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 June 26, 2015
“Who goes forth with a fifth on the Fourth may not come forth on the fifth”

Bottles of distilled beverages in the United States used to be sold in “fifths” (one-fifth of a gallon), prompting the Fourth of July (Independence Day) joke:

“Who goes forth with a fifth on the Fourth may not come forth on the fifth.”

“Many who had a fifth on the Fourth failed to come forth on the Fifth” was cited in a July 1951 newspaper. “When driving stay away from the fifth on the 4th, in order that you can come forth on the Fifth” was cited in a July 1953 newspaper.


Wikipedia: Fifth (unit)
A fifth is a unit of volume formerly used for distilled beverages in the United States, and is equal to one fifth of a gallon, 4⁄5 quart, or 253⁄5 fluid ounces (757 mL); it has been superseded by the metric system, 750 mL, which is the standard capacity of wine bottles world-wide and is approximately 1% smaller than 253⁄5 fluid ounce.

1 July 1948, Mexico (MO) Evening Ledger, pg. 2, col. 1:
A fifth on the fourth is no good.

6 July 1951, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Picayunes” by Pete Baird, sec. 1, pg. 1, col. 5:
Many who had a fifth on the Fourth failed to come forth on the Fifth.

3 July 1952, Altoona (PA) Mirror, pg. 14, col. 5 ad:
DON’T CELEBRATE WITH A “FIFTH” ON THE “FOURTH”
(McCartney’s office supplies.—ed.)

4 July 1953, Sacramento (CA) Bee, pg. 27,col. 8 classified ad:
When driving stay away from the fifth on the 4th, in order that you can come forth on the Fifth.
The Bloomberg Realty Co.

9 July 1953, The Alabama Courier (Athens, AL), “As I See It” by “Dena” Nelson, pg. 5,col. 2:
Lots of folks are still alive on the sixth after a fifth on the fourth.

Google News Archive
9 June 1958, Gettysburg (PA) Times, “Beggars Say Fat Ladies More Sentimental, More Generous” by Hal Boyle (AP), pg. 10, col. 4:
A good safety rule to remember on Independence Day is: “Who goes forth with a fifth on the Fourth may not come forth on the fifth.”

Google News Archive
5 July 1966, The Blade (Toledo, OH), “I’ve Heard” by Don Wolfe,” Peach Sec., pg. 2, col. 1:
Look Around
Jane Patlin, an Adams Street philosopher, said today is a good time to check out an old holiday saying that “He who goeth forth with a fifth on the Fourth may not come forth on the Fifth.”

Google News Archive
19 November 1967, Reading (PA) Eagle, “Try and Stop Me” by Bennett Cerf, pg. 20, col. 5:
Sign Here:
Outside an auto license bureau last July 3: “Who goes forth with a fifth on the Fourth may not come forth on the fifth.”

Google Books
Gentleman by an Act of Congress:
The True Life Story of a Twentieth Century Knight Errant, as Related by El Cid Hamet Benengali (reincarnated)

By Rollins H. Mayer
Fort Lauderdale, FL: Mayer
1977
Pg. 108:
He recalled the ditty, “He who goes forth with a ‘fifth’ on the fourth may not come forth on the fifth,” for there was not a soul in sight except one drunken Indian

Google Books
Humor in Uniform
By Editors of Reader’s Digest
New York, NY: Readers Digest
2008
Pg. ?:
We had no accidents that year, and I attribute it partly to our slogan: “He who comes forth with a fifth on the Fourth may not come forth on the fifth.”
--ROBERT ABNEY

Twitter
Anna L. Morris
‏@WDTnow
He who comes forth with a fifth on the Fourth may not come forth on the fifth. #July4
4:57 PM - 26 Jun 2015

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Friday, June 26, 2015 • Permalink