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 January 21, 2016
“My friend swallowed some coins and was taken to the hospital” (joke)

People sometimes swallow coins, and it’s one of the oldest of American puns:

“My friend swallowed some coins and was taken to the hospital. I asked the nurse about his condition, but she said there was no change yet.”

The joke was popular in vaudeville and has been cited in print since at least 1897.


22 April 1885, Boston (MA) Post, “All-Sorts,” pg. 2, col. 2:
Some time ago a boy in Maine swallowed 78 cents, and the doctors have since been mining for it, but no change has yet been found in him.

February 1897, Druggists’ Circular and Chemical Gazette, pg. 11, col. 1:
Doctor (on second visit to see a boy who had swallowed a dime, a nickel and a copper cent).—How is the boy this time. Anxious Mother.—No change yet.

Google Books
February 1901, The Western Druggist, “For Leisure Moments,” pg. 94, col. 2:
Doctor (on second visit to sec a boy who had swallowed a copper cent) — How is the boy this time?
Anxious Mother— No change yet.

28 November 1904, Muskegon (MI) Daily Chronicle, pg. 5, col. 3:
Medical.
A Rochelle physician was called to attend a boy who swallowed a couple of pennies. When he returned a friend asked, “How is your patient?” “No change yet,” was the reply.—MountMorris Index.

Google Books
Baltimore Transit Topics
1938
Pg. 23:
Tipping the Hard Way
Doctor (inquiring after a boy who had swallowed a half dollar): How is the boy today?
Nurse: No change yet.

Google Books
January 1950, Boys’ Life, “Think and Grin,” pg. 28, col. 3:
GIVE HIM A DIME
Doctor: How’s the young man who swallowed the half-dollar?
Nurse: No change yet.

Google Books
The Best Burlesque Sketches
By Ralph G. Allen
New York, NY: Applause Theatre Books
1994
Pg. 95:
DOCTOR Well, nurse, what’s the news from the hospital? How’s Harry Walker, the poor little boy who swallowed the quarter?
NURSE No change yet.

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of One-Liners
By Geoff Tibballs
London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.
2012
Pg. ?:
Woman: “What’s the condition of the little boy who swallowed all those coins?”
Nurse: “No change yet.”

Google Books
Once Apun A Time:
A Rich, Historical and Sometimes Earthy Collection of Puns

By Robin Leech
Victoria, BC: FriesenPress
2015
Pg. ?:
A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. His grandmother phoned to ask how he is. A nurse replied, “No change yet.”

Twitter
LaffGaff
‏@LaffGaff
My friend swallowed some coins and was taken to hospital. I rang to see how he was. They said, “There’s no change yet.” # funny #jokes
7:05 PM - 27 Apr 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Thursday, January 21, 2016 • Permalink