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 May 17, 2017
“Betting is like liquor. You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular”

American journalist Arthur “Bugs” Baer (1886-1969) wrote in May 1950:

“Betting is pretty much like liquor. You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.”

Baer frequently used the “You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular” sentence construction. Baer wrote in July 1931: “Looks like war is related to drinking and necking. You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.”

“You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular” has also been credited to New Orleans (LA) Mayor Martin Behrman (1864-1926), talking about shutting down the prostitution in Storyville in 1917.


Wikipedia: Arthur “Bugs” Baer
Arthur “Bugs” Baer (January 9, 1886 – May 17, 1969) was an American journalist and humorist. Baer was prominent in the New York City journalism and entertainment scene for many years and worked as a sports journalist and cartoonist. Called by the New York Times “one of the country’s best known humorists”, he wrote the humor column “One Word Led to Another” for the King Features Syndicate (the Hearst papers).

Known as a source of quips that were often repeated by others (and the reported inventor of the nickname “Sultan of Swat” for Babe Ruth), Milton Berle is known as one of the people to have “tapped his wit… admitting that when he needed fresh humor, he would invite Mr. Baer to spend an hour or two with him at Toots Shor’s.”

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
11 July 1931, Syracuse (NY) Journal, “All Quits on Western Front” by Arthur “Bugs” Baer, pg. 1, col. 2:
Looks like war is related to drinking and necking. You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.

11 July 1934, Roseburg (OR) News-Review, “One Word Led TO Another” by Bugs Baer, pg. 4, col. 5:
It’s his nature to be taken as easy as a Chinese trench in war time. It’s his lifelong habit, and salt won’t save him. The government will make it illegal. But it will never make it unpopular.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
17 April 1936, Times-Union (Albany, NY), “Bugs Bear Says” by Arthur “Bugs” Baer, pg. 20, col. 6:
Our daily statement from Black Committee is that you can make snooping unconstitutional, but you cannot make it unpopular.

29 January 1937, Wilmington (DE) Morning News, “Baering Down On The News” by Arthur (Bugs) Baer, pg. 15, col. 2:
Carter (Glass—ed.) says it is agin the Constitution to spend the government’s money on the people. Well, Carter, that’s like kissing a girl on a park bench. You can make it illegal, but you can never make it unpopular.

8 October 1945, Jackson (TN) Sun, “One Word Led To Another” by Arthur “Bugs” Baer, pg. 12, col. 6:
You can make reprisals in war illegal, but you will never make them unpopular.

21 January 1948, Marietta (GA) Daily Journal, “Baering Down on the News” by Arthur “Bugs” Baer (INS), pg. 4, col. 5:
A bit of advice for Stassen,. You can make inside information illegal, but you will never make it unpopular.

30 July 1949, Albuquerque (NM) Journal, “Baering Down on the News” by Arthur Baer, pg. 8, col. 2:
Washington may make five percenting a crime but they’ll never make it unpopular.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
9 May 1950, Buffalo (NY) Courier Express, “Bugs Baer,” pg. 18, col. 8:
Betting is pretty much like liquor. You can make it illegal but you can’t make it unpopular.

18 August 1950, The Daily Journal-Gazette and Commercial-Star (Mattoon, IL), pg. 6, col. 6:
“Betting is pretty much like liquor. You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.”—Arthur “Bugs” Baer, INS

29 August 1950, Lubbock (TX) Evening Journal, “The Plainsman,” sec. 3, pg. 2, col. 1:
“Betting is pretty much like liquor. You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.” (Arthur Baer, for INS).

15 March 1969, Greensboro (NC) Record, “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. A6, col. 3:
WISH I’D SAID THAT: Betting is like liquor. You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.—Arthur Baer.

Google Books
14,000 Quips & Quotes:
For Speakers, Writers, Editors, Preachers, and Teachers

By E. C. McKenzie
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House
1990, ©1980
Pg. 306:
Gambling is pretty much like liquor; you can make it illegal but you can’t make it unpopular.

Google Books
20,000 Quips & Quotes
By Evan Esar
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books
1995, ©1968
Pg. 74:
Betting is pretty much like liquor: you can make it illegal, but you cannot make it unpopular. — Arthur Baer

Google Books
You Can Bet On It!:
Professional Secrets on Winning Money at Sports Betting

By Larry Grossman
New York, NY: Cardoza Publishing
2004
Pg. 172:
Gambling is pretty much like liquor; you can make it illegal, but you can ‘t make it unpopular. — Anonymous

Twitter
Bud Friesel‏
@bud_friesel
#ThursdayThoughts Betting is pretty much like liquor; you can make it illegal, but you cannot make it unpopular - Arthur Baer
9:09 AM - 26 May 2016

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • Wednesday, May 17, 2017 • Permalink