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 December 23, 2012
“It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it”

"It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it” (or, “it’s dirty work, but someone’s gotta do it") is a popular cliché said about difficult jobs. In 1955, Congressman Clare E. Hoffman said, “I’m down here in Washington doing the dirty work of the Eisenhower administration.” Hoffman later explained:

“But it was a dirty job. That was the ‘dirty work’ I was doing. So too is mopping up a floor, cleaning out a hog pen or a stable a dirty job. But someone must do it, and as long as I can serve a good purpose, expose infamous procedure, I will not dodge the job.”

“It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it” was said by the character Nick Stone (played by Mike Connors) on CBS television’s Tightrope (1959-60). “This is a job, a dirty job, but somebody has to do it” was said about U.S. involvement in Vietnam in 1965.


Wikipedia: Dirty Jobs
Dirty Jobs is a program on the Discovery Channel, produced by Pilgrim Films & Television, in which host Mike Rowe is shown performing difficult, strange, disgusting, or messy occupational duties alongside the typical employees. The show premiered with two pilot episodes in November 2003. It returned as a series on July 26, 2005. (...) On November 21, 2012, Mike Rowe announced that Discovery Channel had cancelled Dirty Jobs.
(...)
Music
The show’s theme song was originally Faith No More’s “We Care A Lot” which features the lyrics, “Oh, it’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it”.

17 December 1955, (Benton Harbor, MI), pg. 1, col. 8:
SAYS DEMS CAUSE “DIRTY WORK”
Hoffman
Explains
Phrase
He’s Fighting
Donkey Smears
Against Ike

Congressman Clare E. Hoffman in Washington today released a press release which shed light on his “dirty work” comment of 10 days ago at a G. O. P. meeting in Paw Paw.

Hoffman’s comment was in reply to his defeated Democratic opponent of 1954, Gordon Elferdink, of Sawyer, who issued a press statement saying that he had asked U. S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell in Washington to investigate Hoffman’s Paw Paw statement that “I’m down here in Washington doing the dirty work of the Eisenhower administration.”
Pg. 11, col. 1 ("Hoffman Explains ‘Dirty Work’"):
“But it was a dirty job. That was the ‘dirty work’ I was doing. So too is mopping up a floor, cleaning out a hog pen or a stable a dirty job. But someone must do it, and as long as I can serve a good purpose, expose infamous procedure, I will not dodge the job.”

30 November 1960, Sandusky (OH) Register, “Willard Chief To Stand Pat,” pg. 1, col. 5:
Said Fillings: “It’s a dirty job to do, but somebody has to do it.”

22 December 1965, Boston (MA) Record American, “In the Mailbag: Letter from Vietnam,” pg. 24, col. 2:
We are lonely over here. The newspapers we get tell us about the war we are fighting. They also tell us about the people who are protesting against the U. S. Armed Forces being in Vietnam. This is something no serviceman wants to hear about, because this is a job, a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.
(PFD Kenneth P. Carbone, USMC—ed.)

Google Books
Down the Tube;
Or, making television commercials is such a dog-eat-dog business it’s no wonder they’re called spots

By Terry Galanoy
Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Co.
1970
Pg. 26:
It’s about shaving a lion to show off a new shave cream and about an automobile commercial that left a lady and her friend up in the air and about planting 2,000 daisies and about working with very smart dumb animals and about moving Indians from Hollywood to a reservation and not being able to get them out again and about shipping sand to a Florida beach and about painting a castle lawn green and about making oil look like beer and about ten great commercials you’ll never see and about how the blacks are doing and about how to elect a President in a minute or less and about why people who make commercials make a million dollars a year and drink a lot and swear and mope around and say, “Sure it’s a dirty job but somebody’s got to do it.”

9 July 1972, (Baton Rouge, LA), “Crime, Its Detection Said To Pay for TV Producers” by Gene Handsaker (AP), pg. 15-G, col. 3:
Connors (The actor Mike Connors—ed.) has been playing private eye Joe Manix since 1967. In 1959-60, he starred as private eye Nick Stone in CBS’ “Tightrope” series, still seen in reruns.

“Nick was an undercover police office and every week a different character—gambler, robber, safecracker, contact man hired to kill,” said Connors. His job was to infiltrate the underworld. he had a hard, mean, cold streak. In the end he’d say, ‘It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.’”

OCLC WorldCat record
Employee evaluation: it’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.
Author: J Jensen
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: Grantsmanship Center News, 1980 Jul-Aug; 8(4): 36-45
Database: From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Google Books
October 1980, Cincinnati Magazine (Cincinnati, OH), pg. 43, col. 2:
(It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.)

Google News Archive
27 September 1981, Tuscaloose (LA) News, ‘Reapportionment—somebody has to do it” by Angie Stevenson, pg. 19A, col. 1:
It’s an exhausting, thankless job (some would say a dirty job), but somebody’s got to do it.

Google News Archive
10 January 1982, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), “Montana Flourished Under Coach’s Eye‎” by Brian Hewitt (Chicago Sun Times), pg. C4, col. 1:
SAN FRANCISCO—It’s a dirty job. But somebody has to do it.

Somebody has to be San Francisco coach Bill Walsh’s quarterback.

OCLC WorldCat record
It’s a dirty job--but somebody has to do it! : cartoons
Author: Doug Marlette
Publisher: Charlotte, NC (1427 South Blvd., Charlotte 28203) : Willnotdee Press, ©1984.
Edition/Format: Book : English : 1st ed

OCLC WorldCat record
I wish you belonged to me It’s a tough job (but somebody’s got to do it).
Author: Lou Rawls
Publisher: [S.l.] : Gamble and Huff, [1987]
Edition/Format: Music LP : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Discipline: it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.
Author: B Williamson
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: Hospital gift shop management, 1989 Nov; 7(11): 20-4
Database: From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

OCLC WorldCat record
Recipe for Leadership: It’s a dirty job, but someone has got to do it
Author: T Girling
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: GAZETTE -LONDON- WEEKLY JOURNAL OF THE LAW SOCIETY- 94, no. 25, (June 25, 1997): 22-23
Database: British Library Serials

Straight Dope Message Board
Thin Lizzy
08-02-2005, 04:21 PM
Origin of “It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it”
Who first started using this phrase?
(...)
uglybeech
08-03-2005, 03:44 AM
How about this quote from 1957’s Sweet Smell of Success?
Steve: It’s a dirty job, but I pay clean money for it.

OCLC WorldCat record
Central banks - A dirty job, but someone has to do it
Publisher: London : [Economist Newspaper Ltd., 1843-
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: The economist. 385, no. 8559, (2007): 70
Database: ArticleFirst

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Sunday, December 23, 2012 • Permalink