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 April 14, 2011
“Inch by inch, it’s a cinch; yard by yard, it’s hard; mile by mile, it’s a trial”

"Inch by inch, life’s/it’s a cinch” is a saying cited in print since at least the 1950s. Often added is “yard by yard, life’s/it’s hard,” also cited in print since the 1950s. “Mile by mile, life’s/it’s a trial” has been cited in print since at least 1977.

Robert H. Schuller, the pastor and author who began the weekly Hour of Power television broadcast in 1970, has popularized (but did not originate) the “inch by inch, anything’s a cinch” saying. The “inch by inch” saying has been used in business and in government as a method to solve problems.


Google Books
Improvement Era
Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association
Volume 56
1953
Pg. 118:
INCH BY INCH
by Bernice Nash Neeley
“Inch by inch
It’s a cinch;
Yard by yard
It’s hard.”
Ever heard that?

Google Books
The Sight-Saving Review
The National Society for the Prevention of Blindness, Inc
Volumes 28-29
1958
Pg. 105:
Ever and always I remind myself as a teacher — especially as a teacher of the handicapped — of a quaint old saying:

Learning by the yard is hard
But inch by inch, it’s a cinch.

29 September 1960, Lebanon (PA) Daily News, “Walter Winchell of Broadway,” pg. 21, col. 5:
Anne Bancroft’s dressing room at “Miracle Worker” with this guide on the wall: “Yard By Yard Life Is Hard, Inch By Inch It’s A Cinch!”

Google News Archive
3 September 1961, Pittsburgh (PA) Press, “Actress Has Guide In Script,” sec. 2, pg. 7, col. 1:
Eileen Brennan, playing Annie Sullivan in “The Miracle Worker,” opening the Nixon season Sept. 18, has this guide in her script: “Yard by yard life is hard; inch by inch, it’s a cinch.”

Google Books
Your Church Has Real Possibilities
By Robert Harold Schuller
Glendale, CA: G/L Regal Books
1974
Pg. 27:
Inch by inch, anything’s a cinch.

Google Books
Personal Finance;
Consuming, Saving, and Investing

By W. L. Dorries, Arthur A. Smith and James Ryland Young
Columbus, OH: Merrill
1974
Pg. 39:
“Yard by yard, life is hard. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch.”

Google News Archive
13 March 1975, Lakeland (FL) Ledger, “Veritable treasure of delights awaits at fair now under way” by T. Roe Oldt, pg. 3A, col. 6:
There were wooden chess sets, framed homilies ("yard by yard life is hard, inch by inch it’s a cinch"), replicas of cannons, candles looking like tree trunks, pink piggy banks without coins.

Google Books
From the Heart of a Woman
By Carole Mayhall
Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress
1976, 1977 printing
Pg. 77:
A little poem goes: Life is a trial mile by mile. Life is hard, yard by yard. But it’s a cinch, inch by inch.

Google Books
Days Demanding Courage
By Harold Blake Walker
Chicago, IL: Rand McNally
1978
Pg. 118:
An octogenarian who lived through the Great Depression, two world wars, and assorted personal difficulties summed up the truth of the matter by noting, “Inch by inch, life is a cinch; yard by yard, life is hard.”

Google Books
Living Positively One Day at a Time
By Robert Harold Schuller
Old Tappan, NJ: F.H. Revell Co.
1980
Pg. 289:
Inch by inch, anything’s a cinch! And ounce by ounce, everything counts!

Google Books
Group Power:
How to develop, lead, and help groups achieve goals

By David Louis Williamson
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
1982
Pg. 108:
The slogan read: “Mile by mile, life is a trial. Yard by yard, life is hard. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch!”

Google Books
Selling Among Wolves:
Without joining the pack

By Michael Pink
Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers
2000
Pg. 252:
Robert Schuller says, “Inch by inch, anything is a cinch, but mile by mile takes a while.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Thursday, April 14, 2011 • Permalink