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 May 22, 2016
“If I had my life to live over, I’d live over a saloon”

American actor Lew Parker (1910-1972) was credited in 1951 with the line:

“If I had my life to live over, I’d live over a saloon.”

The jocular line has been usually credited since the 1960s to American actor and comedian W. C. Fields (1880-1946), but there’s no evidence that Fields ever said it.


Wikipedia: Lew Parker
Lew Parker (October 29, 1910 – October 27, 1972) was an American television, stage and musical theatre actor. His most notable role was as Lew Marie, the beleaguered father of Marlo Thomas’s character, Ann Marie, on the 1960s television series That Girl.

20 July 1951, The Times Recorder (Zanesville, OH), Earl Wilson entertainment column, pg. 23, col. 6:
WISH I’D SAID THAT: “If I had my life to live over, I’d live over a saloon"—Lew ("Bickerson") Parker.

18 March 1952, Rockford (IL) Register-Republic, “Try and Stop Me” by Bennett Cerf, pg. 2B, col. 6:
“If only I had my life to live over,” sighs Lew Parker, I’d live over a saloon.”

7 December 1958, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Bennett Cerf’s Cerfboard—Bikini Jokes,” This Week magazine, pg. 4, col. 2:
Comedian Lew Parker, who sighed, “If I only have to live my life over—I’d live over a saloon.”

Google Books
The Modern Handbook of Humor
By Ralph Louis Woods
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
1967
Pg. 242:
W. C. Fields said that if he could live his life over — he would live over a saloon.

Google Books
Laugh Off:
The Comedy Showdown Between Real Life and the Pros

By Bob Fenster
Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing
2005
Pg. 179:
Comic W. C. Fields: “If I had to live my life over, I’d live over a saloon.”

Google Books
Over P.J. Clarke’s Bar:
Tales from New York City’s Famous Saloon

By Helen Marie Clarke
New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing
2012
Pg. 16:
I laughed when I heard that W. C. Fields, comedian, film star, and famous drinker, once said, “If I had to live my life over, I’d live over a saloon.”

Twitter
Dave Fillman
‏@DaveFillman
W C Fields was born today, 1880, in Darby, PA. Said, “Comedy is a serious business” & “If I had to live life over, I’d live over a saloon.”
4:47 PM - 29 Jan 2016

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRestaurants/Bars/Bakeries/Food Stores • Sunday, May 22, 2016 • Permalink