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 October 21, 2010
“Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; the third time it’s enemy action”

Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel, Goldfinger (1959), contains a line that has been used in government, business, science and other fields:

Goldfinger said,“‘Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time it’s enemy action.’”

It’s unclear that the saying’s origin is from Chicago; Fleming was probably thinking of Chicago’s gangster years of the 1920s-1930s. “Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a habit” has been cited in print since at least 1921. “Once is nothing, twice is coincidence, three times is a moral certainty” has been cited in print since 1923.


Wikipedia: Auric Goldfinger
Auric Goldfinger is a fictional character and the main antagonist in the James Bond film and novel Goldfinger. His first name, Auric, is an adjective meaning of gold. Ian Fleming chose the name to commemorate the architect Ernő Goldfinger, who had built his home in Hampstead next door to Fleming’s; he disliked Goldfinger’s style of architecture and destruction of Victorian terraces and decided to name a memorable villain after him. According to a 1965 Forbes article and The New York Times, the Goldfinger persona was based on gold mining magnate Charles W. Engelhard, Jr.

In 2003, the American Film Institute declared Auric Goldfinger the 49th greatest villain in the past 100 years of film. In a poll on IMDb, Auric Goldfinger was voted the most sinister James Bond villain, beating out in order Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Dr. No, Max Zorin, and Emilio Largo. Wizard Magazine listed Auric Goldfinger as the 91st greatest villain of all time.

Auric Goldfinger was played by Gert Fröbe, and was voiced by Michael Collins. Goldfinger was banned in Israel after it was revealed that Fröbe had been a member of the Nazi party during World War II. The ban, however, was lifted many years later when a Jewish family publicly thanked Fröbe for protecting them from persecution during the war.

Gert Fröbe, who did not speak English well, was dubbed in the film by Michael Collins, an English actor. In the German version Fröbe dubbed himself back again. Of his role as Goldfinger, Fröbe later remarked: “I am a big man, and I have a laugh to match my size. The ridiculous thing is that since I played Goldfinger in the James Bond film there are some people who still insist on seeing me as a cold, ruthless villain - a man without laughs.”
(...)
Goldfingerisms from the novel
. Money is an effective winding sheet.
. The safest way to double your money is to fold it twice and put it in your pocket.
. Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action. (Attributed as a saying in Chicago, and used in three sections also as titles for the novel’s three main sections.)

Chronicling America
7 May 1905, New York (NY) Sun, second section, pg. 2, col. 1:
“Violets always mean man,” said one girl to another in a Broadway florist’s recently: “If a girl wears violets once it may be an accident; twice, coincidence; after that it means a man.”

Google Books
The Highgrader
By: William MacLeod Raine
New York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap
1915
Pg. 12: 
“Once is a happenstance, twice makes a habit. Do it again, Curly, and we’ll hail you king of the river,” Colter promised, bringing to the table around which they were seating themselves a frying pan full of trout done to a crisp brown.

6 September 1921, San Jose (CA) Evening News, pg. 8, col. 2:
Once—in a case like this—may be an accident; twice—is a coincidence, and kinda spooky; three times, however, is either a habit, a calamity, a blessing, or the relentless pursuit of Fate, according to the point of view.

Google Books
Harilek; a romance
By Martin Louis Alan Gompertz
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company
1923
Pg. 8:
“‘Once is nothing, twice is coincidence, three times is a moral certainty.’ I think I’ve got a moral cert.”

Google Books
Dighton Rock:
A study of the written rocks of New England

By Edmund Burke Delabarre
New York, NY: W. Neale
1928
Pg. 305:
One of the infallible detectives of fiction whose identity I have forgotten is made by his creator to remark: “Once is a happening; twice is a coincidence; three times is a certainty.”

Google Books
Modern Game Breeding and Hunting Club News
California Game Breeders’ Association, American Pheasant Society, Western States Pheasant Society
Volumes 12-14
1942
Pg. 4:
THERE is a saying that once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a habit.

Google Books
Goldfinger
By Ian Fleming
New York, NY: Macmillan
1959
Pg. 5:
Goldfinger said,“‘Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time it’s enemy action.’”

Google Books
Ulysses found
By Ernle Dusgate Selby Bradford
New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & World
1963
Pg. 73:
There is a saying: “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.”

Google Books
The Candywine Development
By John Morris
London: Collins
1970
Pg. 96:
“Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, but after three times a smart man starts askin’ himself questions.”

Google Books
Marathon Man
By William Goldman
New York, NY: Dell Publishing Co., Inc.
1976
Pg. 46:
“There’s a line in a James Bond novel, Levy — ‘the first time it’s coincidence, the second time it’s happenstance, the third time it’s enemy action.’”

Google Books
Real Magic:
An introductory treatise on the basic principles of yellow magic

By Philip Emmons Isaak Bonewits
Berkeley, CA: Creative Arts Book
1979
Pg. 266:
Statistics, Three Magical Laws of: “Once is dumb luck, twice is coincidence and three times is somebody trying to tell you something.”

Google Books
1984, Spring:
A choice of futures

By Arthur C. Clarke
New York, NY: Ballantine Books
1984
Pg. 204:
I am now the proud possessor of three (who was the criminologist who said, “Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence but three times is a conspiracy”?) and won’t be in the running for any more, so I can regard the entire Nebula voting system with detached complacency.

Google Books
Return to Berlin
By E. V. McDermitt
New York, NY: Vantage Press
2006
Pg. 289:
“There’s an old saying in Vegas. Once is coincidence. Twice is happenstance,” McConneld said. “Three times — enemy action.”

Questioning With Boldness...
Obama omits “Creator” from The Declaration Of Independence… again!
Posted on October 20, 2010 by Eric H. Dodge
“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” ~ Auric Goldfinger (from James Bond fame)
President Obama has done it again. He has selectively left out the “Creator” when citing The Declaration Of Independence… for the third time now.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Thursday, October 21, 2010 • Permalink