Your Unauthorized Guide to the Golden Age of National Lampoon Magazine

109. Lost Baby Story

October 24, 2006

Q: I majored in the Lampoon in college. I remember reading what turned out to be one of the deepest most poignant stories that I have ever read in my life. It must have been around ’73–’74. It was about a collegiate party during which the lights went out and a baby was lost in the dark. Any ideas?

A: According to reader E. Nice, it was probably P.J. O’Rourke’s “Ghosts of Responsibility” from the October 1980 (Aggression) issue. See the Comments link below for more info.


PJ's story Part of the "Uncle Mike" saga


November 17, 2006 12:10 pm

"More Tales from Uncle Mike" was in the August 1977 (Cheap Thrills) issue. Were there other Uncle Mike stories besides this?

—Mark Simonson

November 17, 2006 12:56 pm

This is a slightly tangled answer. 1. PJ writes the Editorial for the March 1977 (Science and Technology) ish. This features Uncle Mike blowing stuff up, nearly shooting someone and going fast in a car while standing up through the sunroof and wearing a parachute (which he opens when he sees a pretty girl). The "vanishing baby" bit is also mentioned. 2. PJ writes Dynamite, a story in the June 1980 (Fresh Air) ish. This is an expanded version of the Uncle Mike blowing things up sequence. (PJ acknowledges this in the intro.) 3. PJ writes Ghosts of Responsibility, a story in the October 1980 (Aggression) ish. This is an expanded version of the "vanishing baby" bit. 4. PJ writes Just Fooling Around, a story in the December 1980 (Fun Takes a Holiday) ish. This is an expanded version of the parachute gag in More Tales of Uncle Mike. (PJ acknowledges this in the intro.) Uncle Mike is here named Bill Forrester, which complicates things for anyone looking for all the Uncle Mike stories. So what have we learned? It's likeliest that the original questioner was thinking of Ghosts of Responsibility; and PJ managed to sell effectively the same piece to Nat Lamp at least four times. Hurrah!

—E. Nice

November 29, 2006 2:31 pm

It also helps if I don't mix up March and August. The parachute gag first appears in More Tales of Uncle Mike -- from the August 1977 (Cheap Thrills) ish as Mark mentioned. Oops.

—E. Nice

November 29, 2006 2:33 pm

Thanks, E.!

—Mark Simonson

November 29, 2006 2:35 pm

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