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.

Recent entries:
“I don’t have enough coffee or middle fingers for today” (3/26)
“I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake” (3/26)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/26)
“If you are not coffee, chocolate, or bacon, I’m going to need you to go away” (3/26)
“Life happens, coffee helps” (3/26)
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Entry from September 20, 2016
“Anybody who thinks talk is cheap has never argued with a traffic cop”

"Anybody who thinks talk is cheap has never argued with a traffic cop” is a saying that several people popularized. New York-born John P. Medbury (1893-1947) wrote in a syndicated newspaper column in July 1921:

Talk is cheap, but not when you argue with a traffic cop.

American humorist Franklin P. Jones (1908-1980) wrote in 1971:

“Anybody who thinks talk is cheap has never argued with a traffic cop.”

New York-based “one-liner” comedian Henny Youngman (1906-1998) is often credited with the line and included it in a joke book, but he told it in the same form as the Franklin P. Jones line.


IMDb (The Internet Movie Database
John P. Medbury (1893–1947)
Writer

John P. Medbury was born on November 9, 1893 in New York, USA. He was a writer, known for Among the Great Open Faces (1932), Among the Latins (1934) and Love in Bloom (1935). He died on June 29, 1947 in Laguna Beach, California, USA.

Answers.com
Franklin P. Jones (1908 - 1980) was a Philadelphia reporter, public relations executive and humorist. He wrote quips and quotes that entertained readers of major publications for years.

Mr. Jones was known nationally during the 1940s and 50s for his column “Put it this Way” in the Saturday Evening Post. “Put it this Way” set a record as the longest continuously published feature in the Saturday Evening Post.

He was an accomplished “paragrapher” - a writer who condenses humorous or thought provoking ideas into paragraph form. His quips and quotes were published (often anonymously) in numerous publications, including Reader’s Digest, the Wall Street Journal, Changing Times and Quote magazine.

7 July 1921, Washington (DC) Times, John P. Medbury column, pg. 5, col. 3:
But the judge gets the money.
Talk is cheap, but not when you argue with a traffic cop.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
30 July 1942, Hancock (NY) Herald, pg. 8, col. 2 ad:
Talk is cheap, but don’t try it out on a Traffic Cop, because he holds all the aces.
(The Fox Garage.—ed.)

23 April 1948, Camden (AR) News, “Quick Takes” by Harry Finley, pg. 1, col. 1:
If you think talk is cheap, try talking back to a Traffic Cop.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
10 October 1968, Antioch (IL) News, pg. 2, col. 5:
Talk is cheap, unless it’s backtalk to a traffic cop.

23 July 1971, Hazleton (PA) Standard-SPeaker, pg. 10, col. 1:
Anybody who thinks talk is cheap has never argued with a traffic cop.—Frank P. Jones

15 December 1971, Newark (OH) Advocate, “Quips & quotes,” pg. 24, col. 8:
Anybody who thinks talk is cheap has never argued with a traffic cop.—Franklin P. Jones.

Google Books
1800 Quotes, Quips, and Squibs
By E. C. McKenzie
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House
1972
Pg. 19:
Anybody who thinks talk is cheap has never argued with a traffic cop.

Google Books
The Complete Book of Zingers
By Croft M. Pentz
Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers
1990
Pg. 319:
Anybody who thinks talk is cheap never argued with a traffic cop.

Google Books
Henny Youngman’s Bar Bets, Bar Jokes, Bar Tricks
By Henny Youngman
New York, NY: Wings Books
1994
Pg. 81:
Anybody who thinks talk is cheap hasn’t argued with a traffic cop.

Google Books
5,000 Great One Liners
Compiled by Grant Tucker
London: Biteback Publishing
2012
Pg. ?:
Anybody who thinks talk is cheap never argued with a traffic cop.

Twitter
Think BIG Sunday
‏@ThinkBIGSunday
Anybody who thinks talk is cheap has never argued with a traffic cop. -Henny Youngman. #quote
4:14 PM - 19 May 2016

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • Tuesday, September 20, 2016 • Permalink