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 Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from April 12, 2021
“Open a can of worms” (idiom)

To “open a can of worms” is to release chaos, like opening Pandora’s box. If one opens a can of worms (for fishing), it is very difficult to close the can.

“Commissioner Ed Francis opened a small can of worms’’’” was printed in The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec) on October 31, 1941. It is not known where the idiom originated, but it is possible that it was popularized in a 1940s cartoon.

“I’ve just opened a can of worms.  They just sit there, the worms. Hardly the chaos that’s been advertised” was posted on Twitter by Dead Pan Nick on September 19, 2016. “I just opened up a big can of worms. They just sit there....the worms. Hardly the chaos that’s advertised” was posted on Reddit—Jokes on February 6, 2020.


Merriam-Webster Dictionary
open a can of worms idiom
: to create a complicated situation in which doing something to correct a problem leads to many more problems

(Oxford English Dictionary)
In colloquial phrase (to open) a can of worms, (to address) a complex and largely unexamined problem or state of affairs the investigation of which is likely to cause much trouble or scandal.
1962 Times 21 Feb. 12/4 He..knew that he had opened the bidding on what is sometimes called ‘a can of worms’.
1969 N. Dakota Law Rev. XLV. 215 Counsel can..better comprehend..the domestic can-of-worms that appears in so many delinquency and neglect cases.

Newspapers.com
31 October 1941, The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), “Commissioner Asks Who Controls The Wrestling Here” by Dink Carroll, pg. 16, col. 5:
Commissioner Ed Francis opened a small can of worms at the meeting of the Montreal Athletic Commission yesterday…

Newspapers.com
26 December 1944, The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), “Playing the Field” by Dink Carroll, pg. 10, col. 1:
That sounds like the truth and it looks as though the California people have opened a real can of worms, insomuch as the entire U S. sports program may be abandoned as a result.

Newspapers.com
8 January 1960, Daily News (New York, NY), “‘Elmer Gantry’ Is A Powerful Drama” by Wanda Hale, pg. 50, col. 1:
Richard Brooks, writer-director, who sold Burt Lancaster the idea of making a film of Elmer Gantry, has also opened a can of worms with his screen version of the controversial novel.

Twitter
Dead Pan Nick
@Contwixt
I’ve opened a can of worms.  They just sit there, the worms. Hardly the chaos that’s been advertised.
5:29 AM · Sep 19, 2016·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
shaynesteven
@ohorns
I’ve just opened a can of worms.  They just sit there, the worms. Hardly the chaos that’s been advertised.
7:17 PM · Dec 14, 2016·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
☠FLOKI☠
@WyldeHeartedSon
I just opened a can of worms.
They just lay there.
Hardly the chaos that’s been advertised.
4:11 PM · Jan 28, 2020·Twitter Web App

Reddit—Jokes
Posted by u/insolent_swine February 6, 2020
I just opened up a big can of worms.
They just sit there....the worms. Hardly the chaos that’s advertised.

Twitter
Duncs
@DSR_F11
I’ve just opened a can of worms.
The worms just tend to sit there.  Hardly the chaos advertised !
12:47 PM · Feb 21, 2020·TweetDeck

Twitter
✭ The Fabulous T - All vaxxed up!!!! ✭
@TeeDee1
I just opened a can of worms.
They just sit there, the worms, wiggling a bit here and there, but they just sit there.
Hardly the chaos which has been advertised.
6:40 PM · Jul 15, 2020·Twitter Web App

Twitter
Cheese Ninja
@shadow_kylie
Just opened a can of worms,
They are just there, in a pile, barely even moving…
This is not the sheer chaos I had been preparing myself for…
4:25 PM · Aug 16, 2020·Twitter for Android

twitter
Bob Kostic
@causticbob
I’ve just opened a can of worms.
They just sit there, the worms. Hardly the chaos that’s been advertised.
6:45 PM · Apr 12, 2021·Twitter Web App

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Monday, April 12, 2021 • Permalink