Whoever Named It Necking Was a Poor Judge of Anatomy

Groucho Marx? Robert Quillen? 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? Was it Groucho Marx?

Quote Investigator: The 1968 collection “20,000 Quips and Quotes” compiled by Evan Esar attributed this quip to the well-known comedian, movie star, and television personality Groucho Marx. 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. However, humorist Robert Quillen published a matching joke in 1943. Also, precursors occurred in the 1920s and 1930s.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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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)