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 October 26, 2016
“Why did the moron jump from the building?"/"He wanted to make a hit on Broadway.”

"Broadway” often means “show business” rather than just the street itself, but there’s an old “Little Moron” riddle from August 1942 that involves both meanings:

“Did you hear about the little moron who jumped off the roof of the Paramount theater because he wanted to make a hit on Broadway?”

The reference is to New York City’s Paramount Theatre (opened 1926 and closed 1964). By at least May 1954, the joke mentioned a much taller building—New York City’s Empire State Building—that is actually not close to Broadway and its theaters:

Riddle: “Do you know why the man jumped off the Empire State Building?”
Answer: “Because he wanted to make a hit on Broadway.”



8 August 1943, Akron (OH) Beacon Journal, “More on Morons,” Nancy Pepper column, pg. 3-B, col. 8:
Did you hear about the little moron who jumped off the roof of the Paramount theater because he wanted to make a hit on Broadway?

11 August 1943, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, sec. 2, pg. 2, col. 5:
Did you hear about the little moron who jumped off the roof of the Paramount theater because he wanted to make a hit on Broadway?

27 May 1954, Chronicle-Express (Penn Yan, NY), “Penn Yan’s Lad and Dad News,” pg. 1-A, col. 7:
Riddle: “Do you know why the man jumped off the Empire State Building?”
Answer: “Because he wanted to make a hit on Broadway.”

Google Books
Beyond Laughter;
Humor and the Subconscious

By Martin Grotjahn
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
1966, ©1957
Pg. 77:
“Why did the Little Moron jump from the Empire State Building? “Because he wanted to make a hit on Broadway.” Or, even worse: “Because he wanted to show that he had guts.”

The Little Moron joke is more annoying than amusing to adults, especially when children tell it repeatedly as they so love to do.

21 May 1969, Tucson (AZ) Daily Citizen, “Fun Time—The Riddle Box,” pg. 27, col. 5:
Why did the man jump off the Empire State Building?
He wanted to make a hit on Broadway.

Google Books
World’s Wackiest Riddle Book
By Evelyn Jones
Illustrations by Dennis Kendrick
New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
2004
Pg. 17:
Why did the actor take his baseball bat to New York?
He wanted to make a hit on Broadway.

Google Books
3650 Jokes, Puns, and Riddles
By Charles Foxgrover, Anne Kostick and Michael J. Pellowski
New York, NY: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.
1998
Pg. 35:
Larry: I just read in the paper about a guy who jumped out of a window in Times Square. Now why would anyone do such a thing?
Harry: Probably wanted to make a hit on Broadway!

Google Books
Insults Anywhere Kids Presents
Joke Book Of The Living Dead

By Franklin Yantz
Insults Anywhere at Smashwords
2011
Pg. ?:
Why did the wizard jump off the top of the Empire State Building ?
He wanted to make a hit on Broadway !

Twitter
Kaitlyn Scott
‏@kaitlyn_scott12
why did the actor jump out of a window in Times Square? -He wanted to make a hit on Broadway!
8:10 AM - 10 Nov 2011

Twitter
Bad Jokes
‏@BadJokesBJ
Why did the man jump off the Empire State Building? He wanted to make a hit on Broadway. #worstjokes
11:01 AM - 6 May 2011

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Wednesday, October 26, 2016 • Permalink