Richard Hertz from Holden, Massachusetts

Holden, MassachusettsIn the annals of phone-prank history, few names are as renowned as “Richard Hertz.”

10-year-old phone prankster calling local tavern: “Yes, can you please see if Mr. Hertz is there? First name, Dick.”

Unsuspecting barkeep: “Yeah, hold on a minute… Hey everybody… is Dick Hertz here? Dick Hertz?!”

Hilarity ensues and the angry barkeep slams the phone down. When one can combine an inherently funny name with a real and ironic-sounding location, you have what we in the business call “comedic gold.”

Person at a party: “So… You’re Dick Hertz from Holden?”

Dick Hertz from Holden: “Yes.”

Over the last few decades, Dick Hertz from Holden has taken on legendary (albeit urban legend) proportions with people claiming that their friend went to college with Mr. Hertz from Holden, that their cousin used to date Hertz, their friend-of-a-friend knows Richard, and on and on. Our crack team of legend researchers wanted to settle this important debate, so we checked into it. The United States has been keeping census records since 1790, and the details of those records can be searched all the way up to 1930 (because of a federal privacy law, only records older than 70 years may be searched). Though several records for “Richard Hertz” turned up in some other Worcester County towns, there were none in Holden for the time period between 1790 and 1930. Further, Directory Information can confirm that there is no Richard Hertz currently living in the town of Holden. And a scan of Massachusetts Motor Vehicle records can confirm that no Richard Hertz has lived in Holden for as far back as their records go.

Conclusion: Dick Hertz—not from Holden.

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