gun in the first act....

so, teeming millions, help me out. I remember a quote , attributed to Chekhov, about " if a gun is introduced in the first act of a play, it must be fired by the final act…" the problem is when I looked to reference this quote I couldn’t. I found about six different versions, all attributed to Chekhov, none actually referenced. Did he actually say this or not?

I remember hearing this attributed to Chekhov, too. Searched the web, ransacked my library, and couldn’t find a reference.

However . . .

I also remember a story about George M. Cohan, starring in a play he’d written, and concerned about its weak first act. He remembered Checkhov-or-whoever’s supposed quote, and perked up the first act by entering with a pistol, looking around furtively, and then hiding it in a drawer.

The audience never saw the pistol again, but I kept them in the house for the second act. The rest of the play was so good that nobody remembered the pistol when the curtain fell.

Funny, I guess I’ve only heard the Hollywood version: “The gun you see in the second reel will go off in the fifth.”

I thought Chekov said if a green skinned girl is introduced in the first act of Star Trek, Kirk has to have sex with her by the final act.

Well, if you get really curious about this, I’d recommend popping down to the local library (or even a BN, I suppose) and checking a book on famous quotes. You figure they have fact checkers and whatnot (something notoriously absent on the net), so you should be pretty safe going by that. (And it can’t hurt to check more than one book to see if they agree.)

I’m blowing the tanks on this old thread because I think we’re a little closer to the solution. I took the liberty of posting this question on the Snopes board, and the following thread resulted:

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker I thank you. This was the first thread I started here, and in return I got Star Trek nonsense and a suggestion to go to the library. (Gee, why didn’t I think of that!:smack: ) I was pretty sorely disappointed in the response, but you have saved the day. Thanks again for the link,very informative and interesting.