"Never let the facts get in the way of a good story" (J. Frank Dobie?)
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Jan 9 03:51:27 UTC 2007
Did anyone coin "(Never/Don't) let the (facts/truth) get in the way of a
good story"? (Search for "way of a good story.")
It's been credited to Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie (one quote in YBQ),
but I don't know if anyone in particular can take credit.
“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story”
Texans are known for their bragging. Common sayings are “It ain’t braggin’”
(if you can do it, or if it’s true) and
_“no brag, just fact.”_
“Never let the facts get in the way of a good story” (sometimes given with “
truth” replacing the word “facts") is something that seems either from
Texas or Hollywood (or a bit of both). The phrase dates from at least 1940.
Folklorist J. Frank Dobie is sometimes credited with this phrase, but this
has not been verified with documentary evidence. Delbert Trew (another Texas
folklorist) has claimed: “I never let the truth stand in the way of a good
_The 1824 Flag of the Texas Revolution_
Texians and Hollywood seldom allow facts to get in the way of a good story
and sometimes these stories take on the guise of history.
_“It’s All Trew” Texas columns by Delbert Trew_
“It’s All Trew” by Delbert Trew
Appears in the Amarillo Globe News
Delbert Trew was born in Ochiltree County in the northern Panhandle of Texas
in 1933. His wife Ruth was also born in the Panhandle on a farm near
Follett, Texas. This was during the darkest days of the Great Depression and in the
heart of the Dustbowl. They are retired and live 65 miles east of Amarillo on
a ranch that’s been in the family for 54 years.
As a disclaimer he sometimes says, “I never let the truth stand in the way
of a good story” and other times he says, “If you’ve already heard this
story, don’t stop me, ‘cause I want to hear it again, myself.”
_Handbook of Texas Online_
DOBIE, JAMES FRANK (1888-1964). J. Frank Dobie, folklorist, was born on a
ranch in Live Oak County, Texas, on September 26, 1888, the eldest of six
children of Richard J. and Ella (Byler) Dobie. His ranching heritage became an
early influence on his character and personality.
_Wikipedia: J. Frank Dobie_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Frank_Dobie)
James Frank Dobie (September 26, 1888–September 18, 1964) was an American
folklorist, writer, and newspaper columnist best known for many books depicting
the richness and traditions of life in rural Texas during the days of the
open range. As a public figure, he was known in his lifetime for his outspoken
liberal views against Texas state politics, and for his long personal war
against what he saw as bragging Texans, religious prejudice, restraints on
individual liberty, and the assault of the mechanized world on the human spirit.
He was also instrumental in the saving of the Texas Longhorn breed of cattle
_Google Groups: alt.old.west_
Date: Fri, Feb 21 2003 11:44 am
Gerald, I had a hard time believing that Bigfoot was a descendant of William
Wallace...I went to the Handbook of Texas and sure enough, there it is.
Then I noted that J. Frank Dobie actually penned that article before he died
and was reminded of a quote OFTEN attributed to Dobie, “Never let the truth
get in the way of a good story.”
I’m still wondering. Do you have any personal sources of knowledge or were
you accepting the Handbook, as I always do (well, almost always. Dobie did
have a way with the truth!)
I like Dobie, don’t get me wrong. I’ve got all of his books with about two
But he was a folklorist!
29 June 1940, Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, NE),pg. 5, col. 7:
...the women (and men) who won’t let truth stand in the way of a good story
and embroider a little on every bit of gossip they hear;...
15 December 1956, Winnipeg , pg. 32, col. 6:
His book, which he calls frankly a novel, is a stringing together of
vigorous and racy anecdotes, and if the facts get in the way of a good story, so
much the worse for the facts.
9 March 1964, Fresno (CA) Bee, pg. 28, col. 8:
Lawrence Lader’s writing in Sunday’s Parade Magazine on the bail system
followed with slavish devotion the slogan: “Never let the facts stand in the way
of a good story.”
13 December 1969, Northwest Arkansas Times (Fayetteville, AR), pg. 4:
Murray writes for the Los Angeles Times, and wears the literary mantle of
Artemus Ward, Josh Billings and Don Rickels. He’s a colorful writer, and he
rarely lets facts get in the way of a good story.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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