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 15, 2018
Baloney (nonsense)

Entry in progress—B.P.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
baloney | boloney, n. and int.
Etymology: Commonly regarded as < Bologna n. (sausage) but the connection remains conjectural.
slang (orig. U.S.).
Humbug; nonsense.
1928 Sat. Evening Post 28 Nov. 21 Gee, that’s a long shot. Boloney! That’s not the ball—it’s the divot.

4 January 1922, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, “Kid Roberts” American Champion” by H. C. Witwer, pg. A3, cols. 1-2:
“I’ll slip 200 berries for 10 frames with Special Delivery Kelly, provided that big boloney of yours stays the limit.”

30 June 1922, Variety (New York, NY), pg. 6, col. 3:
GRIFTERS HAVE BAD BREAK UP THE STATE
Con Meets Couple from His Old Mob—Country Slickers Clean Them on Season
Binghamton, June 28.
Dear Chick:
Cuthbert and Algy will be here next week. The local papers are full of baloney about the pennant bein’ in as soon as this pair get out their uniform.
(...)
Your old pal,
Con. (Jack Conway—ed.)

6 October 1922, Variety (New York, NY), pg. 9, col. 2:
BROADWAY BELLES
(MUTUAL BURLESQUE)
For discriminating burlesque audiences “The Broadway Belles” at the Olympic this week is a lot of boloney.
(...)
Con. (Jack Conway—ed.)

3 February 1926, Variety (New York, NY), “Strand” house review by Fred, pg. 36, col. 4:
He has done one thing for Lopez that the latter should be thankful for, and that is, wiped out those phoney baloney stereopticon effects that Lopez used in the past.

19 October 1928, The Times (Munster, IN), “The Diary of a New Yorker” by Clark Kinnaird, pg. 4, col. 8:
Here are some of the phrases credited to (Jack—ed.) Conway: “Scram” (Get out); “Meet the headache” (Meet the wife); “That’s the pay-off” (meaning the same thing); “Dempsey will knock him stiffer than a dress shirt”; “palooka” (third rater); “S. A.” (sex appeal); “That’s a lotta baloney” (borrowed by Governor Al Smith); “peasants” (ordinary folk); “high hats” (other kind); “It’s a pushover” (success); “clicked” (same); “Laugh that off” and “belly laughs.”

11 November 1928, The Montana Standard (Butte, MT), “As O. O. McIntyre Sees It,” pt. 2, pg. 10, col. 6:
In the passing of Jack Conway or “Con,” as he was known to readers of Variety, the theatrical weekly, all over the world, the nation lost its most adroit slangmaker. (...) He coined such words as “palooka,” “clicked,” “belly laughs,” “that’s a lotta baloney,” “that’s the pay off,” “high hats” and “push-over.”

5 December 1951, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “A Line o’ Type or Two” by John T. McCutcheon Jr., pt. 1, pg. 16, col. 3:
Baloney is an Americanism derived from the Italian bologna and apparently used in New York by people who didn’t like the dish. Jack COnway, an entertainer who died in 1928, is credited with using it first, and Al Smith made it popular in 1934 in connection with the baloney, or devalued, dollar.

3 January 1987, Ottawa (ON) Citizen, “Baloney - or boloney - ‘used in the best circles’ to describe political talk” by Harry Bruce, pg. C4:
He (H. L. Mencken—ed.) said that Jack Conway, a baseball player who took to vaudeville and ended his career on Variety, “is credited with having launched baloney, possibly borrowed from the argot of the Chicago stockyards, where an old and tough bull, fit only for making sausage, has long had the name bologna. During the 1920s baloney was also used to designate a clumsy prize fighter, but it has given way to palooka, which Conway introduced in 1925.”

More than Conway, however, it was New York Governor Alfred E. Smith who made baloney what it is today. Asked by a cameraman to lay a brick for a film shot, Smith said, “That’s just baloney. Everybody knows I can’t lay bricks.” Asked about plans to take the U.S dollar off the gold standard in 1933, he said, “I am for gold dollars as against baloney dollars.” In 1936, Smith earned his way into several anthologies of quotations with his immortal “No matter how thin you slice it, it’s still baloney.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, October 15, 2018 • Permalink