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 17, 2010
“Never invest in anything that eats or needs repainting”

"Never invest in anything that eats or needs (re)painting” is a caution against investing in horses and houses. New York theatrical showman Billy Rose (1899-1966) was cited in February 1949 with saying: “Never buy anything that eats.” The saying was added to by at least October 1957, when it became: “Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting.”

In August 1959, it was reported that Billy Rose had broken both of his rules—he’d bought houses that he repainted and a police dog.


Wikiquote: Money
Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting.
. Billy Rose, as quoted in The New York Post (26 October 1957)

Wikipedia: Billy Rose
William “Billy” Rose (September 6, 1899 – February 10, 1966) was an American impresario, theatrical showman and lyricist. He is credited with many famous songs, notably “Me and My Shadow” (1927), “It Happened in Monterey” (1930) and “It’s Only a Paper Moon” (1933). Billy Rose was a major force in entertainment, with shows, such as Jumbo (1935), Billy Rose’s Aquacade, and Carmen Jones (1943), his Diamond Horseshoe nightclub, and the Ziegfeld Theatre influencing the careers of many stars. Billy Rose was inducted as a member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. After divorcing comedian Fanny Brice, he married Olympic swimmer Eleanor Holm.

15 February 1949, El Paso (TX) Herald-Post, “Yearning for Good Earth Spoils Many Lush Careers” by Robert C. Ruark, pg. 5, col. 2:
When I have been tempted occasionally to return to agitate the earth, I always knock myself out of the mood with two axioms. One is Billy Rose’s.

“Never buy anything that eats,” Billy says.

6 August 1959, Grand prairie (TX) Daily News-Texan, “The Lyons Den” by Leonard Lyons, pg. 14, col. 2:
Rose went to the Little Club, where he confided that he’d disregarded his theory that “you should never buy anything that eats or needs repainting.” He’d bought a 4-acre island whose houses he re-painted, and also a big police dog.

Google Books
Think
International Business Machines Corp.
Volumes 30-32
1964
Pg. 66:
Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting.
Billy Rose

Google News Archive
1 February 1965, Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle, “Poor Man’s Plato” by Hal Boyle, pg. 4, col. 4:
It was Billy Rose who advised, “Never invest your money in anything that eats or needs repainting.”

Google Books
The Complete Murphy’s Law:
A definitive collection

By Arthur Bloch
Los Angeles, CA: Price Stern Sloan
1991
Pg. 215:
SEYMOUR’S INVESTMENT PRINCIPLE: Never invest in anything that eats.

Google Books
My Vast Fortune:
The money adventures of a Quixotic capitalist

By Andrew P. Tobias
New York, NY: Random House
1997
Pg. 118:
So she was buying a farm, and that gave me the idea to buy one, too — although in keeping with the third rule of personal finance, never NEVER INVEST IN ANYTHING THAT EATS OR needs repairing, I made certain to choose one without animals or equipment.

Google Books
August 1999, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, pg. 113 ad:
“Never invest in anything that eats or needs repairing.” - Billy Rose, Theatrical Producer
(Morgan Stanley Dean Witter—ed.)

Google Books
One up on Wall Street:
How to use what you already know to make money in the market

By Peter S. Lynch and John Rothchild
New York, NY: Simon and Schuster
2000
Pg. 79:
The old Wall Street adage “Never invest in anything that eats or needs repairs” may apply to racehorses, but it’s malarkey when it comes to houses.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Friday, December 17, 2010 • Permalink