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Q: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: cryptica-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 27 Jan 2006 19:58 PST
Expires: 26 Feb 2006 19:58 PST
Question ID: 438532
Where did this quote originate?  Who said it first?  A lot of sites
credit Oscar Wilde, but don't verify a specific source.  If Wilde
can't be confirmed, I would accept the first record (year) of it being
used -- the way William Safire does it  his "On Language" columns in
the NY Sunday Times.  But my first choice is for you to find the
definitive "who said it"-sayer.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 27 Jan 2006 20:47 PST
I found a 1966 use as an advertising slogan (good old Madison Avenue).

I didn't see any evidence of it all in older works, including literary
works, but perhaps someone else will find something I overlooked.

If not, would information on the 1966 usage do the trick?


Clarification of Question by cryptica-ga on 28 Jan 2006 07:33 PST
Pafalafa, Pink's Will Rogers attribution indicates the expression is
probably older than '66.   Pink, does the Will Rogers Memorial Center
list a date/source for when Will said this?   And if it is Rogers, how
the heck did Oscar Wilde get in the mix?

Request for Question Clarification by pinkfreud-ga on 28 Jan 2006 10:38 PST

My remark about the Will Rogers Memorial is based upon my memory of
having seen a plaque there which bore the quote. I have not visited
the Will Rogers Memorial for over twenty years, so I can't prove
anything. I just thought it might provide a good avenue of
investigation for someone.


Clarification of Question by cryptica-ga on 29 Jan 2006 12:22 PST
Maybe Will Rogers never met an Oscar Wilde quote he didn't like. . .

Request for Question Clarification by pinkfreud-ga on 29 Jan 2006 13:03 PST
...Or maybe both Will and Oscar lifted the quote from Mark Twain?

Tracking a quote like this one to its true origin is sometimes
impossible. Pithy sayings are widely misattributed (often to the usual
suspects, including Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, George
Bernard Shaw, and many other folks who are known to have said a lot of
witty things).

If I were in the position of wanting to use this quote, I think I'd
give it a loosey-goosey attribution such as this:

"It is said that Will Rogers once remarked, 'You never get a second
chance to make a first impression'..."

"A wise person once said 'You never get a second chance to make a
first impression'..."

Personally, I think my friend and colleague pafalafa has earned the
fee by ferreting out a 1966 use in print. Paf is a very sharp fella
who has access to some of the best databases around, and I doubt that
you'll do better where ferreting is concerned. ;-)

Clarification of Question by cryptica-ga on 31 Jan 2006 16:18 PST
OK, let's wait a few more days and give peopole an oppty to find a
citation earlier than '66 and if nothing shows up, Paf wins the day.  
I agree, every clever quote ends up being attributed to Wilde, Shaw,
Parker, Rogers or Twain.  Or La Rouchefoucald!

Clarification of Question by cryptica-ga on 07 Feb 2006 22:20 PST
Pafalafa --   I agree with Pinkfreud.   

It's been several days now and nobody else has found anything earlier
than your 1966 citation, so go ahead, I will accept that as the
official answer.  Post away!

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 08 Feb 2006 13:15 PST

Here 'tis:

Take a look at the file named:

second chance first impression 1966.bmp

I posted it here, since you have some natural skepticism as to its
primacy.  After you've had a look, let me know if it's credible enough
to warrant posting it as a formal answer.



Clarification of Question by cryptica-ga on 08 Feb 2006 16:02 PST
Paf --  
You gotta admit that it's a little hard to accept that Botany suits
was the originator of the expression.   Sort of like learning "To be
or not to be" was originally an ad for Michelin Tires or something.  
So, yes, I'm skeptical that 1966 was where it all began, but on the
other hand, you're the only one to find anything in print, so I do
declare you the winner!  Post the sucker as the "official answer." 
The effort alone for your time is worth the $.  Thank you!
Subject: Re: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 08 Feb 2006 17:15 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Thanks...and don't estimate the power of Madison Ave to come up with a
catch-phrase that sticks in the mind, and has staying power over the

After all, it was their creative genius that came up with:

"...Be afraid!  Be very afraid!"

Hope we'll see you around here again, one of these days.


search strategy -- searched a variety of historical full-text
databases for [ "second chance" "first impression" ]

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 08 Feb 2006 17:15 PST

Don't *underestimate*....

Request for Answer Clarification by cryptica-ga on 08 Feb 2006 18:35 PST
Paf --
I'll post the rating, but first, enlighten me about your search
strategy:  what is a "historical full-text database?"  Do you mean
Nexis?  Or?   I'm always looking for better ways to research.

And yes, you'll see me around here again. . .I'm always here!  In
fact, I posted a clue last night to a question you commented on
yesterday -- thinking you'd jump in and get the $$. . . but
answerfinder-ga took the bait first.  (it was the question about how
to determine the most difficult sport.)

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 08 Feb 2006 18:58 PST

Thanks a's nice to get feedback like that.

As for searching, I'm fortunate in having access to a fair number of
subscription databases (like Lexis/Nexis) though the one I found the
ad in was:

This is a *great* source of historical information.  You can search it
at no charge, though to actually pull up the newspaper pages requires
a fee, of course.  However, they recently reduced their subscription
charges, so it may be worth a try.

Another great source for historical info is the Making of America
site, and associated databases at the University of Michigan:;c=blaketc;c=bosnia;c=busadwp;c=bwrp;c=conraditc;c=crossc;c=did;c=eebodemo;c=evansdemo;c=fung1tc;c=gandf;c=lincoln;c=mfs;c=moa;c=moajrnl;c=mqr;c=mqrarchive;c=ncosw;c=postid;c=roper;c=tmr;c=umhistmath;c=umr;c=umregproc;c=umsurvey;c=umtri;c=womv;xc=1;sid=8a94dfc013681fcb73880a900aeba967;page=simpleext

This is a clunky, awkward, unfriendly site (just look at the above URL
to see what I mean), but it's **free**, and it's a great collection.  
Spend some time with it.

See you again soon,

cryptica-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
We may never know if this is the definitive answer, but I believe
effort is often equally as important as the actual answer.  A hats off
also to Tutuzdad-ga, who jumped in with intriguing new info just after
the official answer was posted.

Subject: Re: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
From: pinkfreud-ga on 27 Jan 2006 20:50 PST
Here in Oklahoma, this quote is generally attributed to Will Rogers. A
plaque at the Will Rogers Memorial Center bears the slogan.
Subject: Re: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
From: tutuzdad-ga on 08 Feb 2006 13:26 PST
I could be that the quote you are referring to was derived from some
other similar quote. For example:

?It is only at the first encounter that a face makes its full impression on us.? 
Arthur Schopenhauer quotes (German Philosopher, 1788-1860)
"Few have strength of reason to overrule the perceptions of sense, and
yet fewer have curiosity or benevolence to struggle long against the
first impression: he who therefore fails to please in his salutation
and address is at once rejected, and never obtains an opportunity of
showing his latest excellences or essential qualities."
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Subject: Re: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
From: cryptica-ga on 08 Feb 2006 18:39 PST
Tutuzdad -- Very nice!   (Maybe a layout artist at Botany suits
decided all the text from the Johnson quote would take up too much
space on the page.)   I like both of those.  Thanks!

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