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.

Recent entries:
“Two conspiracy theorists die and go to heaven…” (9/11 joke) (3/26)
“Coffee: starter fluid for the morning impaired” (3/25)
“But even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all. New York has great water for coffee” (3/25)
“Life begins after coffee” (3/25)
“I pretend coffee helps, but I’m still a bitch” (3/25)
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Entry from December 27, 2015
“Promises are like crying babies in a theater. They should be carried out at once”

"Promises are like crying babies in a theater. They should be carried out at once” is a popular saying that has been printed on GIFs. What can be so annoying to so many as a crying baby in a theater?

“Good resolutions are like crying babies at a concert; they ought to be carried out” was cited in 1870. “Good suggestions, like crying babies at a matinee, should be carried out” was cited in 1874. It’s not known where the saying originated.

American minister and author Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993) was credited with a popular version of the saying in 1960:

“Promises are like crying babies in a theater. They should be carried out at once.”


Google Books
1 September 1870, The Cultivator & Country Gentleman, “Miscellanies,” pg. 558, col. 1:
Good resolutions are like crying babies at a concert; they ought to be carried out.

Chronicling America
12 April 1874, New Orleans (LA) Republican, pg. 4, col. 1:
Good suggestions, like crying babies at a matinee, should be carried out.

Chronicling America
31 July 1875, Public Ledger (Memphis, TN), pg. 3, col. 5 ad:
Good suggestions,
Like crying babies, want carrying out.
(Acme Cigars.—ed.)

2 March 1922, The Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID), “Evans’ Echoes,” pg. 9, col. 1:
(Bruce Evans, an evangelist.—ed.)
“Good resolutions are like crying babies—they ought to be carried out.”

1 January 1937, The Plaindealer (Kansas City, KS), “Postscripts” by C. E. Chapman, pg. 7, col. 6:
Yes, make resolutions for the New Year; they’re okay in their place. But we should remember that New Year Resolutions and any other worthy kinds of resolutions are like crying babies. THEY SHOULD BE CARRIED OUT!

Google News Archive
30 December 1953, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Educator Urges New Look At ‘Unfinished Business’” by James A. Bond, pg. 26, col. 8:
New Year’s resolutions are like this. There is nothing wrong with the resolutions. They may become drives to action. They are like crying’ babies at a recital or lecture; they only need to be carried out.

Google News Archive
9 August 1959, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, “In One Ear” by Joe McCarthy, The American Weekly, pg. 14, col. 2:
Promises are like crying babies in church — they should be carried out at once.

3 January 1960, The Evening Star (Washington, DC), “Cheerful earfuls,” This Week magazine, pg. 15, col. 1:
NORMAN VINCENT PEALER:—Promises are like crying babies in a theater. They should be carried out at once.

Google Books
The Complete Book of Zingers
By Croft M.Pentz
Wheaton, IL : Tyndale House Publishers
1990
Pg. 293:
New Year’s resolutions are like crying babies in the church — they need to be carried out.

Google Books
Wise Words and Quotes
By Vernon K. McLellan
Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House
2000
Pg. 145:
Promises are like crying babies in church — they should be carried out immediately.

Google News Archive
14 August 2007, Cedartown (GA) Standard, pg. 4, col. 1:
Food for thought: Promises are like crying babies in a theater, they should be carried out at once. — Norman Vincent Peale

Twitter
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“Promises are like crying babies in a theatre, they should be carried out at once.” - Norman Vincent Peale
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6:00 AM - 26 Dec 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Sunday, December 27, 2015 • Permalink