Quote concerning money spent on liquor, gambling, and women (maybe 1936)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 16 14:35:20 UTC 2009

George Raft was an American film star who was known for his high
income in Hollywood and for his profligacy. His obituary from the UPI
newswire said this:

Raft made, and squandered, about $10 million in his movie career, later joking:
"Part of the loot went for gambling, part for horses and part for
women. The rest I spent foolishly."
Citation: "George Raft Dies", Ellensburg Daily Record, Nov 25, 1980.
(Google News Archive)

Anyone creating a quote book that includes colorful sayings about
dissolution might include this confession. Several quote books and
online repositories already do contain it. But I wondered if George
Raft actually said it, and if he had concocted the joke. There is some
evidence that Raft did utter the quip contained in the autobiography
of talk show host Joe Franklin:

George Raft told me on my show that he spent all of the $10 million he
made on women, horses, gambling, and whiskey - and the rest he spent
Citation: "Up late with Joe Franklin: Stories of the Greats, the Near
Greats, the Ingrates, the Has-beens, and the Never Weres" by Joe
Franklin and Richard J. Marx, Scribner, 1995. (Google Books snippet

However, examples from the Google Books archive reveal that the joke
has many variations. The money is spent on wine, whiskey, booze,
liquor, women, horses, gambling, the finest duds, and three mustache
curlers. The spendthrift is identified as George Raft, a hobo, a
marine, a cat skinner, or a sailor.

In my search for antecedents I could only push the joke back in time
to 1936 where it appears in the Reader's Digest. Apparently, Channing
Pollock either created the jest or he submitted an existing jest to
Reader's Digest. I am not certain whether submitted content is
supposed to be original for the Digest:

Do you remember the sailor who, asked what he'd done with his wages,
answered, "Part went for liquor, part for women, and the rest I spent
foolishly."? - Channing Pollock
Citation: Reader's Digest, page 46, volume 29, 1936.
(This is from a Google Books snippet view and the date may be
inaccurate. The volume number does match the date and probing with
years suggests that 1940 is in the future.)

There are two well known Channing Pollocks in the time frame, a
magician and a writer. Of course the creator of the joke may be
another Pollock, or someone earlier in time.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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