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:
“What does breast milk taste like?"/"Umami.” (8/18)
“I’ve got this awful disease where I can’t stop telling airport jokes. Doctor says it’s terminal” (8/18)
“I keep randomly shouting out ‘Broccoli’ and ‘Cauliflower’—I think I might have florets” (8/18)
“Never play hide and seek with mountain ranges because they peak” (8/18)
Entry forthcoming (8/18)
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Entry from September 13, 2007
“Fellow-countrymen, follow me to yonder saloon!” (shortest-ever Texas political speech?)

"Fellow-countrymen, follow me to yonder saloon!” is said to be the shortest speech ever given by a Texas politician. A Kinky Friedman book declared this to be one of “actual quotes from actual Texas polticians,” but the politician is not named.

The quotation was used in the humor publication Texas Siftings in 1886 (again without attribution), and the quotation was also included in Boyce House’s 1944 joke collection, Tall Talk from Texas.

In the spring of 1878, several American newspapers all published the quotation in a small item that attributed it to a Nevada politician. (The politician won.)

2 May 1878, Racine (WI) Argus, pg. 7, col. 5: 
A Nevada politician was elected on the merits of one single speech. All said was: “Fellow-countrymen, follow me to yonder saloon!”

13 February 1886, Texas Siftings (Austin, TX), pg. 8:
THE condition of things that prevailed in the Ohio Senate a short time ago was not unlike that which usually prevails in Mexico. The speech made by the members seems to have been without effect, for the reason that they did not make the right kind of a speech. A speech to the effect of “gentlemen, follow me to yonder saloon,” would have broke the spell.

Google Books
Tall Talk from Texas
by Boyce House
San Antonio, TX: The Naylor Company
Kessinger Publishing
Pg. 32:
The shortest campaign speech in the history of Texas:
“Fellow citizens, follow me into yonder saloon.”

5 June 1947, Abilene (TX) Reporter-News, “Texas Laughs” by Boyce House, pg. 2, col. 4:
Shortest campaign speech in Texas history, “Fellow citizens, follow me into yonder saloon.”

Kinky Friedman’s Guide to Texas Etiquette:
Or, How to Get to Heaven or Hell Without Going Through Dallas-Fort Worth
by Kinky Friedman
New York: HarperCollins
2001, 2003
Pg. 25:
“Fellow citizens, follow me into yonder saloon.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, September 13, 2007 • Permalink