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 17, 2011
“Why did the apple turnover?"/"Because it saw the banana split.”

Popular food riddles (also word riddles) involve the apple turnover and the banana split. These jokes have been repeated over many years on the children’s sections of newspapers and magazines.

The apple turnover riddle has been cited in print since at least 1961: “Q: Why did the apple turnover? A: Because he saw the jelly roll.”

The banana split riddle has been cited in print since at least 1975: “Q: Why did the cababge leaf? A: I know—because he saw the banana split!”

The two riddles were combined by at least 1994: “Q: Why did the apple turnover? A: Because it saw the banana split.”


3 August 1961, Uniontown (PA) Evening Standard, “Let’s Laugh” by Lynn Kozares, pg. 49?, col. 1:
Why did the apple turnover?
Answer: Because he saw the jelly roll.

Google Books
July 1975, Boys’ Life, “Think & Grin,” pg. 64, col. 3:
Artichoke: Why did the cabbage leaf?
Kohlrabi: I know — because he saw the banana split! — Eugene Meier, Inglewood, Calif.

8 July 1979, Chicago (IL) Daily Herald, “Grins” by Kathy Box, Michele Albert and Mark Crane, Kids’ Choice, pg. 1: 
Why was the whipped cream crying?
Because the banana split.

22 July 1984, Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, “Sunday with Sandy” by Sandy Gallo, pg. 18C, col. 2:
RIDDLES AND GIGGLES
Why did the apple turn over?
It saw the jelly roll.

1 April 1988, Huntingdon (PA) Daily News, “Mighty Funny’s Mini Jokes,” The Mini Page, pg. 9:
Mighty Funny: Why was the ice cream lonely?
Gus Goodsport: Because the banana split.
(Sent in by Dallas Dearth)

Google Books
The People in the Playground
By Iona Archibald Opie
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
1994
Pg. 63:
“Why did the apple turnover? Because it saw the banana split.”

Google Books
Lunchbox Laughs:
A book of food jokes

By Mark Ziegler and Anne Haberstroh
Minneapolis, MN: Picture Window Books
2005
Pg. 14:
Why couldn’t the monkey eat the banana?
Because the banana split.

Google Books
June 2005, Boys’ Life, pg. 54, col. 3:
Sam: Why did the apple turnover?
Jackie: I don’ t know. Why?
Sam: Because it saw the jellyroll.
Samuel Kenneth Elliott, Coweta, Okla.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, April 17, 2011 • Permalink