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 11, 2012
“Theatre is life, film is art, and television is furniture”

“Theatre is life, cinema/film is art, and television is furniture” is an aphorism frequently used in the entertainment world. The saying has been put on T-shirts since at least January 1993, but the author is unknown.
The Quote Garden
Quotations about Television
Theatre is life.  Cinema is art.  Television is furniture.  ~Author Unknown
10 January 1993, Chicago (IL) Sun-Times, “You Don’t Have to Go Broke to Go Out” by Janet Kidd Stewart, pg. 53:
When Ailika Taylor talks about the “fur-and-diamonds set” that frequents Chicago’s theaters to “be seen,” she shakes her head.
As for couch potatoes who shun the arts entirely, she refers to her favorite T-shirt: “Theater is life. Film is art. Television is furniture.”
13 June 1993, Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA), “Hoity-toity attitude is kicking in”:
We’re dangerously close to buying one of those funny, with-it sweatshirts that bear the message “Theater Is Life, Film Is Art, Television Is Furniture,” even though we don’t even come close to agreeing that Theater Is Life and come even further from agreeing that Film Is Art.
9 May 1994, Toronto (Ontario) Star, “Wise tip for ‘90s is ‘trust in God, but lock the car’” by George Gamester, pg. A4:
Thanks to sharp-eyed readers such as Will Charles of Mississauga, who’s brought our old pal Phil Osopher back to visit our Monday Signs of the Times.
Theatre is life. Film is art. Television is furniture. Good line, Phil.
DAT-Heads Digest #486
From: Heiko Purnhagen

Subject: Q: assemble and insert edit with DAT
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 95 18:03:29 +0100
“Theatre is life, film is art, television is furniture.”
Google Groups: rec.arts.theatre.plays
Newsgroups: rec.arts.theatre.plays
From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Culberson)
Date: 1996/07/20
>To paraphrase my signature:  Theatre replicates life, movies duplicate
>life, and television is something to put a vase on!
My version says “Theatre IS life, film IS art, and television is furniture”... (printed on thousands of t-shirts for some bygone theatre festival I believe, many of my theatre instructors had these tshirts)
Toronto (Ontario) Sun
March 12, 1997
Taking notes on nutty professor
Toronto Sun
THE VERY JERRY: In all seriousness as a comedian, Jerry Lewis held court yesterday at the King Edward Hotel.
Besides that, Lewis used his 67 years in showbiz to define terms.
“Theatre is life,” said Lewis. “Film is art. Television is furniture.” Radio wasn’t included, but I’m betting it’s bed linen.
Google Groups: rec.arts.theatre.musicals
Newsgroups: rec.arts.theatre.musicals
From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Tom Schopper)
Date: 2000/01/21
Subject: Re: Attribution?
>I’ve heard this, but is it attributed to anyone?
>  “Film is art.  Theatre is Life.  TV is furniture.”
Alex Hough?
Seriously,any time I’ve seen this quote it is always attributed to “Unknown”. A quick altavista search came up with two other names, but I think it is more likely that they were people who submitted this a quote to a sig file website. I also saw an interview w/Jerry Lewis where he said it—but I assume he was just using the quote, not intiating it (unless the French are correct and he IS a genius)...
The Times of India
It’s now theatre of the absurd economics
Piali Banerjee, TNN Oct 27, 2002, 12.57am IST
MUMBAI: There is this theatre lover who sports a T-shirt that says, ‘Theatre is life, film is art and television is furniture’. Yet, he’s unable to prove his point since furniture has taken over life even in his own home.
Google Books
I’ve lost my what???:
A practical guide to life after deafness

By Shawn Lovley; Association of Late-Deafened Adults.
New York, NY: IUniverse
Pg. 77:
Awhile ago I read a quotation that said “Theater is art; cinema is imagination; television is furniture.”
19 September 2004, Atlanta (GA) Journal-Constitution, “Pop Culture Notebook: Another year, another yawn for Emmy Awards show,” pg. L1:
This isn’t necessarily a put-down of series television, like those effete T-shirts that say “Theatre is Life. Film is Art. Television is Furniture.”
Google Books
Working in the Theatre

Edited by Robert Emmet Long
New York, NY: Continuum
Pg. 111:
Phylicia Rashad
I think if theatre as truth. We have this saying, “Theatre is life, film is art, and television is furniture.”
Green Day Say ‘American Idiot’ Musical Is ‘In Your Face’
‘It’s a record that’s coming to life,’ frontman Billie Joe Armstrong tells MTV News.
by James Montgomery
“You know, it is real life,” bassist Mike Dirnt said. “There is a saying that if theater is life and movies are entertainment, then television is furniture.”
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Sunday, March 11, 2012 • Permalink

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