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:
“Everybody wants to get into the act” (9/17)
“I’ve got a million of ‘em” (comedy saying) (9/17)
“Drink is the greatest wrecker of men since women was invented” (9/17)
“If life gives you melons, you may be dyslexic” (9/16)
“Pizza: The edible pie chart” (9/16)
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Entry from September 17, 2014
“Everybody wants to get into the act”

"Everybody wants to get into the act” (or “Everybody wants ta get inta da act") was a catchphrase of Manhattan-born comedian and entertainer Jimmy Durante (1893-1980). The song “Everyone Wants to Get into the Act” dates to 1924, when the group of Clayton, Jackson and Durante performed it at their Dover Club in New York City. The line became nationally popular when Durante reprised it on his radio show in the 1940s.

Although the line is associated with show business performing, “everybody wants to get into the act” (meaning that everyone wants to get on a successful venture) has been used in business and in politics as well.


Wikipedia: Jimmy Durante
James Francis “Jimmy” Durante (February 10, 1893 – January 29, 1980) was an American singer, pianist, comedian, and actor. His distinctive clipped gravelly speech, New York accent, comic language butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and large nose helped make him one of America’s most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s. His jokes about his nose included referring to it as a Schnozzola, and the word became his nickname.
(...)
Aside from “Dat’s my boy dat said dat!”, “Dat’s moral turpentine!” and “It’s a catastastroke!” (for “catastrophe”,) Durante sent such catchphrases as “Everybody wants ta get inta the act!”, “Umbriago!”, “Ha-cha-cha-chaaaaaaa!”, “I got a million of ‘em” and “Surrounded by assassins!” into the vernacular.

Wikiquote: Jimmy Durante
James Francis Durante (10 February 1893 – 29 January 1980) American pianist, actor, comedian, composer, and singer; usually known as Jimmy Durante, also nicknamed “The Schnozzola”, and “The Schnoz”, in reference to his large nose.
(...)
Everybody wants ta get inta da act!
. As quoted in Billboard (23 April 1949), p. 126

Google Books
Silly Girl:
A Portrait of Personal Remembrance

By Angna Enters
Cambridge, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co.
1944
Pg. 154:
As that well-dressed man, the one and only Jimmy Durante, says: ‘Everybody wants to get into the act.’

11 April 1944, Seattle (WA) Times, “Blackstone Packs Kiddies in the Palomar” by B. C., pg. 9, col. 7:
To quote Durante, “Everybody wants to get in the act.”

3 August 1944, Greensboro (NC) Record, “But I’m Not Beefing” by Frank Sinatra, pg. 6, col. 3:
Everybody Wants to Be an Actor.
Durante says, “Everybody wants to get inta the act.”

I want to qualify that. “Everybody wants to be an actor.”

25 May 1948, Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID), “350 Boise High Graduates Hear President McIntosh,” pg. 6, col. 1:
“This reminds us of Jimmy Durante’s philosophy that ‘everyone wants to get into the act.’”

Google Books
Jimmy Durante:
His Show Business Career, with an Annotated Filmography and Discography

By David Bakish
Jefferson, NC: McFarland
1995
Pg. 27:
After the Club Durant closed, Clayton, Jackson and Durante opened the Dover Club. During the first season there the partners, according to Clayton, “started coming out with songs like ‘I Can Do Without Broadway (But Can Broadway Do Without Me?).’ ‘Everybody Wants to Get into the Act,’ ‘Again You Turna,” and ‘Broadway’s a Phony.’” The club closed in May 1926 but reopened that fall, with Variety‘s Sime Silverman calling attention to the national reputation that the three were building on top of their considerable local fame. The atmosphere of the Dover was recreated two decades later on Jimmy Durante’s radio show.
Pg. 256:
1924. EVERYBODY WANTS TO GET INTO THE ACT, by JD.
Mentioned by Lou Clayton as a number sung at the Dover Club, Fowler, p. 82. The Durante exclamation of fake exasperation is often used, not the song.

OCLC WorldCat record
Corporate America speaks… polyphonically. (Or, as Jimmy Durante was known to say, “Everybody wants ta get in-ta de act.")
Author: H Kaback
Publisher: [McLean, Va., Information for Industry, inc.]
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: Directors & boards. 26, Part 4 (2002): 6
Database: ArticleFirst

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theater • Wednesday, September 17, 2014 • Permalink


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