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. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from May 18, 2017
“You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular”

Entry in progress—B.P.
American journalist Arthur “Bugs” Baer (1886-1969) frequently used the “You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular” sentence construction.  Baer wrote in July 1931: “Looks like war is related to drinking and necking. You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.” Baer wrote in May 1950: “Betting is pretty much like liquor. You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.”
Wikipedia: Martin Behrman
Martin Behrman (14 October 1864 – 12 January 1926), an American Democratic politician, was the longest-serving mayor in New Orleans history.
Behrman eventually served as mayor for just under 17 years, first from 1904 to 1920. After four consecutive terms he was defeated by reform candidate Andrew J. McShane. Behrman ran again in 1925 and won, serving from 1925 to 1926. He died in New Orleans less than a year into his fifth term.
“You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular” (in reference to the closing of the Storyville district).
Google Books
HathiTrust Digital Library
August 1894, Judge (New York, NY), pg. 137, col. 1:
JERSEY CITY PASTOR—“I tell you, my hearers, that these pugilistic encounters are debasing, immoral, soul-destroying affairs, and should be crushed into the depths of oblivion by every right-minded—”
28 December 1898, Kansas City (MO) Journal, “Kissing and Kissers” (From a New York Paper), pg. 7, col. 1:
“Gentlemen, you may convict me if you choose, but you can’t make kissing unpopular.”
14 August 1905, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), “Money, money, money!,” pg. 4, col. 4:
Money, money, nothing but money! You can preach against it, write against it, legislate against it; but you cannot make it unpopular.
Chronicling America
14 July 1906, The World (New York, NY), pg. 3, col. 2:
Mr. Watterson was asked if in his opinion we were too extravagant as a nation, and his reply was as characteristic as his others, and was as follows:
“Some of us are and some are not. We shall have to pull along. I fancy, somehow against our ever-increasing wealth. However you may legislate and preach against money, you cannot make it unpopular.
13 November 1910, St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, pg. 2, col. 3:
In Auburn, Washington, 20 miles from Seattle, two corpses were put in a show window with placards on them, “He died of drink.” Then the town voted wet and today is doubtless asking for “some of the same.” You can’t make poison unpopular.
20 November 1914, Jasper (IN) Weekly Courier, pg. 2, col. 1:
All the cynics in the world can never succeed in making love unpopular.
HathiTrust Digital Library
Washington, DC: Government Printing Office
Pg. 123:
F. D. PATTERSON, M. D., chief, division of industrial hygiene, Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
Pg. 124:
Now, in regard to the subject of alcohol, I have hopes that we may get some help out of Congress, but, unlike my good friend, Dr. Meeker, I haven’t much faith in Congress, though I hope we may get some help from them. I fully realize that it is no more possible to stop drinking by the mere enactment of law than it is to control accidents by the same method, and I say by that same process you can make drinking different, but you can’t make it unpopular.
30 March 1929, Akron (OH) Beacon Journal, “Sale Doubts Music Revue Near Death,” pg. 9, col. 5:
“You know you can make looking at a girl without too many clothes on unlawful, but you can’t make it unpopular,” remarked the comedian (Char;es “Chic” Sales—ed.).
Google Books
January 1933, Life (New York, NY), “The Movies” by Harry Evans, pg. 37, col. 3:
(And the censors appear to have learned this lesson about sex : you can legislate against it, but you can’t make it unpopular.)
Google Books
Huey Long’s Louisiana Hayride
By Harnett Thomas Kane
New York, NY: W. Morrow & Company
Pg. 33:
Hamilton Basso tells of a group of women who called on one of the Regulars’ mayors to ask that the Municipal Auditorium be erected in the form of a Greek Theatre. The mayor replied that there were not enough Greeks in New Orleans to support such a venture. By such men was the “most continental city in America” ruled.
Under the Regulars, New Orleans’ long entrenched vice thrived anew. Behrman’s remark on the subject is a Louisiana classic: “You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.”
11 May 1941, New York (NY) Herald Tribune “Huey Long, and the Wreck of His Machine: A High-Gear Narrative of the Rise and Fall of Louisiana’s Kind of Native Dictatorship” book review by Gerald Johnson (Baltimore Sun), sec. 9, pg. 5, col. 4:
For example, consider the remark of the celebrated Mayor Behrman, when he was asked why he did not suppress vice in New Orleans: “You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.” Many a long essay on municipal government has been far less illuminating.
Old Fulton NY Post Cards
9 April 1943, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “On Broadway by Walter Winchell, pg. 20, col. 1:
Glenn Neville, the editorial essayist, passes along this one about Joe Ward, the talented city editor if the Denver Post in the long ago…A new reporter dashed in breathlessly one morning and said: “Mr. Ward, I have an idea for a new campaign. Every night on the steps of the high school I see lots of students necking. Vice is running rampant, Mr. Ward. I think we ought to start a campaign against it.”...The old-timer replied: “Son, you can campaign against it and campaign against it. But you’ll never make it unpopular with the masses.”
Google Books
That Man Is Here Again:
The Adventures of a Hollywood Agent

By Arthur Kober
New York, NY: Random Hous
Pg. 52:
What Martin Behrman, once mayor of the city of New Orleans, said about a more ancient vice (according to Hamilton Basso, the novelist,) can also be said about gambling: ‘You can make it illegal, but you’ll never make it unpopular.”
7 January 1946, Jersey Journal (Jersey City, NJ), “What! No Lolly-gagging?” (editorial), pg. 18, col. 2:
Old Joe Ward, city editor of the Denver Post, used to tell his staff, “You can knock love all you want to, but you can’t make it unpopular.”
5 September 1951, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “Looking at Hollywood: Hollywood Needs a Revival of Giving the Masses What They Want” by Hedda Hopper, pt. 3, pg. 4, col. 3:
Our movie makers might heed the advice of Joe Ward, late editor of the Denver Post, gave one of his young reporters. Said Ward: You can preach against this practice, denouncing what you saw, in every pulpit in the nation. You may write books attacking it; you may create plays condemning it; you may call out the armies of the Lord, as well as the United States government, to suppress it—but, son, mark my word, you will never succeed in making it unpopular with the masses.”
15 March 1969, New Orleans (LA) States-Item, Earl Wilson syndicated entertainment column, pg. 8, col. 2:
WISH I’D SAID THAT: Betting is like liquor. You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.—Arthur Baer.

Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesBig Easy, City That Care Forgot (New Orleans nicknames) • Thursday, May 18, 2017 • Permalink

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