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 August 23, 2012
“There’s no bad publicity except an obituary”

One theory about publicity holds that “all publicity is good publicity” and that there is no such thing as bad publicity; the only bad thing is no publicity. Irish writer Brendan Behan (1923-1964) had many scrapes with the law and addressed his bad publicity in December 1960:

“There’s no bad publicity except an obituary notice.”

The saying was recalled at Behan’s death in 1964 and is still cited today.


Wikiquote: Brendan Behan
Brendan Francis Behan (9 February 1923 - 20 March 1964) was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist and playwright who wrote in both Irish and English.

General
There’s no bad publicity except an obituary.
. As quoted in The World of Brendan Behan (1966) by Sean McCann, p. 56
. Variant: There’s no bad publicity except an obituary notice.

Google Books
The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2006
Pg. 51:
Brendan Behan
Irish playwright, 1923-1964
“All publicity is good, except an obituary notice.”
Quoted in Sunday Express (London), 5 Jan. 1964

22 December 1960, Pasadena (CA) Independent, “One-Minute Newspaper,” pg. 2, col. 8:
No Place Like It. Irish playwright Brendan Behan, back in Dublin after three months in Canada and New York, said yesterday Americans are conceited, but added “there’s no place like Broadway.” Expounding on something with which he is familiar, Behan said, “There’s no bad publicity except an obituary notice.”

22 December 1960, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “People” (Compiled from Wire Reports), sec. 1, pg. 2, col. 1:
“THERE’S no bad publicity except an obituary notice,” noted Irish playwright Brendan Behan in Dublin, Ireland.

14 January 1964, Aberdeen (SD) American-News, “Earl Wilson’s New York,” pg. 4, col. 5:
EARL’S PEARLS: “Any publicity is good publicity, as long as it isn’t an obituary notice.”—Brendan Behan.

Google News Archive
21 March 1964, Lodi (CA) News-Sentinel, “Death Claims Poet Behan” (UPI), pg. 1, cols. 4-5:
Behan, an Irish rebel who had been in and out of many jails in frequent scrapes with police, shrugged off the publicity with the observation, “There’s no bad publicity except an obituary.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • (0) Comments • Thursday, August 23, 2012 • Permalink