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Comic Legends: Did a Comic Creator Invent the Knock-Knock Joke?

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Comic Legends: Did a Comic Creator Invent the Knock-Knock Joke?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and eighty-fifth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for the first part of this week’s BONUS legends. Click here for part 2 of this week’s BONUS legends.

NOTE: Well, the the CSBG Twitter page hit 10,050 followers, so I agreed to do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week that we hit 10,050. So three more legends! Let’s say we’ll keep the bit going, though. Every 1,000 followers of the CSBG Twitter page, I’ll do a bonus Comic Book Legends Revealed that week.

COMIC LEGEND:

A comic creator invented the knock knock joke.

STATUS:

False

It’s amazing how there are so many things that we just accept as a part of our day to day lives growing up that we assume have always been a part of the world, while in reality, they were invented just the same as anything else in this world. For instance, there are people who are still alive out there who were little kids when there was no such thing as a knock knock joke.

The knock knock joke, of course, is a pun-based bit where you “knock knock” on the door and the other person says, “Who is it?” Then you say some word. The other person repeats that word and adds, “Who?” to it and then the punchline comes out. A famous one for little kids is the following:

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Boo.
Boo who?
Don’t cry!

Now, these types of pun games have been around for CENTURIES, but it was not until the 20th century that the specific form of the pun joke called the knock knock joke was formed.

Many people have credited cartoonist Bob Dunn, seen here…

who did the comic strip, Just the Type…

among others, as the inventor of the knock knock joke. This is because Dunn released a collection of knock knock jokes in 1936, which was the year that the fad BLEW UP, and Dunn sold millions of copies of his book…

Amazingly enough, only the first joke of the three doesn’t still work today (it’s a play on a then-popular song called “Just a Song at Twilight”).

However, it seems like Dunn was just at the right place at the right time, as the knock knock joke existed in print in 1934

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Rufus.
Rufus who?
Rufus the most important part of your house.

Plus, knock knock jokes were EVERYwhere all over 1936, to the point where some psychiatrists terms the obsession with Knock Knock jokes an actual mania! So it seems unlikely that they all followed right after Dunn.

The 1934 thing, though, cinched it.


Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed – Did NBC prevent Star Trek from having a 50/50 Male/Female crew on the Enterprise?


Check back on Friday for the REGULAR edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed!

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