Quote: this is deja vu all over again (antedating attrib Yogi Berra 1984 July 20)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 6 22:15:39 UTC 2010

 It's deja vu all over again

This is a famous Yogism. The Yale Book of Quotations has a citation in
Forbes naming Yogi Berra dated July 15, 1985. The Oxford Dictionary of
Quotations has the saying credited to Yogi Berra but does not provide
a date or citation. The phrase is also listed in the Concise and
Modern flavors of the Oxford reference family without citation.

Here is an attribution to Yogi Berra about a year earlier in the Wall
Street Journal.

Cite: 1984 July 20, Wall Street Journal, Amex Assails Plan By NASD to
Double National System by Scott McMurray and Pamela Sebartian, Page 5,
New York. (ProQuest)

Commenting on the Amex letter. Gordon S. Macklin. NASD president, said
the Amex complaint is an old one. "As Yogi Berra would say, this is
deja vu all over again." Mr Macklin said. He said that the Amex is
"very frustrated by the intense competitive pressures caused by the
popularity" of the NASD's automated quotation system, known as Nasdaq.

(End excerpt)

The Yale Book of Quotations also presents a great citation dated
February 22, 1966. This early citation has no connection to Yogi
Berra. The phrase appears in a review of a film "The Silencers"
starring Dean Martin as superspy Matt Helm:

Cite: 1966 February 22, Chicago Tribune, Gimmicks Jam 'The Silencers'
by Clifford Terry, Page B5, Chicago, Illinois. (ProQuest)

It's deja vu all over again--the usual gaggle of gimmicks [miniature
hand grenades disguised as coat buttons, a gun that shoots backwards],
and the familiar covey of quail [Stella Stevens, …

(End excerpt)

I have located a 1961 instance of a simplified version of the phrase
used in the context of a humorous poem. The simpler phrase "It's Deja
Vu again" exhibits a redundancy that might be considered comical, but
it is not as exaggerated as the quip attributed to Berra and used by
Terry. Perhaps it qualifies as a precursor:

Cite: 1962 September 22, Evening Independent, People to People: Poem:
"Thanks To You" by Jim Prior of South Pasadena, Page 4B (GN Page 19),
St. Petersburg, Florida. (Google News archive)

Thanks To You

It's Deja Vu again
Out of the blue again
Truer than true again
Thanks to you.

It's homerun time again
Rhymes seem to rhyme again
My chimes can chime again
Thanks to you.

If it hadn't been for you
I'd still be gloomy now
Living with a roomie now

(End of excerpt)

The phrase "Deja Vu, Again" is also used as the title of a newspaper
story in 1974. The article is about the repeated failure of Southwest
Conference basketball teams to gain entrance into the NCAA tournament.

Cite: 1974 March 11, Dallas Morning News, "Deja Vu, Again" by John
Anders, Page B3, Column 1, Dallas, Texas. (GenealogyBank)

Admittedly it is not completely clear to this reader if the title is
meant to be comical, or if it indicates an incomplete understanding of
the term "Deja Vu".


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