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 January 29, 2013
“The public stayed away in droves”

American film producer Samuel Goldwyn (1879-1974) was known for his humorous misstatements or malapropisms that became known as “Goldwynisms.” One famous “Goldwynism” was when he allegedly remarked about his film We Live Again (1934), the little-seen adaptation of an 1899 Leo Tolstoy novel, that “the public stayed away in droves.” However, it can’t be verified with any certainty when (or if) he said the line.

“The good citizens..stayed away in droves” and “They stayed away in droves” were both cited in print in 1916, when they referred to sparsely attended baseball games.


Wikipedia: Samuel Goldwyn
Samuel Goldwyn (born Schmuel Gelbfisz (Yiddish: שמואל גלבפֿיץ); c. July 1879 – January 31, 1974), also known as Samuel Goldfish, was an American film producer. He was most well known for being the founding contributor and executive of several motion picture studios in Hollywood.
(...)
Goldwynisms
Samuel Goldwyn was also known for malapropisms, paradoxes, and other speech errors called ‘Goldwynisms’ ("A humorous statement or phrase resulting from the use of incongruous or contradictory words, situations, idioms, etc.") being frequently quoted.

CHronicling America
27 May 1916, Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), “Athletes Run True to Form at Cambridge” by Robert W. Maxwell, pg. 11, col. 3:
The good citizens of the cultured city just stayed away in droves yesterday, but a couple of hundred voters occupied space in the stadium.

17 September 1916, Anaconda (MT) Standard, “Twenty-One Pay To Watch Macklets Win,” pt. 3, pg. 2, col. 7:
They stayed away in droves.

Google News Archive
6 August 1931, Rochester (NY) Evening Journal and The Post Express, “Slats Still One Up on Maxie in Marathon” by Joseph S. Rogers, (United Service), pg. 21, col. 3:
Evidently the fans weren’t, for they stayed away in droves.

1 January 1936, Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “In Hollywood” by Paul Harrison (NEA), pg. 4, col. 4:
Hollywood, Dec. 31.—People who saw “Strike Me Pink” on Broadway several season ago—a revue full of the frenzied but futile hot chaing of Jimmie Durante—are likely to stay away in droves from the forthcoming picture by that name.

9 November 1957, Boston (MA) Daily Record, “TV Yesterday” by Bill Buchanan, pg. 17, cols. 5-6:
Arlene also referred briefly to some of the great Hollywood film magnates, including Sam Goldwyn and his “Goldwynisms” such as, “They stayed away in droves” and “Include me out.”

Google Books
The More You Show, the More You Sell:
A management guide for selecting, creating and using profit producing selling aids

By L. Mercer Francisco
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
1960
Pg. 190:
They “stay away in droves,” as Sam Goldwyn used to say, when they don’t like the show.

Google Books
Goldwyn:
A Biography

By A. Scott Berg
New York, NY: Ballantine Books
1990
Pg. 242:
“The public,” Sam Goldwyn told George Cukor, “stayed away in droves.”

Google Books
The Campaign of the Century:
Upton Sinclair’s Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics

By Greg Mitchell
New York, NY: Random House
1992
Pg. 559:
The reception that greeted We Live Again inspired one of Sam Goldwyn’s most famous malapropisms. The public, he explained, “stayed away in droves,” despite (or perhaps because of) a rave from EPIC News movie critic Upton Sinclair.

Google Books
Dim Wit:
The Stupidest Quotes of All Time

By Rosemarie Jarski
Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press
2010
Pg. 228:
They stayed away in droves.
Sam Goldwyn

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theater • Tuesday, January 29, 2013 • Permalink