During Christmas People Will Forget the Past With a Present

Gladys Parker? Don Marquis? Walter Winchell? Uncle Ezra? Phyllis Diller? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: A collection of Christmas season quips employ wordplay based on “past” and “present”. Here are two examples:

What I like about Christmas is that you can make people forget the past with a present.

At Christmas time youngsters want the past forgotten and the present remembered.

Remarks of this type have been attributed to humorist Don Marquis, cartoonist Gladys Parker, and comedian Phyllis Diller. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: This family of jokes is difficult to trace because the phrasing is variable. In January 1933 a one-panel cartoon called “Flapper Fanny Says” by Gladys Parker depicted a woman opening a present. The caption said the following. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:[1] 1933 January 19, Public Opinion, (Caption of one panel cartoon: Flapper Fanny Says by Gladys Parker), Quote Page 12, Column 3, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com)

Nothing smoothes out the past like a present.

This instance of the quip did not mention Christmas, but it contained the key wordplay elements.

In February 1933 the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” of New York printed an instance about birthdays with an anonymous attribution:[2] 1933 February 24, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Reverting to Type by Art Arthur, Quote Page 12, Column 2, Brooklyn, New York. (Newspapers_com)

… the latest bit of wisdom scribbled on the bulletin board at Connie’s Inn reads, “On her birthday every girl wants her past forgotten and her presents remembered”

In July 1934 Gladys Parker revisited this notion in her one-panel cartoon “Flapper Fanny Says”. Parker’s illustration depicted a woman tending the flowers on a trellis, and the caption said:[3] 1934 July 3, The Canton Repository, (Caption of one panel cartoon: Flapper Fanny Says by Gladys Parker), Quote Page 3, Column 4, Canton, Ohio. (GenealogyBank)

Many a person will forget the past for a present.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading During Christmas People Will Forget the Past With a Present

References

References
1 1933 January 19, Public Opinion, (Caption of one panel cartoon: Flapper Fanny Says by Gladys Parker), Quote Page 12, Column 3, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. (Newspapers_com)
2 1933 February 24, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Reverting to Type by Art Arthur, Quote Page 12, Column 2, Brooklyn, New York. (Newspapers_com)
3 1934 July 3, The Canton Repository, (Caption of one panel cartoon: Flapper Fanny Says by Gladys Parker), Quote Page 3, Column 4, Canton, Ohio. (GenealogyBank)