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:
“After winning, I threw the ball into the crowd. Apparently, that’s unacceptable in bowling” (5/23)
“She made French toast and got her tongue caught in the toaster” (5/22)
“The universe is made of protons, neutrons, electrons and morons” (5/22)
“The job requires me to get a potato clock” (get up at eight o’clock) (5/22)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (5/22)
More new entries...

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Entry from December 21, 2004
“What’s the story, Jerry?” (JGE); “Forget about it!” (Tops Appliance City)
Two "Brooklynese" appliance store advertisements have influenced New York slang.

J.G.E. (the letters stood for Jamaica Gas & Electric) was a short-lived appliance store. Owner Jerry Rosenberg appeared in his own ads, and his Bowery-ish "That's the story!" (to the question, "What's the story, Jerry?") became a late-night ad hit. J.G.E. wasn't a hit and it folded quickly in the 1970s.

Tops Appliance City ran similar ads over a decade later. The catch term that "Topsy" would use was "Forget About It!" That hasn't been forgotten.

17 June 1973, New York Times, pg. 134:
And then came Jerry ("What's the story, Jerry?") Rosenberg, New York's current commercial king, a pot-bellied man in a hardhat who enthusiastically plugs his own Jamaica Gas & Electric store, offering special deals on appliences to union members only. "That's the story!" he concludes, flinging both arms in the air.

17 March 1974, New York Times, pg. 163:
Hard-Hat Huckster
(...)
In 309 weekly TV spot commercials of 30 seconds each, Mr. Rosenberg in his own East Side parody of himself invited union members and civil service "workers" to visit any of 40 J.G.E. stores while a skeptical, offstage voice persists: "So what's the story, Jerry?"

Finishing his pitch with "That's the story!" he triumphantly throws up his arms to the television multitudes, exposing a protruding, naked belly.
(...)
Rehearsing the commercial, Jerry Rosenberg asked a moonlighting policeman to sit down and listen to a typical customer. The policeman said, "All right, so what's the story, Jerry?" Staring hard at the man, Mr. Rosenberg broke out in a grin and said: "I like it. Let's use it."

15 August 1974, New York Times, pg. 33:
What's The Story, Jerry?
(An article about President Gerald Ford - ed.)

31 May 1994, New York Times, pg. D7:
How can a grateful nation ever properly thank the executives of Tops Appliance City for toning down the annoying campaign featuring the crude character Topsy and his boorish shout "Forget about it!"?

(Trademark)
Word Mark JGE
Goods and Services (CANCELLED) IC 042. US 101. G & S: RETAIL HOME FURNISHINGS AND APPLIANCE STORE SERVICES. FIRST USE: 19720124. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19720124
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Design Search Code
Serial Number 72466914
Filing Date August 29, 1973
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 1004102
Registration Date February 4, 1975
Owner (REGISTRANT) JGE Enterprises, Inc. UNKNOWN New York NEW YORK
(LAST LISTED OWNER) JGE ENTERPRISES INC. CORPORATION NEW YORK 299 BROADWAY NEW YORK, N.Y.
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Cancellation Date June 30, 1981

Posted by Barry Popik
Work/Businesses • (3) Comments • Tuesday, December 21, 2004 • Permalink


I loved those “That’s the story!” commercials ... I remember so well (at least the punch-line) from when I was in early grade school.  In fact, our 2nd grade class had a hardhat and we would take turns playing Jerry.  Wonderful memories, I would love to see this ad again.

Posted by Mike  on  07/02  at  09:11 AM

Nobody pointed it out here, but this was taken from a line that Richard Castellano kept asking “So Jerry, what’s the story?” from the film Lovers and Other Strangers

Posted by Mike mercury  on  01/12  at  06:57 PM

dohhh.... it was Richie, not Jerry in the movie. but still, thats where it came from!

Posted by Mike mercury  on  01/12  at  07:02 PM

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