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 October 17, 2010
“Never get caught in bed with a dead woman or a live man”

Heterosexual affairs by politicians have historically been tolerated, but homosexuals affairs have not. “Never get caught in bed with a dead woman or a live man” (or, “Never get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy") has been a political axiom since the 1960s.

Texas author and reporter Larry L. King (perhaps best known as the book author of the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) suggested to Texas Congressman Joe Pool (1911-1968) that “"the only way you can lose this election, Joe, is to get caught in bed with a live man or a dead woman.” The phrase became associated with Joe Pool, who told it to others. Louisiana Govorner Edwin Edwards used the saying in 1983 and is sometimes (incorrectly) given credit for its authorship.

Acceptance of homosexuality in the United States has changed since the 1960s and the political saying of “getting caught in bed with a live boy” does not always guarantee a political loss.


Wikipedia: Joe R. Pool
Joe Richard Pool (February 18, 1911 – July 14, 1968) was a U.S. Representative from Texas.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Pool graduated from Oak Cliff High School (now W. H. Adamson High School) in the Dallas Independent School District and attended the University of Texas from 1929 to 1933. He graduated from Southern Methodist University School of Law, Dallas, Texas, in 1937. He was admitted to the Texas bar the same year and commenced the practice of law in Dallas, Texas. He served with the United States Army as a special investigator, Air Corps Intelligence from 1943 to 1945. He served as member of State house of representatives from 1953 to 1958. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Eighty-sixth Congress in 1958 and the Eighty-seventh Congress in 1960.

Pool was elected as a Democrat in 1962 to the Eighty-eighth, Eighty-ninth, from an at-large district and in 1967, he ran and was elected in the 3rd District which was redrawn as a result of the Supreme Court’s “one person, one vote” ruling in Wesberry v. Sanders in 1964 to include part of Dallas County. All told, Pool served in Congress from January 3, 1963, until his death in Houston, Texas, July 14, 1968.

He was interred in Laurel Land Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas.

Memorials
Joe Pool Lake in Dallas, Tarrant and Ellis Counties, is named for the Congressman.

Wikipedia: Edwin Edwards
Edwin Washington Edwards (born August 7, 1927) served as the 50th Governor of Louisiana for four terms (1972–1980, 1984–1988 and 1992–1996), twice as many terms as any other Louisiana chief executive has served. Edwards was also Louisiana’s first Roman Catholic governor in the 20th century. A colorful, powerful and legendary figure in Louisiana politics, Edwards was long dogged by charges of corruption.

In 2001, he was sentenced to ten years in prison on racketeering charges. Edwards began serving his sentence in October 2002 in Fort Worth, Texas, and was later transferred to the federal facility in Oakdale, Louisiana.

Two men whom Edwards defeated in Louisiana elections, David C. Treen and J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., and a third who was his protege, John Breaux, confirmed in July 2007 that they intended to approach then U.S. President George W. Bush about procuring a pardon or commutation for Edwards, who celebrated his 80th birthday in prison in August 2007. However, Bush denied a pardon for Edwards before he left the presidency on January 20, 2009.

Google Books
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2006
Pg. 227:
Edwin Edwards
U.S. politician, 1927-
[Remark while running for election as governor of Louisiana, 1983:] “The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.”
Quoted in Economist, 9 Mar. 1985

November 1966, Harper’s Magazine, “Joe Pool of HUAC: McCarthy in the Round” by Larry L. King, pg. 64, col. 1:
Pool (Texas Congressman Joe Pool—ed.) grinned. “I dunno .... He jumped on me in the papers. Said I’d did the same thing as all those street rioters when I ignored that court order. I don’t think anybody very smart’s gonna see it like that. A-course, you never can tell ...”

“Hell,” I (Larry L. King—ed.) said, “the only way you can lose this election, Joe, is to get caught in bed with a live man or a dead woman.”

Pool boomed with laughter. He poked his finger at me in a stabbing motion, gasping mirth: “You...said...that! I didn’t.”

Google Books
Politics, U.S.A.:
Cases on the American democratic process

By Andrew MacKay Scott
New York, NY: Macmillan
1970
Pg. 267:
“Hell,” I said, “the only way you can lose this election, Joe, is to get caught in bed with a live man or a dead woman.”
(...)
Pool stopped Arizona Democrat Morris “Mo” Udall, who happened by with three constituents in tow, and through gasps of laughter, his broad belly shaking uncontrollably, he repeated my crack about being “caught in bed with a live man or a dead woman.”

Google Books
The super-lawyers;
The small and powerful world of the great Washington law firms

By Joseph C. Goulden
New York, NY: Dell
1973, ©1972
Pg. 284:
Longevity, one-party domination, and machine guarantee reelection for perhaps sixty percent of the incumbents in any Congressional race; as the late Joe Pool (D., Tex.) used to jest, “The only way to beat an incumbent Southern Democrat is for him to be caught in bed with a live man or a dead woman.

Time magazine
The Press: Old Axioms
Monday, Oct. 21, 1974
The prize for cheap shot of the week must go to the Washington Star-News for the lead on its story about the polit ical fallout of Congressman Wilbur Mills’ gamy brush with police in Washington (see THE NATION). The article began: “Never get caught in bed with a dead woman or a live man. — Old Political Axiom.” It went on to say that Mills “has not violated, so far as is known, that guiding proverb.”

The Internet Movie Database
Quotes for
J.R. Ewing (Character)
from “Dallas” (1978)

“Dallas: Election (#2.8)” (1978)
J.R.: Barnes just broke the cardinal rule in politics: never get caught in bed with a dead woman or a live man.

13 October 1980, Baltimore (MD) Sun, “Bauman Country” by Theo Lippman Jr., pg. A14:
... about how secure he was politically by saying that he could be re elected forever, “unless I get caught in bed with a dead woman or a live boy.”

Google Books
September 1983, Texas Monthly, pg. 230, col. 3:
“There’s an old saying in my profession,” he (Neil Caldwell—ed.) chuckled, extending his hand to a small red parrot in a cage. “To wit: ‘Country judges serve for life unless they’re caught in bed with a dead woman or a live man.’

Google News Archive
9 October 1983, Cape Girardeau (MO) Bulletin-Journal, “Sharp, Morrison have second thoughts” by Jim Wolfe, pg. 2A, col. 5:
“Emerson will be reelected unless he’s found in bed with a dead woman or a live man.”

Google Books
Dirty Dealing
By Gary Cartwright
New York, NY: Atheneum
1984
Pg. 197:
There was a saying among politicians: You’re okay as long as you don’t get caught in bed with a dead woman or a live man.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Sunday, October 17, 2010 • Permalink