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.

Recent entries:
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (11/23)
“An onion will make you cry, but they never have invented a vegetable that will make you laugh” (11/23)
“Some debts are fun when you’re acquiring them, but none are fun when you’re retiring them” (11/23)
“Facebook is like jail” (joke) (11/22)
“If people are trying to bring you down, it only means that you are above them” (11/22)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from January 21, 2011
“A grapefruit is a lemon that had a chance and took advantage of it”

"A grapefruit is a lemon that had a chance and took advantage of it!” is a witticism first cited in print in 1913 and credited to someone named “Baer”—possibly Arthur ‘Bugs” Baer (1886-1969). Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) is often given credit, but there’s no evidence that the statement was even in print during his lifetime.

The slang sense of “lemon” meaning something defective or unsatisfactory was popularized in 1906.


Google News Archive
2 June 1913, Trenton (NJ) Evening True American, pg. 11, col. 2:
Succulent Grape-fruit.
A fellow by the name of Baer, perhaps the original Bear, makes the remark that “a grapefruit is a lemon that had a chance and took advantage of it!”—The Co-opt-or.

Google News Archive
1 May 1922, Bakersfield (CA) Californian, pg. 5, col. 1:
A Grapefruit Is a Lemon That Took Advantage of an Opportunity.

Google News Archive
15 January 1931, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, pg. 31, col. 7 classified ad:
SALESMEN
A grapefruit is a lemon that had a chance and took advantage of it.

Google Books
Map and Compass:
The art of navigation

By Pete Hawkins
Milnthorpe: Cicerone
2003
Pg. 149:
A grapefruit is a lemon that had a chance and took advantage of it (Oscar Wilde)

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Friday, January 21, 2011 • Permalink