January 1, 2012

Wikipedia Article of the Day: "Exploding Cigar."

"The customary intended purpose of exploding cigars is as a form of hostile practical joke, rather than to cause lasting physical harm to the butt of the joke."
Although far rarer than their prank cousins, exploding cigars used as a means to kill or attempt to kill targets in real life has been claimed, and is well represented as a fictional plot device. The most infamous case concerning the intentionally deadly variety was an alleged plot by the CIA of the US in the 1960s to assassinate Fidel Castro. Notable real life incidents involving the non-lethal ilk include an exploding cigar purportedly given by Ulysses S. Grant to an acquaintance and a dust-up between Turkish military officers and Ernest Hemingway after he pranked one of them with an exploding cigar....

A well known use of the exploding cigar in literature, for example, appears in Thomas Pynchon's 1973 novel, Gravity's Rainbow....  Other book examples include Robert Coover's 1977 novel, The Public Burning, where a fictionalized Richard Nixon hands an exploding cigar to Uncle Sam...

Film examples include... in The Beatles' 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, where an exploding cigar is used to rebuff a psychedelic boxing monster... Appearance of exploding cigars in the Warner Bros. cartoon franchises, Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes was fairly common, often coupled with the explosion resulting in the pranked character appearing in blackface. Some examples include: Bacall to Arms (1942), wherein an animated Humphrey Bogart gets zapped by an exploding cigar leaving him in blackface...
Let's look that up.... oh, my....



ADDED: I like this scientific demonstration:

15 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

As has been observed by one legal scholar, "[t]he utility of the exploding cigar is so low and the risk of injury so high as the warrant a conclusion that the cigar is defective and should not have been marketed at all."

Humorless schmuck. So there's a bit of risk, as the expression goes, no pain, no gain.

Peter

Mary Beth said...

Oh, Rochester!

Lem said...

Exploding Cigars Hide From Left Field.

So many politically incorrect things about exploding cigars I have neither the time/inclination to count them.

gregwithtwogs said...

Beware of the exploding "C-word"

Jose_K said...

Exploding cigar and polonius are out of date as mortal weapons:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/venezuela/8981643/Cristina-Kirchner-cancer-Hugo-Chavez-ponders-if-US-gave-Latin-American-leaders-cancer.html

rhhardin said...

At least Clinton refrained.

edutcher said...

You couldn't do stuff like that no more.

rhhardin said...

At least Clinton refrained.

Perhaps it wasn't an issue of refraining as much as his couldn't explode.

David said...

Grant's cigars certainly killed him. He died in agony of throat cancer.

michaele said...

"Oh, my" is right...you do find the most entertaining clips.

DADvocate said...

Ted Gregory, who along with his wife Matula, founded the famous Montgomery Inn (great barbecue ribs; I'm sure Meade has eaten there.) in the Cincinnati area loved a good practical joke. He pulled one of the best exploding cigar jokes after he died.

Wherein one Mr. Ted Gregory gets the last laugh after all. Known to most everyone as the Ribs King, the notorious practical joker died Dec. 2 of complications from diabetes. But he went out with a bang.

The story begins at the cemetery when the funeral director, envelope in hand, approached sons Tom and Dean Gregory, son-in-law Evan Andrews, cousin Tom Ginotolis and pal the Rev. Bill Cassis.

"I don't know what to expect," one of them muttered, remembering he was the Gotcha King as well as the Ribs King.

The funeral director explained that Mr. Gregory requested that the five remain graveside and smoke a cigar in celebration of the kind of life he led. Then he handed out five cigars.

"These were beautiful cigars, $20 Diamond Crowns," son Dean says.

So they stayed.

And lit up.

Then the cigars exploded. Seems even in his last days, the King was putting loads in expensive cigars.

"Evan's was the first to pop. His eyes got huge, then they all popped. Someone said, "The old man got us one more time.' It was incredible, it was like he was right there with us.

"And if you're thinking we laughed 'til we cried, you're right."

chickenlittle said...

"We three Kings of Orient are,
riding on a rubber cigar.
but it was loaded and it exploded, and that's how we got so far."

Wisconsin schoolyard song ca. 1966

John Burgess said...

Yikes! I'm old... I remember buying cigar loads at $1.00/20. They had a bigger effect in cigarettes, though.

@edutcher: A blue dress and a DNA test say you're mistaken on that point.

LarsPorsena said...

John Burgess said...
Yikes! I'm old... I remember buying cigar loads at $1.00/20. They had a bigger effect in cigarettes, though.

---------------
Yep! I never saw a load go off in a cigar but had plenty of 'friends' that had cigarettes go 'pow'. The loads looked like toothpick segments. The blossoming ciggie produced lots of laffs. A favorite way of discouraging the guy who always bummed smokes.

Tarzan said...

I mooched a smoke from a pack of Marlboro Lights at a bar back in my younger, stupider, penniless days and it had one of those loads in it.

BOOM! Scared the shite out of me. I finished the beer, but didn't even have the presence of mind to snag the last of the pack.

Not a proud moment for this little lord 'o th' jungle, no siree Bob!

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