"Help! I'm a prisoner in a Chinese bakery!" (1955)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Feb 15 02:10:14 UTC 2004

PRISONER IN A CHINESE BAKERY--92 Google hits, 42 Google Groups hits

   This is a classic fortune cookie joke, perhaps of interest to Fred Shapiro.  It was not coined by Alan King's 1964 book title.
   This line has been discussed on alt.usage.english and the Cecil Adams newsgroup.  The latest LOS ANGELES TIMES digitization helps.

Help! I'm a prisoner in a Chinese bakery
Author: King, Alan, 1927-; Shurman, Jack,
Publication: New York, Dutton, 1964
Document: English : Book
Libraries Worldwide: 386

Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles, Calif.: Apr 4, 1955. p. 2 (1 page):
CITY LIMITS--Story is going around about a customer in a Chinese restaurant who opened one of those fortune cookies.  Written in red ink on the slip inside was: "Help!  I am being held prisoner by the Hong Kong Noodle Co."

Troubles Of A Sleeping Beauty
LESLIE LIEBER. Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles, Calif.: Mar 4, 1956. p. K17 (2 pages)
Pg. 19:  Nor will producers soon forget the night Kim was supposed to sit on the bed and open Chinese fortune cookies--the kind that contain slips of paper with prophecies like, "You will make a long voyage."  As a gag, the script called for her to read, "Help, I'm a prisoner in a Chinese bakery!"
   Unfortunately, though, the cookie was empty.  Disconcerted, the girl on camera forgot her lines and just ate the cookie.  But two minutes later, after curling up in bed and switching off the lights, she suddenly remembered.  Just before the program went off the air, she let out a scream of distress:  "Help!!!  I'm a prisoner in a Chinese bakery!!!"
   Listeners stayed awake a long time figuring that one out.

(The program was "Count Sheep" with Nancy Berg--ed.)

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