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 November 30, 2022
“Toi, toi, toi” (good luck saying)

Wikipedia: Toi, toi, toi
“Toi toi toi” (English: /ˈtɔɪ ˈtɔɪ ˈtɔɪ/) is an expression used in the performing arts to wish an artist success in an imminent performance. It is similar to “break a leg” and reflects a superstition that wishing someone “good luck” is in fact bad luck.

There are many theories as to the origin of Toi toi toi as an idiom. In folklore it was used to ward off a spell or hex, often accompanied by knocking on wood or spitting. One origin theory sees “toi toi toi” as the onomatopoeic rendition of spitting three times, a common practice in many parts of the world to ward off evil spirits. Saliva traditionally had demon-banishing powers. Another theory claims the origin to be a threefold warning of the devil (Teufel, pronounced as TOY-fell) in German (n.b. not the French “toi").

Also from Rotwelsch tof and from Yiddish tov ("good", derived from the Hebrew טוב and with phonetic similarities to the Old German tiuvel “Devil").

15 July 1943, The Landmark (White River Junction, VT), “Lights of New York” by L. L. Stevenson, pg. 5, col. 6:
Old Belief: According to Rise Stevens, whose husband, Walter Szurovy, is of Hungarian birth, the European equivalent of wishing good luck to a performer about to go on stage is: “I hope you sing like a pig.” It’s an old, old belief. Miss Stevens continued, that to wish a performer good luck is certain to bring bad luck. The proper way to combat evil influences hanging around gremlin-like, is to say “Toi, toi, toi.” The words, in insignia, are represented by three bars. Mr. Szurovy being stationed in an army camp in California cannot say “Toi, toi, toi” to his wife before her performances. So her designed a ring for her, three diamond bars set in pink gold, which she wears as a reminder that, though he may be 3,000 miles away, he is plugging for her.

London Theatre
The stories behind theatre’s well-known phrases and sayings
Will Longman
25 May, 2022, 10:51
“Toi, Toi, Toi”
If you’re involved in a production, fellow cast members may say “Toi, Toi, Toi” which could sound like nonsense. Actually, it’s another phrase to wish good luck to other actors. It derives from German/Yiddish tradition, with people spitting “Toi” to rid off any evil spirits and in turn, bad luck.

Replying to @jacecore
Toi, toi, toi - as they say in Germany before somebody gets on stage to wish them luck and chase evil spirits away. smile
8:51 AM · Nov 12, 2022·Twitter Web App

Portobello Express
Replying to @ChrisBodMusic
As we say in Austria, toi toi toi and good luck❤
6:10 AM · Nov 28, 2022·Twitter for Android

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Wednesday, November 30, 2022 • Permalink

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