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 April 30, 2012
“Old bankers never die—they just lose interest”

“Old soldiers never die—they just fade away” is an old saying that was popularized by General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) in his farewell address to Congress on April 19, 1951. Many parodies of the saying have been made.

“Old bankers never die—they just lose interest” is one of the most frequently told jokes about bankers. The joke has been cited in print since at least July 1951.


1 July 1951, Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, “Around the Town,” sec. 3, pg. 2, col. 1:
LATEST VERSION—Old bankers never die; they just lose interest. (Same for old printers; they just revert to type.)

4 July 1951, Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, “Foto Facts” by John Reynolds, pg. 5, col. 1:
SOMEBODY is going to do this sooner or later. I might as well have a whack at it.

Since General of the Army Douglas MacArthur made his dramatic reference to “Old soldiers never die—they just face away” there has been a flood of parodies.
(...)
2. Old bankers never die. They just lose interest.

19 August 1952, Aberdeen (SD) American-News, “Today’s Chuckle,” pg. 1, col. 5:
Old bankers never die, either. They just lose interest.—General Features Corporation.

23 November 1952, Oregonian (Portland, OR), “Capital Capers” by Elise Morrow, sec. 2M, pg. 5, col. 4:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 22—The definitive line of the retiring cabinet officer was delivered in the capital this week by the secretary of defense, Robert A. Lovett. “Old bankers never die,” Secretary Lovett said. “They just lose interest.”

Google News Archive
8 November 1953, Wilmington (DE) Sunday Star, “Ramblin’ Round” with Joe Martin, pg. 22, col. 3:
THIS quip is from a Peninsula newspaper about an old banker who was about to retire. He got a report from the bankers convention “that old bankers never die, they just lose their interest.”

Google News Archive
20 August 1954, The Times-News (Hedersonville, NC), “Interesting Information Picked Up On Washington Beat By Nichols” by Harmon W. Nichols, pg. 2, col. 4:
Banking circles are chuckling around here about the latest gag. “Old bankers never die — They just lose interest.” .

29 June 1955, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, sec. 1, pg. 16:
Old bankers never die; They just lose interest.

The Telegraph (UK)
Top ten banker jokes
Bankers don’t have much to smile about but Lloyds Banking Group has managed to have a giggle - the taxpayer-owned bank is running staff training at the Comedy School. To share the joke, here are the top ten wise-cracks about bankers:

By Anna White, City Diary Editor
3:57PM GMT 08 Dec 2011
(...)
Bankers never die...They just lose interest. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • Monday, April 30, 2012 • Permalink