A popular vaudeville joke in the 1890s told that “a man fell in a barrel of whiskey, but he died in good spirits.” “Died in Good Spirits --A young man drowned in a tank of whisky the other day” was cited in 1893. “He fell into a barrel of whiskey and was drowned. He died in good spirits” was cited in 1896. “Took a quart of apple-jack and died in good spirits” was cited in 1899.
17 February 1893, Cincinnati (OH) Post, pg. 4, col. 2:
Died in Good Spirits.
A young man drowned in a tank of whisky the other day. Buy a gas stove and you’ll live in good spirits.
28 January 1896, The New Daily Telegraph (Bluefield, WV), pg. 6, col. 1:
A barkeeper in Pocahontas met with a tragic death. He fell into a barrel of whiskey and was drowned. He died in good spirits. His body was considerably bunged up.
19 November 1896, Butler (PA) Citizen, pg. 4, col. 5:
The man who was drowned in a vat of whiskey died in good spirits.
3 March 1899, Chariton Courier (Keytesville, Chariton County, MO), “How They Died,” pg. 2, col. 4:
“A crank came running into the office yesterday,” says the Lacon Journal, “and said that a man had just swallowed a two foot rule and was dying by inches. We started out to learn further particulars of the death and meeting a doctor we told him about the case. He said that was nothing, that he had a patient who swallowed a thermometer and died by degrees. A couple of bystanders just then chimed in. One said it reminded him of a fellow down in Kansas who swallowed a pistol and went off easy. The other said he had a friend in Lacon who took a quart of apple-jack and died in good spirits.
Choice Dialect and Vaudeville Stage Jokes:
Containing Side Splitting Stories, Jokes, Gags, Readings and Recitations...
Chicago, IL: Frederick J. Dranke& Company
A man fell in a barrel of whiskey, but he died in good spirits.
11 June 1905, Illinois State Register (Springfield, IL), “Snap Shots,” pg. 4, col. 4:
A certain whisky drinker in Kansas, in order to spite his temperance neighbors desired that is epitaph read: “He died in good spirits.”
East of Lynn, Mass.
By Harry L. Newton
Chicago, IL: T. S. Denison & Company
LADY R. (...) He drank himself to death, but they say he died in “good spirits.”
My great uncle was an eccentric and alcoholic. He filled his bathtub full of Hennessey and drowned. He died in good spirits.
9:42 PM - 17 Oct 2010