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:
“When I said ‘nuke the Chinese,’ I meant put the takeout in the microwave” (4/22)
“Why is ground beef so popular?"/"Because the flying cows are really hard to catch.” (4/22)
“A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people…” (4/22)
“If you wait long enough to make dinner, everyone will just eat cereal.  It’s science” (4/22)
“Men make counterfeit money; in many more cases, money makes counterfeit men” (4/22)
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Entry from December 13, 2005
A "dead head" is someone who doesn't pay. Originally, it probably referred to a train passenger who didn't pay for a ticket, but it soon included nonpaying "customers" at theatrical events as well.

"Dead head" is historical. "Dead beat" has much the same meaning today.

16 June 1840, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, pg. 2:
Ai'nt the liberties of our country in danger, when the gentleman of the Press can't go as "dead heads on the lake?"

23 January 1841, Spirit of the Times, pg. 564:
Niblo's Concerts. (...) The house on Tuesday was filled as far as $300 could fill it, barring "the dead heads;" a good proportion of the audience were ladies.

26 October 1841, Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio), pg. 2:
Joshua A. Smith said he was on board the Caroline, was a "dead-head" passenger (one who did not pay, as the other witnesses werewink also that he heard a gun fired when he was at the gangway, and some one fell at his side.
Posted by Barry Popik
Workers/People • (0) Comments • Tuesday, December 13, 2005 • Permalink