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 March 28, 2011
“Kick ass and take names” ("Kicking ass and taking names")

"Kick ass(es) and take names” (or “kicking ass(es) and taking names") means to defeat someone (not usually by physically “kicking ass") and to permanently destroy that person’s name or reputation. The author John Oliver Killens (1916-1987) used “kicking asses and taking names” in three books: Youngblood (1954), And Then We Heard the Thunder (1962), and ‘Sippi (1967). Killens served in the army during World War II and possibly heard the expression there.

The expression “kicking ass and taking names” was used in the military novel The Green Berets (1965) and was also used in a newspaper story about the military in 1968.  “Kicking ass and taking names” has spread from military usage to organizational usage both in business and in government.


Wikipedia: John Oliver Killens
John Oliver Killens (January 14, 1916 – October 27, 1987) was a black American fiction writer whose novels of African American life received two Pulitzer Prize nominations.
(...)
Killens attended a number of institutions including Morris Brown College, Howard University, and Columbia University but never earned a degree. In 1939, Killens attended Robert Teller Law School for a few years before he joined the army during World War II in which he became a member of the Pacific Amphibian Forces. He abandoned the idea of becoming a lawyer and concentrated on writing instead.
(...)
His first published novel associated with the Harlem Writers Guild was Youngblood (1954), dealing with a fictional black Georgia family in the early 1900s. His second novel was And Then We Heard the Thunder (1962) about the treatment of the black soldiers in the military. His third novel, Sippi (1967) focused on the voting rights during the 1960s

Google Books
Youngblood
By John Oliver Killens
New York, NY: Dial Press
1954
Pg. ?:
Boy, some young Negroes started kicking asses and taking names.

Google Books
And Then We Heard the Thunder
By John Oliver Killens
New York, NY: Knopf
1963 [©1962]
Pg. 44:
“Them Japs are kicking asses and taking names. And what I mean, they don’t play no favorites. Generals, colonels, sergeants, every living pinky hole is sucking wind! That’s what I’m talking about!”

Google Books
The Green Berets
By Rober Lowell Moore
New York, NY: Avon Books
1965
Pg. 247: 
“He’s out kicking ass and taking names everywhere. He found Ling for me and that stud is a tiger.”

Google Books
Four New Yale Playwrights
By John Gassner
New York, NY: Crown Publishers
1965
Pg. 139:
Old Tippin’s right, though; only way to run an army is take names and kick asses.

Google Books
‘Sippi
By John Oliver Killens
New York, NY: Trident Press
1967
Pg. 211:
“That Viet Cong over there is kicking asses and taking names. And I love Sister Gilbert too much to make her into one of those unhappy Gold Star Mothers.”

Google News Archive
13 May 1968, Owosso (MI) Argus-Press, “Topkick Holbrook One Of Vanishing Breed,” pg. 6, col. 6:
On a top sergeant’s duties:

“All a blankety-blank top sergeant has to do in this blankety-blank Army is to kick soldiers in the blankety blank and take names.”

Google Books
King Strut
By Chuck Stone
New York, NY: Bobbs-Merrill
1970
Pg. ?:
“People ain’t buying that shit no more. We’re checking Whitey out, telling him his system is corrupt, it stinks. Black people are ready to kick ass and take names — Whitey’s names!”

Google Books
Harlem
By John Henrik Clarke
New York, NY: New American Library
1970
Pg. 173:
You better b’lieve me when I say so. I kick asses and take names.

14 June 1970, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “We thought we could win (in Vietnam—ed.) in a year” by Philip Capute, pg. J28:
And whatcha gonna do to ‘em? “Kick ass and take names,” the squad chorused.

Google Books
December 1974, Black Belt, “The Tokyo Connection: Spies, guns, drugs, and a little espionage” by Dan Ivan, pg. 51, col. 1:
“Let’s go in and kick ass and take names. I don’t like these people and I’m beginning to spend entirely too much time with them.”

14 November 1979, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “L.A. Motorists Divided on Plan” by Beth Ann Krier, pt. 4, pg. G1:
“I think Amenca should kick some ass and take names,” he said. taking the situation in stride.

26 January 1981, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, ‘In Oakland, a staggeringly wild and crazy celebration” by Larry Eichel, pg. A6:
The Raiders are coming out in the second half kicking tails and taking names.

Google News Archive
22 January 1982, Boca Raton (FL) News, “Gimme Bengals, too” by Vin Mannix, pg. 1B, col. 2:
Once those dudes in the tiger stripes started kicking tails and taking names Sunday after Sunday, the trash talk stopped.

Google News Archive
4 March 1984, Tuscaloosa (AL) News. “Barkley sums up Tiger win accurately” by Cecil Hurt, pg. 6B, col. 1:
Many Tigers did play the best game they ever played in dominating Alabama, 83-70 Saturday afternoon. “We were kicking ass and taking names,” said Charles Barkley, summing things up accurately.

OCLC WorldCat record
Kicking ass and taking names : poetry through the eyes of a tough guy
Author: Nik C Colyer
Publisher: Nevada City, CA : Singing Reed Press, ©2004.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, March 28, 2011 • Permalink