Jessel, continued (well, sue me!); Joey Adams

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Dec 3 06:47:43 UTC 1999

     There's a George Jessel "Smirnov ad" about the Bloody Mary somewhere in
this apartment, but I can't locate it.  It's very possible that the ad was in
1976--after his 1975 autobiography.  There are no further "Bloody Mary" items
in the NYPL file.  It's highly unlikely that he'd be featured in Smirnov ads
in the 1950s or 1960s and they wouldn't be clipped.
    Jessel claims he created the Bloody Mary in 1927, and that it was
mentioned in a Walter Winchell column in 1928, right around the time of a
tribute to comedian Joe E. Louis.  Joe E. Louis was the subject of the book
(and later film) THE JOKER IS WILD.  In 1927, Louis was beaten up and left
for dead by Chicago thugs.  I'll find the 1928 benefit date (in the Louis
biography?), and then check Walter Winchell's columns in the NY Evening
Graphic.  It's gotta wait until Saturday--I've got parking tickets to do.
     Other items:

17 February 1929, BOSTON GLOBE, "George Jessel noted as film and stage actor"
(page?):  He originated the expressions on the stage, "Don't high-hat me,"
and "Well, sue me."

(Clipping, undated but from  1940-1941 marriage to 16-year-old actress):
Lois was wearing a gold wristwatch set with diamonds of which she said:
"That's B.J.  You know, Before Jessel."

26 May 1981, DAILY NEWS (page?):  Comedian Milton Berle said, "I was brought
up with George Jessel.  We were born next door to each other on 118 Street in
Harlem.  He was one of a kind.  And he was the first one to introduce you
with: 'He's a legend in his own mind.'"

     Glossary from SO HELP ME (1943), pg. 228:

A fire of zay--may they burn
Bashchnaushkit--hazy or woozy from drink
Cain's--storehouse for theatrical failures
Case money--down to the last penny
Cribs--one-room brothels with one girl in attendance
Hoods--short for hoodlums, gangsters
Kadish--Hebrew eulogy
Krenk--a pain or sickness
Lasher--an East Side cupid's bow
Mazeltov--good luck
Nudnick--a bore
Off to Buffalo--a traveling step in dancing used to exit from stage
Olav Hasholem--rest in peace
Pisher--a Yiddish slang phrase meaning fool, idiot
(Pg. 229)
Shivah--days of mourning
Sock Vaudeville--fast-moving, hilarious variety show
Stickman--man in charge of gambling table (dice)
Tsimmis--compote: in Yiddish slang, a big fuss or to-do
Umglick--hard luck
Vay is mere--woe is me

JOEY ADAMS (1911-1999)

     Comedian Joey Adams died today.  I couldn't find any classic
catchphrases in today's New York Post that stick out and that entered the
national consciousness.  He supposedly knew every joke in the book--he wrote
about 40 books himself.  I'll have to go through them, but it's gonna take
some time.

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