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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Entry from September 18, 2019
Tinsel Town or Tinseltown (nickname of New York City, then Hollywood)

"Tinsel town” (or “tinseltown") means a place that is like tinsel—shiny and bright on the surface, but fragile and not made of solid material. “Tinsel Town” by Clifton Bingham (about Lancashire) was an English play in 1890.

New York (NY) Tribune columnist Franklin P. Adams wrote “Oh, blatant, tawdry, tinsel town!” (New York City) in his column on September 1, 1921. Syndicated New York columnist Stephen Hannagan wrote, “‘I killed him because I loved him’ is another popular slogan in this tinsel town of romance” in his column in August 1924.

“Tinsel Town” would be applied to Hollywood by the late 1920s and early 1930s. “A legend has grown up around Greta Garbo in the tinsel town” (Hollywood) was printed in the Columbus (OH) Sunday Dispatch on September 22, 1929. American actress Mildred Harris-Chaplin (1901-1944) announced in January 1938 that she was writing a book to be titled “Tinseltown, or the City of Lost Angels,” but it does not appear that a book of this title was published.


Wiktionary: Tinseltown
Proper noun
Tinseltown

1. (slang) Hollywood, especially its movie industry.
2. (India, slang) The Bollywood movie industry.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Tinseltown n. a nickname for Hollywood; also transferred, the supposedly glittering world of Hollywood cinema; the Hollywood ‘myth’.
1975 Bookseller 16 Aug. 1305/1 The tinseltown stuff when Wodehouse won the applause of the theatre-going fans.
1984 Times 5 Mar. 8/7 When a filmmaker starts cherishing the natural roar of traffic on the soundtrack..you know she believes in Tinseltown.

1 July 1890, The Theatre (London, UK), “Tinsel Town” by Clifton Bingham, pg. 6:
("Tinsel Town” is Lancashire in North West England.—ed.)

OCLC WorldCat record
Tinsel Town. Song, words by C. Bingham.
Author: Walter Alfred Slaughter
Publisher: London : Hopwood & Crew, 1903.
Edition/Format: Musical score

Newspapers.com
1 September 1921, New York (NY) Tribune, The Conning Tower” by F.P.A. (Franklin P. Adams), pg. 12, col. 5:
SPEAKING INDEPENDENTLY
The city’s voice is full of pride
(...)
A million people go their ways (New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia all had over a million people in 1921. This probably refers to New York City.—ed.)
From sordid sorrow on to sorrow.

Oh, braggart city by the sea!
Oh, blatant, tawdry, tinsel town!
This hymn of hate I sing of thee,
Oh, siren in a drabbled gown!

19 August 1924, The Post (Cincinnati, OH), “Broadway, U.S.A.” by Steve Hannagan, pg. 4, col. 2:
“I killed him because I loved him” is another popular slogan in this tinsel town of romance. 

Newspapers.com
20 August 1924, Lancaster (PA) New Era, “In New York” by Stephen Hannagan, pg. 6, col. 7:
“I killed him because I loved him” is another popular slogan in this tinsel town of romance. 

22 September 1929, Columbus (OH) Sunday Dispatch, “Explaining the Mystery of Greta Garbo” by Alice L. Tildesley, pg. 5, col. 1:
Because she does not attend Hollywood parties, because she is almost never seen in public, because she is rarely recognized outside the studio, a legend has grown up around Greta Garbo in the tinsel town.

23 January 1931, Hartford (CT) Daily Courant, pg. 20, col. 6:
Film Capital Saddened By Rubens Death
And Attempt to Rob Home of Ann Harding, Frustrated by Taxi Driver, Startles Hollywood

By MOLLIE MERRICK
(...)
From the quiet and uneventful autumn which this village enjoyed the coming of winter has brought gang threats, ferment and trouble galore to the tinsel town.

22 February 1936, News-Week (New York, NY), “PICKFAIR: “Why Not Try Radio? Asks America’s Ex-Sweetheart,” pg. 51, col. 1:
A week ago Tuesday night, Mary Pickford set out to give her unseen gate-crashers the low-down on Tinseltown.

25 July 1927, Washington (DC) Post, “Hollywood Parties Are Dreadful Affairs—for Those Who Seek Spicy Gossip” by Jeannette Meehan, sec. 6, pg. 7, col. 1:
Really, Tinsel Town is not half as exciting as New York, or London, or Greenwich Village.

Newspapers.com
3 January 1938, Courier-Post (Camden, NJ), pg. 14, cols. 4, 6:
AMBITIONS OUTLINED BY MILDRED HARRIS
Ex-Mrs. Chaplin at Troc Tells of Plants to Study Voice
(...)
“I’m writing a book on my experiences in pictures,” she said. “It’s to be called ‘Tinseltown, or the City of Lost Angels’—all about Hollywood and the grand people I knew out there.”

Newspapers.com
6 January 1938, The Daily Record (Long Branch, NJ), “Associated Press Picture News,” pg. 12, col. 4 photo caption:
‘TINSELTOWN,” a book about Hollywood, is being written by Mildred Harris Chaplin, seen impersonating Garbo in a Philadelphia burlesque. She’s the ex-wife of film comedian.

OCLC WorldCat record
The Tinseltown poets : a Pygmalion anthology.
Publisher: Hollywood, Calif. : Pygmalion Press, 1974.
Series: The Pygmalion poetry series
Edition/Format: Print book : English : 1st ed

IMDb (The Internet Movie Database)
Tinseltown (1980)
X | 1h 25min | Adult, Comedy | 1980 (USA)
Mary Jo Harmon is a small town country girl who dreams of moving to Hollywood to pursue her ambition of becoming a famous movie star.
Director: Carter Stevens
Writers: Carter Stevens (original screenplay), E.M. Kennedy (original screenplay)
Stars: Ashley Brooks, Danielle Raye, Tawny Pearl | See full cast & crew »

IMDb TV
Tinseltown (1997)
R | 1h 25min | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 22 January 1999 (USA)

Urban Dictionary
Tinseltown
A word synonymous with L.A, primarily Hollywood, but can be used for entertainment Mecca’s worldwide, other cities such as Dallas, London etc., well known cities that have a great entertainment and beautiful skylines and landmarks.
(...)
by Zachariah94 August 23, 2019

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNicknames/Slogans • Wednesday, September 18, 2019 • Permalink