Whoever Named It Necking Was a Poor Judge of Anatomy

Groucho Marx? Robert O. Ryder? Dorothy Uris? Evan Esar? Agro B. Arlo? Laurence J. Peter? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The informal term “necking” refers to kissing and caressing amorously. A comedian once said:

Whoever called it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.

Do you know who crafted this joke?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in the 1968 collection “20,000 Quips and Quotes” compiled by Evan Esar. A well-known comedian, movie star, and television personality received credit. Boldface added to excepts by QI:[1] 1968, 20,000 Quips and Quotes, Compiled by Evan Esar, Subject: Petting, Quote Page 593, Doubleday, Garden City, New York. (Verified on paper)

Whoever named it necking was a poor judge of anatomy.
—Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx (Julius Henry Marx) died in 1977. Thus, he was linked to the quip while he was still alive. Currently, Groucho is the leading candidate for creator.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Whoever Named It Necking Was a Poor Judge of Anatomy

References

References
1 1968, 20,000 Quips and Quotes, Compiled by Evan Esar, Subject: Petting, Quote Page 593, Doubleday, Garden City, New York. (Verified on paper)

The Question Is Not Where Civilization Began, But When Will It

Mohandas Gandhi? Dorothy Uris? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Archaeologists and historians have expended enormous efforts in tracing the origins of civilization. A trenchant humorist has said that scholars should not be trying to ascertain where civilization began; instead, they should be trying to guess when it will begin. Did Mahatma Gandhi say something like this? Would you please explore this quip?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared in “The Baltimore Sun” of Maryland in 1925. A column titled “Sunbeams” contained five miscellaneous statements, and this was the first. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1925 December 14, The Baltimore Sun, Sunbeams, Quote Page 8, Column 3, Baltimore, Maryland. (Newspapers_com)

The question is not where civilization began, but when will it.

The article had no byline, so the ascription of the statements was anonymous. Many years later a thematically related saying was attributed to Mahatma Gandhi without solid evidence.

Below are additional selected citations and commentary.

Continue reading The Question Is Not Where Civilization Began, But When Will It

References

References
1 1925 December 14, The Baltimore Sun, Sunbeams, Quote Page 8, Column 3, Baltimore, Maryland. (Newspapers_com)