"Nobody likes/liked him/it but the public” is said of an entertainer or entertainment receiving a poor critical reception, but that nevertheless draws audiences. The one-liner gently teases the fact that a play or a movie is meant for consumption by the public—not for the critics.
“Nobody likes Lawrence Welk but the public” was often said of The Lawrence Welk Show that ran on television from 1955 to 1982. The June 25, 1957 issue of Look magazine ran a cover story about Welk with the headline, “Nobody likes him but the public.” The expression pre-dates Welk; in 1952, Life magazine said of Mickey Spillane’s novels that “nobody likes him but the public.”
Wikipedia: Lawrence Welk
Lawrence Welk (March 11, 1903 - May 17, 1992) was an American musician, accordionist, bandleader, and television impresario, who hosted The Lawrence Welk Show from 1955 to 1982. His style came to be known to his large number of radio, television, and live-performance fans (and critics) as “champagne music”.
In 1996, Welk was ranked #43 on TV Guide‘s 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.
23 June 1952, Life magazine, “Death’s Fair-haired Boy: Sex and fury sell 13 million gory books for Mickey Spillane” by Richard W. Johnston, pg. 80, col. 2:
The Long Wait sold out in a little less than three weeks.
The astonishing thing about Mike Hammer’s success is that nobody likes him but the public. No major book reviewer, anywhere, has ever said a kind word for a Spillane novel.
27 June 1954, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Notes on the Passing Show” by John Rosenfield, pt. VII, pg. 1, col. 1:
In such instances he (John Wayne—ed.) winds up by saying, “Nobody likes my acting but the public.”
Google News Archive
14 April 1959, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “Man About Milwaukee” by Buck Herzog, pt. 1, pg. 15, col. 1:
HOLLYWOOD—Someone once wrote, “Nobody likes Lawrence Welk but the public.”
“Nothing succeeds like success,” we therefore acquire a “property” in a mood of puzzled acquiescence, saying in a bemused manner, “Nobody likes it but the public.”
24 July 1965, Oneonta (NY) Star, “Marriage pays off” by Dorothy Kilgallen, pg. 12, col. 1:
The take around the country has been staggering, the records at Radio City Music Hall are astonishing, and Liz and Dickie have been offered as high as two and a half million dollars for their share of the movie. So far they’ve refused, probably figuring they’ll enjoy making a mint. It’s the same old story: Nobody likes it but the public.
Responses to Drama;
An introduction to plays and movies
By Thelma C. Altshuler and Richard Paul Janaro
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin
Then the anti-intellectual contingent points out as usual, “Nobody liked it but the public!”
6 January 1970, Port Angeles (WA) Evening News, “A political viewpoint: ‘Nobody likes it but the public’” by Elisabeth Johnson, pg. 2, col. 6:
As they say of the Lawrence Welk show, “Nobody likes it but the public!”
28 February 1970, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Broadcast Beat: No Amateur Is Ted Mack” by Harry Bowman, pg. E4, col. 1:
During its marathon run, “The Amateur Hour” has never fared well with the critics. Nobody, it seems, likes it but the public.
The MGM Story:
The complete history of fifty roaring years
By John Douglas Eames
New York, NY: Crown Publishers
Nobody liked it but the public.
Lawrence Welk, an American institution
By William K. Schwienher
Chicago, IL: Nelson-Hall
By their constant refrain of “bubbles, square and cornball,” they have reinforced Look magazine’s cover headline: “Nobody likes him but the public” (June 25, 1957). In fact, the critics, the feature story writers, and the television columnists have unwittingly kept Welk before the minds of the American people by their light-hearted bewilderment over their oft-repeated question: Just what makes this fellow go on television?
Broadway Babies Say Goodnight:
Musicals then and now
By Mark Steyn
New York, NY: Routledge
As they say on Broadway, nobody likes it but the public (the West End public too: in recent years South Pacific, The King and I, The Sound of Music and Carousel have all returned).
Britpop and the English Music Tradition
By Andy Bennett and Jon Stratton
Burlington, VT: Ashgate
It prompts a recollection of the old Broadway gag, ‘nobody likes it but the public’.
New York City • Music/Dance/Theatre/Film • (0) Comments • Friday, March 23, 2012 • Permalink