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 June 08, 2009
Get-rich-quick (Get-rich-quickly; Get-rich-quicker)

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Get-rich-quick scheme
A get-rich-quick scheme is a plan to acquire high rates of return for a small investment. Most such schemes promise that participants can obtain this high rate of return with little risk.

Most get-rich-quick schemes also promise that little skill, effort, or time is required. They often assert that wealth can be obtained by working at home. Legal and quasi-legal get-rich-quick schemes are frequently advertised on infomercials and in magazines and newspapers. Illegal schemes or scams are often advertised through spam or cold calling. Some forms of advertising for these schemes market books or compact discs about getting rich quick rather than asking participants to invest directly in a concrete scheme.

It is clearly possible to get rich quickly if one is prepared to accept very high levels of risk — this is the premise of the gambling industry. However, gambling offers the near-certainty of completely losing the original stake over the long term, even if it offers regular wins along the way. Economic theory states that risk-free opportunities for profit are not stable, because they will quickly be exploited by arbitrageurs. Nevertheless, many people long for wealth, and find these schemes appealing.

Answers.com: Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford
Get‐Rich‐Quick Wallingford (1910), a comedy by George M. Cohan. [Gaiety Theatre, 424 perf.] J. Rufus Wallingford (Hale Hamilton) and his crony Horace “Blackie” Daws (Edward Ellis) are consummate con men. They move from town to town setting up promising businesses, selling stock in the companies by telling the local “boobs” that “There’s millions in it!,” then disappearing before the bubble bursts. A favorite Wallingford trick is to walk into a hotel when he first arrives and, as he signs the register, beg the clerk not to sell his autograph. But when Wallingford comes to Battlesburg to set up a plant for the manufacture of covered carpet tacks that will match any carpet, his plans go awry. The company succeeds, and Battlesburg prospers. Wallingford looks to become richer than he ever dreamed and even wins the hand of Fannie Jasper (Frances Ring), who believed in him. Based on George Randolph Chester’s short stories in the Saturday Evening Post, the play was Sam H. Harris and Cohan’s first successful work without music. Cohan’s fast‐paced co‐direction (with Sam Forrest) glossed over myriad improbabilities, while the colorful minor figures that filled the play led the Boston Evening Transcript to note that his characters were “Americans, keenly observed, shrewdly put to speaking [for] themselves in their own idiom.”

(Oxford English Dictionary)
get-rich-quick, a.
orig. U.S.
Characterized by attempts at, or hopes of, acquiring wealth rapidly. Hence get-rich-quicker, a person who desires to make quick profits.
[1902 O. WISTER Virginian xxxi, He’s disturbed over getting rich quick and being a big man in the Territory.]
1904 ‘O. HENRY’ in McClure’s Mag. Aug. 360/1 A get-rich-quickexcuse megang giving back the boodle! Oh, no.
1910 Daily Chron. 22 Apr. 1/6 Tales of the get-rich-quick order are quite common.
1914 Chambers’s Jrnl. Feb. 144/1 California passed from the ‘get rich quickers’ into the hands of scientific exploiters.
1940 J. BUCHAN Memory Hold-the-Door v. 114 The get-rich-quick offscourings of European capitals.
1957 Sat. Rev. 8 June 25 As a businessman, yes; as a private enterpriser, a get-rich-quicker, of course.
1960 Times 5 Dec. 4/2 The Government..had made things far too easy for the get-rich-quick boys.

17 September 1885, New Era (Humeston, Iowa), pg. 4, col. 3:
This advice is something like that which a young man once received. He answered an Eastern advertisement headed “How to get rich quick,” and in a few days a huge letter came telling him to “marry a rich widow.”

Google Books
Plain Truths about Stock Speculation
By Moses Smith
Brooklyn, NY: E. V. SMith, Proprietor
1887
Pg. 174:
“It is tremendously attractive to the sharp, aspiring Yankee, who is boiling over with a desire to get rich quick, because he sees a chance to
get larger sums on a smaller risk, in quicker time than in any other way.”

7 July 1891, Hartford (CT) Courant, pg. 1:
A GET-RICH-QUICK ORDER
Now the Inventors Wish they had Their Money Back

30 January 1892, Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL), pg. 1:
IS THIS A FRAUD?
Another of the Numerous “Get
Rich Quick” Schemes.

WHERE IS MR. CARPENTER?
The Chicago General Merchan-
dise Association’s Scheme.
It Will Run All Right So Long as
There Are Enough New
Members.


Google Books
15 February 1892, Black and White (A Monthly Magazine of Facts for Insurance Policy Investors), pg. 313, col. 2:
Now that the get-rich-quick endowment schemes have collapsed, a man out in Iowa has started a new scheme which will relieve the fools of their money quite as quickly as the endowment associations.

Google Books
Sanctified Spice,
or, Pungent seasonings from the pulpit

By Madison Clinton Peters
New York, NY: Wilbur B. Ketcham
1893
Pg. 170:
XXXV.
GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEMES.
GET-RICH-QUICK schemes flood our land today. Fortunes are offered the people for nothing. The names of scores of men prominent in church and state are published as directors, used as decoy-ducks to draw in the unsuspecting. On every hand are transparent frauds, offers to make you rich for a few dollars, land that will quadruple in a year, and so-called benevolent societies that will in a few years give you one thousand dollars for about three hundred, and meanwhile take care of you in case of sickness. The American people love to be humbugged, and schemes that would pay a legitimate interest often fall through, while the fraud gets the crowd..

24 October 1894, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, pg. 4:
ANOTHER GET-RICH-QUICK SCHEME.
Although the short benefit craze has died out, the closing up of a discretionary pool concern in Pittsburg calls attention to the fact that some form or other of financial lunacy is always certain to have a place in the world. The gullibility of human nature when some get-rich-qucik scheme is presented to it is evidenced by the statement that in Pittsburg alone some 50,000 persons have invested between three and four million dollars in discretionary pools. 

OCLC WorldCat record
Get-rich-quick society, or, One hundred for thirty : farce
Author: Frank Dumont
Publisher: Chicago : The Dramatic Pub. Co., ©1898.
Series: The darkey & comic drama
Edition/Format: Book : Drama : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Gold bricks of speculation a study of speculation and its counterfeits, and an exposé of the methods of bucketshop and “get-rich-quick” swindles
Author: John Hill, Jr.
Publisher: Chicago, Lincoln Book Concern, 1904, ©1903.
Edition/Format: eBook : English

OCLC WorldCat record
The battle against bribery; being the only complete narrative of Joseph W. Folk’s warfare on boodlers, including also the story of the get-rich-quick concerns and the exposure of bribery in the Missouri Legislature,
Author: Claude H Wetmore
Publisher: St. Louis, Pan-American Press, 1904.
Edition/Format: Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Get-rich-quick Wallingford. A cheerful account of the rise and fall of an American business buccaneer.
Author: George Randolph Chester
Publisher: London, [1908]
Edition/Format: Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
“Get-Rich-Quick" Wallingford : [a comedy in four acts]
Author: George M Cohan
Publisher: [New York?] : Cohan, 1910.
Edition/Format: Book : English

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, June 08, 2009 • Permalink