •  July 2019 •  June 2019 •  May 2019 •  April 2019 •  March 2019 •  February 2019 •  January 2019

December 2018 •  November 2018 •  October 2018 •  September 2018 •  August 2018 •  July 2018 •  June 2018 •  May 2018 •  April 2018 •  March 2018 •  February 2018 •  January 2018

December 2017 •  November 2017 •  October 2017 •  September 2017 •  August 2017 •  July 2017 •  June 2017 •  May 2017 •  April 2017 •  March 2017 •  February 2017 •  January 2017

December 2016 •  November 2016 •  October 2016 •  September 2016 •  August 2016 •  July 2016 •  June 2016 •  May 2016 •  April 2016 •  March 2016 •  February 2016 •  January 2016

December 2015 •  November 2015 •  October 2015 •  September 2015 •  August 2015 •  July 2015 •  June 2015 •  May 2015 •  April 2015 •  March 2015 •  February 2015 •  January 2015

December 2014 •  November 2014 •  October 2014 •  September 2014 •  August 2014 •  July 2014 •  June 2014 •  May 2014 •  April 2014 •  March 2014 •  February 2014 •  January 2014

December 2013 •  November 2013 •  October 2013 •  September 2013 •  August 2013 •  July 2013 •  June 2013 •  May 2013 •  April 2013 •  March 2013 •  February 2013 •  January 2013

December 2012 •  November 2012 •  October 2012 •  September 2012 •  August 2012 •  July 2012 •  June 2012 •  May 2012 •  April 2012 •  March 2012 •  February 2012 •  January 2012

December 2011 •  November 2011 •  October 2011 •  September 2011 •  August 2011 •  July 2011 •  June 2011 •  May 2011 •  April 2011 •  March 2011 •  February 2011 •  January 2011

December 2010 •  November 2010 •  October 2010 •  September 2010 •  August 2010 •  July 2010 •  June 2010 •  May 2010 •  April 2010 •  March 2010 •  February 2010 •  January 2010

December 2009 •  November 2009 •  October 2009 •  September 2009 •  August 2009 •  July 2009 •  June 2009 •  May 2009 •  April 2009 •  March 2009 •  February 2009 •  January 2009

December 2008 •  November 2008 •  October 2008 •  September 2008 •  August 2008 •  July 2008 •