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 March 22, 2013
“Slicker than owl shit” (very slick)

To be “slicker than owl shit” is to be very slick. The expression is popular throughout the South, but possibly originated in Texas. “Alcalde oil is as slick as owl grease” was cited advertised in Texas newspapers in 1894. A 1931 list of questions about popular expressions asked, “How slick is owl grease?”

“Slicker than owl manure” was cited in print in 1961. “Slicker than owl — “ was cited in print in 1962 and “slicker than owl spit” was cited in 1985. “Slicker than owl shit” has probably been in use (if not in print) since at least the 1950s.

7 January 1894, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 8, col. 2:
Alcalde oil is as slick as owl grease.

20 August 1931, Pomeroy (IA) Herald, “Can You Answer,” pg. 4, col. 2:
How full is a tick?
How slick is owl grease?
How innocent is a lamb?

Google Books
No Flowers for a Clown
By Stanley Noyes
New York, NY: Macmillan
Pg. 29:
He said that he was just as happy he was not clowning this show, because by night the arena ought to be slicker than owl manure.

Google Books
Navy Diver
By Joseph Sidney Karneke as said to Victor Boesen
New York, NY: Putnam
Pg. 124:
“His hose is covered with oil and slicker than owl — “

8 October 1971, San Antonio (TX) Express, “Offbeat” by Sam Kendrick, pg. 19-A, col. 1:
During the fall and winter months, it seems, waves from the surf come crashing over the jetty rocks. And this causes formation of a green, slimy moss which is slicker than owl vomit.

15 January 1973, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Texas Road Test: Pontiac Performs Well on Icy Roads” by Frank X. Tolbert, pg. 2D, col. 3:
The Grand Ville performed beautifully on roads slicker than owl grease, and I seldom touched the brakes except when holding.

23 May 1985, News Herald (Panama City, FL), “Senators ‘snookered’ over anti-abuse bill” by Bill Kaczor (Associated Press), pg. 1, col. 4:
On the Senate floor, Ms. Fox denied that she had purposefully tried to deceive anyone, but she later told Ms. Gordon that she had taken away her “slicker than owl spit” award.

Google Books
Southern Stuff:
Down-home talk and bodacious lore from deep in the heart of Dixie

By Mildred Jordan Brooks
New York, NY: Avon Books
Pg. 200:
(He’s) as slick as owl manure on a glass doorknob. An individual to beware of.

Slicker Than Owl Shit and Other Colorful Southern Sayings...
October 05, 2010 10:56 am by Kathryn W. in Life
I grew up in the South.

Google Books
American Expressions
By Billy R. Lawson
Pittsburgh, PA: Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc.
Pg. 93:
That’s slicker than owl shit
(That is really slick)

The Telegraph (UK)
Australian Grand Prix 2013: rain brings chaos as final qualification delayed until Sunday
By Oliver Brown, in Melbourne
8:48AM GMT 16 Mar 2013
03/16/2013 12:09 PM
Smart to postpone qualifying, as they say in Texas, the track was “slicker than owl shit” and believe me, that is slippery.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Friday, March 22, 2013 • Permalink