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September 29, 2014

A man’s (and a girl’s) best friends...



THE ORIGIN OF “MAN’S BEST FRIEND”:

“The best friend a man has...is his dog.”
       George Graham Vest (1830-1904)
       American lawyer and politician
       These words are from Vest’s summation in the trial of a sheep farmer who shot and killed his neighbor’s dog, Old Drum. The trial was held at the Johnson County Courthouse in Warrensburg, Missouri on September 23, 1870. Vest’s client, the broken-hearted owner of Old Drum, had sued the farmer for compensation. Vest brought the jury to tears when he said:
 
      “The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith…The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.”
       The first six words of that paragraph, combined with the last three — “The best friend a man has...is his dog” — is traditionally credited as the origin of the dog-lovers’ saying we know today: “A dog is a man’s best friend.” (Sometimes given as “A man’s best friend is his dog.”)  You can read more about the Old Drum case in this post on my This Day In Quotes site.



THE MARX-FLAVORED VARIATION:

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
      Groucho Marx (1890-1977)
       Legendary American comedian
       This quip has been credited to Groucho since the 1970s. However, as noted in a post on the great Quote Investigator site, it doesn’t appear in his movies or written works and a similar joke was published in the February 1954 issue of Boys’ Life magazine, so he probably didn’t coin it.



THE INTENTIONALLY CREEPY VERSION:

“A boy’s best friend is his mother.”
       Actor Anthony Perkins, as the character Norman Bates, in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Psycho (1960)



THE UNINTENTIONALLY CREEPY VERSION:

“Whoever said, ‘A dog is man’s best friend’ must have been a single fellow. As helpful and useful as all of God's creation would be to man, none of these animals were socially, intellectually, or sexually compatible to man.”
       From “At The Beginning: A Study of Marriage” 
       An article posted on the Christian “electronic magazine” called “The Expository Files.” (Which are not related to The X Files…Or are they?)



THE GIRLS CLICHÉ IMMORTALIZED BY MARILYN:

“A kiss on the hand may be quite continental,
But diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

       From the song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” written by songwriters Jule Styne and Leo Robin
       This great song comes from the 1949 Broadway musical Gentleman Prefer Blondes, which was adapted from the 1925 book Gentleman Prefer Blondes, written by Anita Loos. It was introduced by Carol Channing in the original Broadway production. But for many people, the most remembered and iconic version was performed by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.



THE COUNTERQUOTE TO THE GIRLS  CLICHÉ:

“Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend never had a dog.”
       A dog-lovers’ quote of anonymous origin that has reached meme level status in the Internet.

       (The girls in the photo are my wife BJ and our dog Barbie Boo.)

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