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 May 22, 2011
“The upper crust is a bunch of crumbs held together by a lot of dough”

"The upper crust, metaphorically speaking, is composed of a lot of crumbs held together by dough” is cited from May 1945, when it was credited to “J. C. T.” A “crumb” is slang for “an obnoxious, useless, or despicable person.” “Dough” is slang for “money.” This comic definition of “upper crust” is still used.

“The upper crust is just a bunch of crumbs stuck together with their own dough” joke was used on the popular radio show Fibber McGee and Molly (1925-1959), cited in 1945 and 1948. Unfortunately, the date of the radio show cannot be easily located.


Wikipedia: Fibber McGee and Molly
Fibber McGee and Molly is an American radio show from the old-time radio era, and one of its longest-running comedies. The series premiered on the NBC in 1935 and remained popular until its demise in 1959, long after radio had ceased to be the dominant form of entertainment in American popular culture.

essortment
The Old Time Radio Career Of Fibber Mcgee And Molly
(...)
Isabel Randolph played the part of Mrs. Abigail Uppington, a high society type who cavorted with the lower classes like the McGee’s when she would visit. Fibber always had a good time ribbing her about the upper crust. Mrs. Uppington would reply with a suitable snooty comment for McGee.

Wikipedia: Isabel Randolph
Isabel Randolph (1889–1973) was an American character actor active in radio and film from the 1940s through the 1960s, and in television from the early 1950s to the mid 1960s.
(...)
Radio career
Isabel Randolph gained nationwide popularity on the famous radio show Fibber McGee and Molly (on the air 1935-1959), where she began in various “snooty” roles January 13, 1936, eventually becoming the long-running series character, the pompous Mrs. Abigail Uppington, a snooty society matron whom Fibber addressed as “Uppy”, and whose pretensions Fibber delighted in deflating. She stayed with the comedy series for many years, but was gone when the show premiered in the Fall of 1943.

26 May 1945, Middletown (NY) Times Herald, pg. 4, col. 7:
THOUGHT FOR TODAY
The upper crust, metaphorically speaking, is composed of a lot of crumbs held together by dough.—J. C. T.

21 September 1945, Hartford (CT) Courant, “In Hollywood” by Hedda Hopper, pg. 6:
When he saw a bunch of stuffed shirts the other night he said, “The upper crust, eh! Just a lot of crumbs held together by their own dough.”

Google Books
Catholic Digest
Volume 9
1945
Pg. 36:
The upper crust is just a bunch of crumbs stuck together with their own dough. — Fibber McGee.

1 March 1946, Atchison (KS) Daily Globe, pg. 8, col. 2:
Definition of “the uppercrust”: Crumbs held together by their dough.

27 July 1947, Jefferson City (MO) News and Tribune, “Ott’s Kitty Cat,” pg. 8, col. 3:
The “upper crust” is often made up of a lot of crumbs held together by their own dough.

Google Books
Coronet
Volume 24
1948
Pg. 81:
The upper crust is just a bunch of crumbs stuck together with their own dough.
-- Fibber McGee and Molly Show, NBC

5 November 1948, Delta Democrat-Times (Greenville, MS), “It Happened Last Night” by Earl Wilson, pg. 4, col. 4:
Rosalind Courtright tells the monocles and lorgnettes at the Plaza’s Persian Room: “We’re all members of the upper crust—that’s a bunch of crumbs held together by heavy dough.”

Google Books
Peace and Power Within;
A guide to effective living

By Willard Lorane Russell
Houston, TX: Foundation Publishers
1951
Pg. 211:
They are an unhappy lot and they are proving to be one of the deeply disturbing elements in our social and economic structure — the snobs and the swell-heads, the upper crust that consists largely of “crumbs” held together with “dough.”

23 March 1954, New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune, “Only Child Most Often Turns Out to Be Normal” by Dr. Paul Popenoe, pg. 26, col. 2:
You wanted your daughter to get into the “Upper Crust” (defined as “a lot of crumbs held together by dough") and she’s going to do the best she can.

30 November 1954, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, pg. 8, col. 5:
Then there’s the definition of “upper crust” as “a lot of crumbs held together by dough.”—Everson News.

17 October 1957, Delta Democrat-Times (Greenville, MS), “Try and Stop Me” by Bennett Cerf, pg. 6, col. 8:
Jean Webster defines the “upper crust” as a lot of crumbs held together by dough.

Google Books
March 1958, Changing Times (The Kiplinger Magazine), pg. 2, col 1:
Upper crust — A bunch of crumbs held together by a lot of dough.

18 October 1960, Oregonian (Portland, OR), pg. 1, col. 6:
Today’s Chuckle
Upper crust: a bunch of crumbs held together by their dough.

Google Books
Felix Frankfurter: a tribute
By Wallace Mendelson
New York, NY: Reynal & Company
1964
Pg. 92:
This had hurt him somewhat in his professional and social relations with the upper crust, sometimes defined by those who do not belong as a “bundle of crumbs held together by dough.”

Google Books
The Modern Handbook of Humor
By Ralph Louis Woods
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
1967
Pg. ?:
The Upper Crust is a lot of crumbs held together by dough. — Jean Webster

Google News Archive
28 December 1973, Spokane (WA) Daily Chronicle. pg. 9, cols. 4-5:
Ann Landers
“Upper Crust Are Crumbs
Held Together By Dough”

(...)
DEAR PHILLY: Doesn’t your mother know that the “upper crust” is usually a bunch of crumbs held together by a lot of dough?

Google Books
Someone Else’s Money: a novel
By Michael M Thomas
New York, NY: New American Library
1983, ©1982
Pg. 27:
Nick’s late uncle, who had taught political economy at Stanford, had once described the upper crust as “a bunch of crumbs held together by dough.”

New York (NY) Times
THEM AS HAS
By MICHAEL M. THOMAS; Michael M. Thomas, whose latest novel is ‘’The Ropespinner Conspiracy,’’ covers the world of money for The New York Observer
Published: February 21, 1988
THE FOUNDING FORTUNES A New Anatomy of the Super-Rich Families in America. By Michael Patrick Allen. 438 pp. New York: Truman Talley Books/ E. P. Dutton. $22.50.
(...)
What with the Forbes 400, ‘’Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,’’ the self-idolatry of Donald Trump and the like, few of the rest of us can make it through the day, even with the bare minimum of exposure to page or screen, without having to hear of the comings and goings, the gettings and spendings, of a wealthy upper crust that a wise man of my acquaintance once characterized as ‘’a bunch of crumbs held together by dough.’’

Google Books
The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said
By Robert Byrne
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
2003
#2,218
The upper crust is a bunch of crumbs held together by dough.—Joseph A. Thomas (1906–1977)

The Notes:
Ronald Reagan’s Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom

By Ronald Reagan
Edited by Douglas Brinkley
New York, NY: HarperCollins
2011
Pg. 194:
Upper crust...lot..old crumbs held together by dough.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Sunday, May 22, 2011 • Permalink