The Devil and Daniel Webster

In popular culture

  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, both the premiere and final episodes, "Encounter at Farpoint" and "All Good Things...", had Captain Picard being placed on trial as mankind's representative for the "crimes of Humanity". Omnipotent "Q" served as judge, with a jury of loudly derisive post-apocalyptic criminals. In a reversal of the original story's wholly antagonistic relationship between Scratch and Webster/Stone, Q helped Picard to win the trial, which turned out to be a continuation of the original trial from the premiere episode seven years before.
  • This story was parodied in the first segment of "Treehouse of Horror IV", a Halloween episode of the animated television series The Simpsons. In the segment, known as "The Devil and Homer Simpson", the Devil is played by Ned Flanders, and Homer sells his soul not for better luck, but for a doughnut. Lacking an oratorical heavyweight like Daniel Webster, it is up to incompetent attorney Lionel Hutz to win Homer's freedom from Hell. Hutz abandons the trial early on after blundering, and instead Homer's wife Marge saves Homer with the writing on a wedding photo, showing that Homer had already promised his soul to her. Defeated but spiteful, the Devil turns Homer's head into a doughnut, and the next morning the Springfield Police Force are waiting for Homer to come out of his house. The Jury of the Damned consists of Benedict Arnold, Lizzie Borden, Blackbeard, John Wilkes Booth, John Dillinger, the starting line-up of the 1976 Philadelphia Flyers and Richard Nixon (who was not dead at the time, but owed the Devil a favor).
  • A 2005 biopic about cult musician Daniel Johnston was entitled The Devil and Daniel Johnston in reference to the story.
  • The Superman novel Miracle Monday mentions the events of this story without naming the characters, except for Webster and the Devil, who is revealed not to be the Devil himself, but rather Saturn, an agent of his.[2] The climax of the novel, where Saturn must grant Superman a wish after having been defeated by his nobility, is also likely inspired by this story.
  • The story and title were also adapted in "The Devil and Peter Tork", an episode of the 1960s television series The Monkees.
  • Nelvana created an animated television special called The Devil and Daniel Mouse based on the story. In the program, Daniel Mouse is a musician whose partner, Jan, sells her soul to the Devil in exchange for fame.
  • Two Chick Publications tracts, The Contract![3] and It's A Deal,[4] borrow heavily from the story. The Contract! follows the original plot more closely (telling of a bankrupt farmer facing eviction), while It's a Deal is a Chick tract rewritten for the African-American community and features a young basketball player.
  • In his court order rejecting plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis in the lawsuit United States ex rel. Gerald Mayo v. Satan and His Staff, 54 F.R.D. 282 (1971), Judge Gerald J. Weber cited this story as the sole, though "unofficial", precedent touching on the jurisdiction of United States courts over Satan.
  • In the 1995 Tiny Toon Adventures TV Special, Night Ghoulery, this story is parodied in "The Devil and Daniel Webfoot."

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