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 September 18, 2012
“Make like a banana and split”

"Make like a banana and split” means “to leave” ("split" the scene) and is a pun on “banana split.” The saying has been recorded in teen slang since at least August 1972 and is similar to other humorous expressions, such as “make like a tree and leave.”


Wiktionary: make like a banana and split
Etymology
A pun on banana split and split (“to depart”)
Verb
to make like a banana and split

1. (idiomatic, humorous) to leave, depart

Google Books
Current Slang
University of South Dakota, Department of English
Volumes 2-5
1967 (The Google Books date is most probably not accurate—ed.)
Pg. 34:
Make like a banana and split, v. to leave.
-- I’d better make like a banana, and split.

Google News Archive
29 August 1972, The Daily Sentinel (Middleport-Pomeroy, OH), “Generation Rap” by Helen and Sue Bottel, pg. 6, col. 1:
Instead of saying “Make like a nut and bolt,” or “Make like a tree and leave,” I will now make like a banana and split.—M.M.G.

One Potato, Two Potato...:
The Secret Education of American Children

By Mary and Herbert Knapp
New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc.
1976
Pg. 64:
Be like a banana and split.
Be like dandruff and flake off.
Be like a tree and leave.
Be like a ghost and vanish.
Be like a bee and buzz off.

Google Books
Folklore for the Time of Your Life
By Elaine S. Katz
Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House
1978
Pg. 28:
And did you reply, “Boss spelled backwards is double-s-o-b”? or “When they passed out brains, you thought they said trains and said, ‘I’ll wait for the next one’”? or “Why don’t you make like a tree and leave”? or “Make like a banana and split”?

Google Books
The Official Mork & Mindy Scrapbook
By Steven Seabrook
New York, NY: Pocket Books
1979
Pg. ?:
“Well, guess I’ll make like a banana and split.”

Google Books
I Scream, You Scream:
A Feast of Food Rhymes

By Lillian Morrison and Nancy Dunaway (illustrations)
Little Rock, AR: August House LittleFolk
1997
Back cover:
Be like a banana and split. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, September 18, 2012 • Permalink