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 01, 2017
“What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?”

American actor and comedian W, C, Fields (1880-1946), playing the character Larsen E. Whipsnade in the film You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1939), said:

“Victoria, dear, some weasel took the cork out of my lunch.”

Fields co-wrote the screenplay; it’s not known if he had used the line earlier. “What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?” is a popular form of the line that has been cited in print since at least 1947.


Wikiquote: W. C. Fields
W. C. Fields (29 January 1880 – 25 December 1946), born William Claude Dukenfield, was an American Actor and Comedian.

Quotes
Some contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch ...
. You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1940)

IMDb (The Internet Movie Database)
You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1939)
Quotes

Whipsnade: Victoria, dear, some weasel took the cork out of my lunch. And a wombat and spills it all over the place. I was fit to be tied!

Wikipedia: You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man
You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man is a 1939 American comedy film starring W. C. Fields. Fields also wrote the story on which the film is based under the name Charles Bogle.
(...)
Screenplay by
Everett Freeman
Richard Mack
George Marion, Jr.
Story by Charles Bogle

17 March 1939, The Enquirer (Cincinnati, OH), “Between Hollywood and Broadway” by E. B. Radcliffe, pg. 11, col. 1:
Whipsnade witticisms: (...) “I’m looking for the weasel that took the cork out of my lunch.”

14 January 1947, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), “Folks and Books” by Paul Paine, pg. 4, col. 7:
TO BE OLD enough to remember seeing W. C. Fields in vaudeville in the billiard act is a privilege. The Nation, commenting on “the pompous bluff, the genial fraud” who has been “a classic and endearing figure since the tongue was first discovered as a weapon for petty larceny,” reminds us of the great fun-maker’s famous question: “What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?”

5 January 1961, Aberdeen (SD) American-News, “Earl Wilson’s New York,” pg. 4, col. 5:
EARL’S PEARLS: This line is from an old W. C. Fields movie: “Who stole the cork out of my lunch?”

11 August 1969, Aberdeen (SD) American-News, “Earl Wilson’s New York,” pg. 4, col. 5:
REMEMBERED QUOTE: W. C. Fields said it: “What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?”

Google Books
Hot Times:
True Tales of Hollywood and Broadway

By Earl Wilson
Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books
1984
Pg. 109:
“What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?” (W. C. Fields)

Google Books
20,000 Quips & Quotes
By Evan Esar
New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books
1995, ©1968
Pg. 481:
What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch? -W. C. Fields

Google Books
The 2,320 Funniest Quotes:
The Most Hilarious Quips and One-Liners from AllGreatQuotes.com

Compiled by Tom Corr
Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press
2011
Pg. 24:
What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?—W. C. Fields

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, May 01, 2017 • Permalink