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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“The future belongs to those who build it” (12/11)
“Why did the non-binary prospector move to California?"/"There was gold in them/their hills” (12/11)
Entry forthcoming (12/11)
“Beat the pants off” (to defeat completely) (12/11)
“When the whole world has gone vegan, no one will expect the Spinach Inquisition!” (12/11)
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Entry from November 28, 2012
“I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left”

"I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left” is a jocular saying that has been printed on many images. American comedian Berl Williams (1918-1978) said in a “My Favorite Jokes” article for Parade magazine on November 27, 1977:

“My wife and I had absolutely nothing when we got started, and we’ve got most of it left.”

It’s uncertain if Berl Williams was the first to tell the joke.


27 November 1977, Sunday Independent Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA), “My Favorite Jokes” by Berl Williams, Parade magazine, pg. 18, col. 2:
Berl (Williams—ed.) looks back fondly to his beginnings in comedy and says, “My wife and I had absolutely nothing when we got started, and we’ve got most of it left.”

Google Books
Omni
Volume 7
1985
Pg. 146:
I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left. —R. E . Atkinson, Pittsburgh

18 July 1989, The Hawk Eye (IA), Bob Wilson column, pg. 3A, col. 6:
He (Bill Gullberg of Stronghurst—ed.) concludes his memories with a line that far outshines “I’ve got plenty of nothin’”: “I went through the ‘30s with nothing and still have most of it left.”

26 June 1993, Charlotte (NC) Observer, “Gardener witnesses a lot from observation post,” pg. 2C:
A sign reads: “I Started Out With Nothing and I Still Have Most of It Left.”

LinuxSA.org.au
Toby Corkindale tjcorkin at steadycom.com.au
Fri Jun 11 14:00:26 CST 1999
(...)
..I started out with nothing...and I still have most of it left

I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left.

Google Books
Yada, Yada, Yada.Com.Org.Edu.Gov.Email:
What I Learned on the Www/Internet

By Joan E. Miller
Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc.
2000
Pg. 22:
4. I started out with nothing & still have most of it left.

2 August 2000, Washington (DC) Post, “Voila! The Funniest T-Shirts of 2000” by Bob Levey, pg. C11:
Started Out with Nothing and Still Have Most of It Left--Melanie Webb, of Alexandria.

Google Books
Knotted
By Michelle Holman
Auckland, NZ: HarperCollins
2009
Pg. ?:
She wore her Coco-The-Clown pants and a T-shirt that read I Started With Nothing And Still Have Most Of It Left.

Google Books
McIntire:
Defender of Faith and Freedom

By Gladys Titzck Rhoads and Nancy Titzck Anderson
Xulon Press (xulonpress.com)
2012
Pg. 517:
He could have hung this plaque on the wall: “I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Wednesday, November 28, 2012 • Permalink