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.

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Entry from July 23, 2017
“Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse”

"Buying hay for a dead horse” is spending money for no present or future benefit. “Money spent in prohibition enforcement now is like buying hay for a dead horse” was printed in a 1933 newspaper.

“Paying alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse” was printed in a Kansas newspaper in 1934; no author was stated. The alimony saying has frequently been credited to New York-born actor and comedian Groucho Marx (1890-1977) since 2000, but there is no evidence that Marx said it as early as 1934.


28 June 1933, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “As It Appears to The Cavalier,” pg. 8, col .4:
Money spent in prohibition enforcement now is like buying hay for a dead horse.

26 April 1934, Collyer (KS) Advance, pg. 3, col. 1:
Paying alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse.

15 November 1939, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “As It Appears to The Cavalier,” pg. 10, col. 7:
Paying the debts of yesterday’s war must now seem to England and France like buying hay for a dead horse.

1 March 1940, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “As It Appears to The Cavalier,” pg. 14, col. 7:
Lending Finland money is like buying hay for a dead horse.

6 March 1945, The News-Chronicle (Shippensburg, PA), “One Line Stories” by Don C. Estes, pg. 3, col. 4:
Paying alimony is the same as buying hay for a dead horse.

Google Books
“These shoes are killin’ me.”
By Duke of Paducah
New York, NY: Radco Publishers
1947
Pg. 50:
I don’t believe in alimony — it’s too much like buying hay for a dead horse.

Google Books
Laugh Off:
The Comedy Showdown Between Real Life and the Pros

By Bob Fenster
Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing
2005
Pg. 49:
Movie comic Groucho Marx: “Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse.”

Twitter
Edgar Barrera‏
@ebarrera
“Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse.” -Groucho Marx
5:27 PM - 8 Apr 2008

Google Books
The Little Book of Humorous Quotes
Edited by Malcolm Kushner
Little Quote Books
2011
Pg. 39:
Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse. ~ Groucho Marx

Google Books
Las Vegas’ Golden Era: Memoirs 1954-1974
By Esper Esau
Indianapolis, IN: Dog Ear Publishing
2016
Pg. 25:
Movie star Mickey Rooney was at his zenith when he played the Riviera backed by the Renee Molnar dancers. During his act he referred to paying alimony to his many ex-wives as “buying hay for a dead horse.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Sunday, July 23, 2017 • Permalink