A Great Life

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Mon Feb 9 17:30:28 UTC 2004

>From an article on "Night Life on Broadway", Variety, December 25, 1914, p. 7, col. 3, sketching the round of cabaret-hopping that ends at dawn:

. . .  the regulars only believe they are living, in the often heard Broadway proverb: "A short life and a merry one" and that other bright light lure, "It's a great life if you don't weaken."

I see that the latest Oxford Dictionary of Quotations has a citation from 1919, and that Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Catchphrases assigns it to World War I, without a specific date.  I did not check books of proverbs.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

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