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 09, 2017
“What do you give to a man who has everything?"/"Penicillin.”

A problem was popularized in the 1950s, especially around Christmas—what do you give the person who has everything? There’s a joke:

Q: What do you give to a man who has everything?
A: Penicillin.


The joke was told by American comedian George Gobel (1919-1981) on television’s The George Gobel Show in December 1954.


Wikipedia: George Gobel
George Leslie Gobel (May 20, 1919 – February 24, 1991) was an American comedian and actor. He was best known as the star of his own weekly NBC television show, The George Gobel Show, which ran from 1954 to 1960 (the last season on CBS, alternating with The Jack Benny Program).

Google Books
I.A. of M. Banner
I.A. of M. Local 1853
1951 (Google Books date may be incorrect—ed.)
Pg. 32:
Was asked the other day what to give 3 girl who has everything and the only thing I could think of was “Penicillin”.

21 December 1954, Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer and News, “Inside TV” by Eve Starr, pg. 23, col. 5:
Cleverest patter of the week was his (George Gobel—ed.) advice to Christmas shoppers—for the man who has everything, why not a gift certificate for a series of penicillin shots; for the man who has nothing, a five-pound box of money. Funny man!

25 December 1955, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), “The Wit Parade” by E. E. Kenyon, The American Weekly, pg. 13, col. 3:
Gift suggestion to doctors, for the patient who has everything: penicillin.

19 March 1957, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “More Laughs” by Earl Wilson, pg. 29, col. 4:
“Do you know what to give the girl who has everything?” asks TV comic George DeWitt. “Penicillin!”

29 April 1962, Boston (MA) Globe, “Radio-TV Gagbag” by Larry Wolters, pg. A24:
Leo P. Bott Jr.: “A suggestion for the girl who has everything—penicillin.”

Google Books
March 1974, Field & Stream, pg, 22, col. 2:
Dr. James W. Bagby, a duck-hunter of Clayton, Mo., wrote just before Christmas with a seasonable prescription.  Faced with the question, “What do you give to the man who has everything?” he suggests penicillin.

Google Books
The Official Doctors Jokebook
By Larry Wilde
New York, NY: Bantam Books
1981
Pg. 187:
PENICILLIN — What you give the man who has everything.

Google Books
The Anti-Prep Manual, Or, “See You Later, Alligator”
By Tom Shadyac
Falls Church, VA: Punch Pub.
1981
Pg. 3:
“What do you give the preppette who has everything? — Penicillin.”

Google Books
1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said
By Robert Byrne
New York, NY: Fawcett, Columbine
1988
Pg. 148:
65
What do you give a man who has everything? Penicillin.
Jerry Lester

Twitter
Londiniensis
‏@Londiniensis
What do you give to a man who has everything? Penicillin
5:55 AM - 18 Jul 2010

Twitter
John Rainone
‏@johnrain11
Doin’ my regular piano gig at the country club. What do you give to the man who has everything? Penicillin! http://johnrainonepianoman.com
6:48 AM - 1 Aug 2010

Google Books
A Dyslexic Walks Into a Bra:
A compendium of the best jokes, gags and one-liners

By Nick Harris
London: Michael O’Mara Books Limited
Pg. ?:
What should you give a woman who has everything? – Penicillin.

Google Books
The Ultimate Book of Rude and Politically Incorrect Jokes
By Allan Pease
New York, NY: Pavilion Books
2014
Pg. ?:
What do you give a blonde who has everything?
Penicillin.

Twitter
NotKennyRogers
‏@NotKennyRogers
Happy 30th Birthday to Paris Hilton!  What do you give to a girl who has everything?  Penicillin.
4:54 PM - 17 Feb 2011

Mirror (UK)
Making you cringe for Christmas: The best and the worst cracker jokes
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the corny, groan-inducing gags are an unmissable part of any family Christmas

BYRACHAEL BLETCHLY
16:08, 20 DEC 2012 UPDATED16:12, 20 DEC 2012
(...)
What do you give someone who has everything? - Penicillin.

Reddit—Jokes
What do you give to the man who has everything?
submitted January 15, 2016 by PoopAndSunshine
Penicillin.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityHolidays/Events/Parades • Monday, January 09, 2017 • Permalink