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 February 24, 2013
“Be not afraid of any man, no matter what his size; when danger threatens, … I will equalize”

This message is sometimes said to have been printed on a Colt revolver used in the old West:

“Be not afraid of any man;
No matter what his size;
When danger threatens, call on me—
And I will equalize!”


There is no physical or documentary evidence of any such revolver from the old West. The lines appear to have been created in the story “The Backslider,” by Lucian Carey, that was published in newspapers in 1931 and 1932.


25 October 1931, Charleston (WV) Gazette, “The Backslider” by Lucian Carey, Magazine Section, pg. 3, col. 6:
(The following lines were printed on a revolver—ed.)
“Be not afraid of any man;
No matter what his size;
When danger threatens, call on me—
And I will equalize!”

20 May 1946, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “The Great Equalizer,” pg. 4, col. 1:
A make of revolver widely used in the old West had engraved on its handle this little verse:

“Fear not any man,
No matter what his size.
When danger threatens, call on me,
And I will equalize!”

Google Books
Modern Gunsmithing;
A manual of firearms design, construction, and remodeling for amateurs & professionals

By Clyde Baker
Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Co.
1959
Pg. 498:
I am reminded of some lines which I once saw beautifully engraved on the ivory handle of a Peacemaker carried by a deputy sheriff in south Texas some years ago : “Be not afraid of any man, No matter what his size; When danger threatens, call on me — And I will equalize!”

13 July 1960, Boston (MA) Traveler, pg. 48, col. 3:
His revolver, a gift from the Colt firearms company, is engraved with his name and these words of wisdom:

Be not afraid of any man
No matter what his size
When danger threatens, call on me
And I will equalize.


Google Books
The Gun in America:
The Origins of a National Dilemma

By Lee B. Kennett and James L. Anderson
Westport, CT : Greenwood Press
1975
Pg. 108:
Be not afraid of any man,
No matter what his size;
When danger threatens, call on me
And I will equalize.
Inscription on a Winchester rifle

Google Books
The Oxford Dictionary of American Quotations
By Hugh Rawson and Margaret Miner
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2006
Pg. 281:
Do not be afraid of any man,
no matter what his size.
Just call on me,
and I will equalize.
Anonymous, on the virtues of the Colt revolver, c. 1875
The Colt .45 caliber Peacemaker, also called “The Equalizer,”was introduced in 1873 and swiftly became the sidearm of choice in the American west.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Sunday, February 24, 2013 • Permalink