The great American horn teacher Philip Farkas had a story about water in the horn that he loved to tell. Nancy Fako relates the story as told by Farkas in the questions and answers part of a recorded 1979 panel discussion in her book Philip Farkas & His Horn.
I remember one time we played a TV show when Mr. Kubelik was conductor of the Chicago Symphony. One day he called me in and said that he was very upset. He had received two postcards that week saying that Mr. Wedgewood [second horn of the CSO] and I were caught by the camera dumping the water out of our horns. He said, ‘I don’t want any more of that!’ I said, ‘What do you mean, sir?’ He said he did not want us to take the water out. It was a one hour show. I looked at Mr. Wedgewood, who smiled (we weren’t too fond of him anyhow). ‘All right, sir.’ We knew what the program was. Nothing essential on it, so we did not take the water out for one solid hour. By the end of the program, the horn was gurgling all the time, even on the soft passages. He looked at us with a dirty look and when the show was over, he was furious. By this time, I was furious too. He said, ‘What were you making those sounds for? This is a broadcast!’ I said, ‘Well, Mr. Kubelik, you told us not to take the water out of our horns and this is what made the sounds.’ I took the slide out and dumped the water on his shoe. He was very quick and got his shoe out of the way, which probably saved my job!’