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 01, 2010
“When anyone says he’s a country boy, you better put your hand on your wallet”

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) is supposed to have said: “When anyone says he’s a country boy, put your hand on your wallet.” The saying means that the “country boy” holds himself out to be unsophisticated, but may not be.

Johnson’s exact quotation hasn’t been located. The saying has been cited in print since at least 1973.


Wikipedia: Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, served as the 36th President of the United States from 1963 to 1969 after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States from 1961 to 1963. He is one of four Presidents who served in all four elected Federal offices of the United States: Congressman, Senator, Vice President and President.

Johnson, a Democrat, served as a United States Representative from Texas, from 1937–1949 and as United States Senator from 1949–1961, including six years as United States Senate Majority Leader, two as Senate Minority Leader and two as Senate Majority Whip. After campaigning unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 1960, Johnson was asked by John F. Kennedy to be his running mate for the 1960 presidential election.

Johnson succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, completed Kennedy’s term and was elected President in his own right, winning by a large margin in the 1964 Presidential election. Johnson was greatly supported by the Democratic Party and, as President, was responsible for designing the “Great Society” legislation that included laws that upheld civil rights, Public Broadcasting, Medicare, Medicaid, environmental protection, aid to education, and his “War on Poverty.” He was renowned for his domineering personality and the “Johnson treatment,” his coercion of powerful politicians in order to advance legislation.

Simultaneously, he greatly escalated direct American involvement in the Vietnam War. As the war dragged on, Johnson’s popularity as President steadily declined. After the 1966 mid-term Congressional elections, his re-election bid in the 1968 United States presidential election collapsed as a result of turmoil within the Democratic Party related to opposition to the Vietnam War. He withdrew from the race amid growing opposition to his policy on the Vietnam War and a worse-than-expected showing in the New Hampshire primary.

Despite the failures of his foreign policy, Johnson is ranked favorably among some historians because of his domestic policies.

Google News Archive
22 January 1973, Cape Girardeau (MO) Southeast Missourian, “Johnson’s special personal quality made him unique” by Marianne Means, pg. 6, col. 4:
He (Lyndon Baines Johnson—ed.) was smarter than almost anybody else, but he contrived to make them forget it. “When anyone says he’s a country boy, put your hand on your wallet.” Then he would laugh and describe himself as a country boy.

Google News Archive
24 June 1973, Reading (PA) Eagle, “Book Tribute to LBJ” by Helen Thomas, pg. 84, col. 7:
“When anyone says he’s a country boy, put your hand on your wallet.”

20 July 1973, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Ervin, Talmadge No Hayseeds” by Robert E. Baskin, sec. A, pg. 23:
If a man identifies himself in a business transaction as “just an old country boy,” look to your wallet. If a lawyer says he’s just “a country lawyer,” re-evaluate your mortgage as soon as you can.

Google Books
You All Spoken Here
By Roy Wilder, Jr.
New York, NY: Viking
1984
Pg. 6:
Country boy: Someone who gains the upper hand by playing dumb. President Lyndon Johnson once advised, “When somebody tells you he’s a country boy, keep your hand on your pocketbook.”

Google Books
1001 More Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking
By Michael Hodgin
Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House
1998
Pg. 278:
Persuasive Country Boy
Lyndon Johnson once said that when anyone tells you he’s just a dumb old country boy, put your hand on your wallet.

Google Books
1001 Greatest Things Ever Said About Texas
By Donna Ingham
Guilford, CT: Lyons Press
2006
Pg. 359:
When anyone says he’s a country boy, you better put your hand on your wallet.
-- Lyndon Baines Johnson

Google Books
Texas, A Modern History: Revised Edition
By David G. McComb
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press
2010
Pg. 215:
“When anyone says he’s a country boy, you’d better put your hand on your wallet” (anonymous).

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, October 01, 2010 • Permalink