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. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from January 23, 2005
Butter-and-Egg Man
"Butter-and-egg man" has long thought to have been coined by nightclub queen Texas Guinan in 1924. She certainly did popularize it. In 1925, The Butter and Egg Man was the title of a Broadway play by George S. Kaufman.

However, the term "butter and egg man" (literally, someone who sells butter and eggs) dates back to at least the beginning of the 1890s. And the slang phrase probably comes from Muriel Hanford (1892-1965), the Ziegfeld Follies "Peacock Girl" in 1913. The Muriel Cigar is possibly named after her.

(Ocford English Dictionary)
butter-and-egg man U.S. slang, a wealthy, unsophisticated man who spends money freely
1926 H. C. WITWER Roughly Speaking 229 A couple of big *butter and egg men from Verona, New Jersey. 1927 Daily Express 31 Aug. 8/7 'Butter and egg man' is an American slang expression practically equal to our term 'greenhorn', that is, a man of money who spends lavishly and is an easy prey of the gold-digger and other unscrupulous persons.

23 January 2005, New York Times, city section, FYI, pg. 2:
Her (Texas Guinan - ed.) second-most-famous idiom came about this way, according to The Home Book of American Quotations: A generous stranger at her club in 1924 announced he was picking up all the checks in the house, threw $50 bills to the female entertainers, and, when asked his name, said only that he was in "the dairy produce business." Miss Guinan responded by introducing him to the crowd as "the big butter and egg man."

28 February 1936, Hammond (Ind.) Times, pg. 4, col. 1:

Muriel Window Hanford, Who
Jarred Metropolises, Liv-
ing in Iowa

ARNOLD PARK, Ia., Feb. 28. -- Shades of Flo Ziegfeld and Tex Guinan -- Muriel Window Hanford has settled down!

Her whirlwind start and night club career which jarred and pleased Paris, New York, Hollywood -- even Sioux City, Ia. -- has gone definitely domestic in the more or less rustic scenes of this Iowa lake region.
To the community, she may become just Mrs. Howard G. Turnley, housewife and home maker. That is her new husband's name, and he lives at Mankato, Minn.

To her old friends, it is certain she will remain Muriel Hanford, the girl, now 40 or 50, who originated the "big butter and egg man" phrase which the late Tex Guinan popularized, and whose Sioux City night club bore the slogan, "You Can't Beat Fun."

"Yes, we were married two years ago, in Old Mexico," she said when questioned about Turnley. Her previous husbands were Emmet Keane, actor, and Arthur Hanford, Siouz City transport magnate, her "butter and egg man."

30 August 1965, Holland Evening Sentinel, pg.8, col. 7:
Former Vaudeville
Star Dies at Age 74

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (UPI)--Mrs. Muriel Window Turnley, who introduced the world to such songs as "'Til We Meet Again" and "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles," died Sunday at the age of 74.

The Peacock Girl in the 1913 Ziegfield Follies Show, she played opposite such big names as Al Jolson, Will Rogers and Sir Harry Lauder.

The Muriel Cigar was named in her honor.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (1) Comments • Sunday, January 23, 2005 • Permalink