TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: MGM scores one for free speech in its refusal to cut 'Barbershop'

The Founding Fathers were keen on the right of Americans to poke fun at things. Indeed, Thomas Jefferson's first Declaration draft included this ditty: "How many monarchs does it take to screw in a light bulb?" But as there were no light bulbs back then, he struggled to come up with an appropriate punch line and deleted the joke from the final version. (Jefferson continued to use the line in public, keeping John Adams in stitches, and prompting Ben Franklin to "check out this electricity thing.")

by LAWRENCE MITCHELL GARRISON, an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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