A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 09, 2020
“Are you a pole vaulter?"/"No. I am German but how did you know my name was Walter?”

A classic Summer Olympics joke has someone (such as a reporter) ask a participant in track and field:

REPORTER: Are you a pole vaulter?
ATHLETE: No, I’m German, but how did you know that my name is Walter?


The athlete thought the question was, “Are you a Pole (someone from Poland), Walter (pronounced ‘Valter’ in German).” The joke has been cited in newspapers in 1974 and 1976.


Newspapers.com
1 May 1974, Bismarck (ND) Tribune, “Browsing Around” with Jack E. Case, pg. 1, col. 1:
DICTION FRICTION
“Are you a pole vaulter?” one track meet contestant asked another.

“No, I’m a German and how did you know my name was Walter?”

18 February 1976, The News and Courier (Charleston, SC), “Doing The Charleston” by Ashley Cooper, pg. 1-B, col. 1:
Incidentally, she sends along this cackler about someone who walked up to a participant in the summer Olympic games and asked, “Are you a pole vaulter?”

“No,” he replied. “I’m a Ukrainian—but how did you know that my name was Walter?”

Well, if you don’t get it, just try to say the word “Walter” with a Ukrainian accent.

Newspapers.com
19 July 1976, News-Pilot (San Pedro, CA), “Funky Winkerbean” comic strip, pg. A6, col. 3:
HI, THERE! YOU’RE A POLE VAULTER, AREN’T YOU?
NO! I’M FROM CZECHOSLOVAKIA!

Newspapers.com
6 August 1976, Miami (FL) News, “School lawsuit noted nationally” by Herb Rau, pg. 15A, col. 5:
Back from Montreal Olympics, Joe Griffin swears he overheard this conversation: “Are you a pole vaulter?” “No, I’m a Lithuanian—but how’d you know my name was Walter?”

6 May 1993, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, “The tiff over Tiffany,” pg. A2:
Living up to that wish, Knowles’ cousin, lawyer Tom Doar, spoke of how the former governor’s father, Warren P. Knowles II, used to enjoy telling stories in dialect, and told one of his own, about the guy who drove up to a gas station with a pole lashed to the top of his car. “Are you a pole vaulter?” the gas station attendant asked. “No, I’m not a Pole. But how did you know my name was Walter?”

Google Groups: alt.tasteless.jokes
What’s German for ?
Clint
5/2/97
Are we making jokes about Germans or what ?

There was one story Billy Connolly told, where he asked an athlete at the Olympics
“Are you a pole-vaulter ?”
“No, I’m German, but how did you know my name is Walter”

Google Groups: alt.humor.puns
Puns of the Weak 11/30/01
Stan Kegel
11/30/01
(...)
At the Olympics a man went up to a competitor who was carrying a very long pole.  “Are you a pole vaulter?” “No, I’m German, but how did you know my name is Walter?” (Lorraine A. Bellis)

Google Books
The Good Sports Joke Book
By Paul M. Miller
Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing
2004
Pg. 230:
A reporter came up to him and asked, “Are you a pole vaulter?” The surprised man answered, “No, I’m a German. But how did you know my name is Walter?”

Reddit—Dadjokes
Posted by u/stereoroid February 21, 2017
The Pole Vaulter
During the Olympics in Rio last year, a journalist was walking through the Olympic Village, and passed a guy carrying a long pole over his shoulder.
“Hi! Are you a pole vaulter?”
“No, I’m German, but how do you know my name?”

Reddit—Jokes
Posted by u/durakdurakov May 10, 2020
At the Olympics I saw a man carrying a long sick and I asked, “Are you a pole vaulter?”
He said “No. I am German but how did you know my name was Walter?”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Saturday, May 09, 2020 • Permalink