The pickles are ours
We had surmised that the likeliest reason for our inability to locate documentary proof of The Sun’s having published the headline You can put pickles up yourself was that it had appeared in an early edition of the paper and had then been subbed after someone noticed the unintended double meaning. (Our archive is limited to final editions of the paper.)
Now comes a first-person account from one Phil Evans validating The Sun’s claim to the headline:
“Being 73, my memory is suspect, but here's what I recall.
“The headline appeared in The Evening Sun in the 1960s. At the time I was a young city editor. On the day in question, the first copies of the first edition arrived in the newsroom around 10 a.m., I spotted the headline on the lead story in the food section. I went immediately to the Women's Department and confronted the food editor, a spinster of considerable age, and suggested that the headline be changed. When she asked why, I decided that an explanation would be awkward and took it upon myself to make the change, which I did before the next edition. So, the headline ran in just one of the five daily editions The Evening Sun was producing in those days. I don't know if the same headline ever appeared in The Washington Post.”
Mr. Evans’ memory is just fine with us, and The Sun’s claim, or more properly The Evening Sun's claim, to the (somewhat dubious) honor of having produced this legendary headline stands unchallenged.