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:
“There was a fight at the fish and chip shop. The fish got battered” (12/21)
“If you’re white, it’s all right” (12/21)
“Courtesy Counts: Manners Make a Better Ride” (bus and subway slogan) (12/21)
Manspreading (12/20)
“I can’t breathe” (anti-police brutality slogan) (12/20)
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 July 24, 2014
“My family’s in the iron and steel business” (joke)

"My family’s in the iron and steel business,” goes an old joke. “My mother irons and my father steals.”

The joke appeared in a college humor magazine in 1930 (the Google Books date may be incorrect) and on a radio program by American comedian Ed Wynn (1886-1966) in 1932.


Google Books
The Gargoyle
University of Michigan humor magazine
1930
Pg. 5:
Her parents are in the iron and steel business. Her mother irons and her father steals. — Tiger Phi Beta

26 July 1932, San Antonio (TX) Express, “WOAI,” pg. 5, col. 8:
The latest opera described by Ed Wynn during the NBC Texaco program was a “gangster” opera. Wynn sairt it was about a boy “whose parents were in tlie iron and steel business. His mother irons and his father steals.”

4 March 1938, The Vidette Messenger (Valparaiso, IN), “De Motte” by Charles Curtin, pg. 6, col. 3:
Here’s what we heard a youngster of this modern age say the other day: “I don’t have to work, my parents are in the Iron and Steel business, “mother irons all day and Dad steals all night.”

Google Books
The Speechmaker’s Complete Handbook:
A Storehouse of Colorful, Point-making Material and Complete Planning Guide for Public Speakers

By Edward L. Friedman
New York, NY: Harper
1955
Pg. 300:
His family were in the iron and steel business. His mother irons and his father steals.

30 April 1955, Aberdeen (SD) American-News, Bennett Cerf column, pg. 4, col. 3:
A jailbird, reminiscing to a sympathetic caller, declared, “My folks, you know, are in iron and steel. My mother irons—and my father steals.”

Google News Archive
5 June 1967, Reading (PA) Eagle, ‘Capitol Opinion” by William Ecenbarger, pg. 16, col. 3:
Teen-aged boy to his girlfriend: “My family’s in iron and steel. My mother irons and my father steals.”

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of One-Liners
By Geoff Tibballs
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.
2012
Pg. ?:
My parents are in the iron-and-steel business. My mother irons and my father steals.

Twitter
Jacky Donovan
‏@Instantwhips
#TellAnOldJokeDay
‘Are your relatives in business?’
‘Yes - in iron & steel’
‘Oh?’
‘Yes - my mother irons & my father steals’
#humour
7:26 AM - 24 Jul 2014

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Thursday, July 24, 2014 • Permalink