A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from July 18, 2010
“Get out of Dodge”

Dodge City, Kansas, was a stop on Texas longhorn cattle drives in the 1800s. The phrase “Get out of Dodge!” comes not from the old West, but from the radio (1952-1961) and television (1955-1975) Western drama Gunsmoke. Marshal Dillon would tell the criminals to get out of Dodge (usually by sundown).

“Jacklin you take Bulow, and you take the rest of your men, and you get out of Dodge” was said by Matt Dillon (actor James Arness) on Gunsmoke, the episode “How to Die for Nothing” that was written by Sam Peckinpah (1925-1984) and that originally aired on June 23, 1956.

“‘Thought I told you to get out ‘o Dodge,’ threatened Scotty Toltan to Buck Hardy, in best John Wayne fashion” was printed in the Miami (FL) Daily News on August 13, 1956. “Get out of Dodge” was used in a newspaper comic strip by January 1959. “Get out of Dodge” means to leave an area immediately, or to suffer bad consequences.

“Dodge” has come to symbolize people who are told to get out of Vietnam (during the 1960s-1970s), Hollywood, New York City, Washington, DC, and also companies and organizations. The phrase has remained popular, long after Gunsmoke last aired.

Wikipedia: Gunsmoke
Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman MacDonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West.

The radio version ran from 1952 to 1961, and John Dunning writes that among radio drama enthusiasts “Gunsmoke is routinely placed among the best shows of any kind and any time.” The television version ran for 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975, and still remains the United States’ longest-running prime time, live-action drama with 635 episodes (Law and Order ended in 2010 with 476 episodes).

The Internet Movie Database
Movie connections for
“Gunsmoke” (1955)

Pulp Fiction (1994)
- The “Get the hell out of dodge” line said by The Wolf.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This Year’s Girl (#4.15)” (2000)
- Buffy: “I tell you, if I were her, I’d get out of Dodge post hasty.” This phrase originated on Gunsmoke

Wikipedia: Dodge City, Kansas
Dodge City is a city in and the county seat of Ford County, Kansas, United States. Named after U.S. Army Colonel Richard I. Dodge, the city is famous in American culture for its history as a wild frontier town of the Old West. As of the 2000 United States Census, the city population was 25,176.
Cattle trade
The idea of driving Texas longhorn cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas originated in the late 1850s, but was cut short by the Civil War. In 1866, the first Texas cattle started arriving in Baxter Springs in southeastern Kansas by way of the Shawnee Trail. However, Texas longhorn cattle carried a tick that spread splenic fever among other breeds of cattle. Known locally as Texas Fever, alarmed Kansas farmers persuaded the Kansas State Legislature to establish a quarantine line in central Kansas. The quarantine prohibited Texas longhorns from the heavily settled, eastern portion of the state.

With the cattle trade forced west, Texas longhorns began moving north along the Chisholm Trail. In 1867, the main Cow Town was Abilene, Kansas. Profits were high, and other towns quickly joined in the cattle boom. Newton in 1871; Ellsworth in 1872; and Wichita in 1872. However, in 1876 the Kansas State Legislature responded to pressure from farmers settling in central Kansas and once again shifted the quarantine line westward, which essentially eliminated Abilene and the other Cow Towns from the cattle trade. With no place else to go, Dodge City suddenly became Queen of the Cow Towns.

Urban Dictionary
get the hell out of dodge
To leave somewhere immediately, to evacuate or scram. “Get the hell out of Dodge” is a reference to Dodge City, Kansas, which was a favorite location for westerns in the early to mid 20th century. Most memorably, the phrase was made famous by the TV show “Gunsmoke,” in which villians were often commanded to “get the hell out of Dodge.” The phrase took on its current meaning in the 1960s and 70s when teenagers began to use it in its current form.
Awesome. We’re done here, so lets get the hell out of dodge!
by B. Nooni Dec 13, 2005

Urban Dictionary
out of dodge
To get the hell “out of dodge” is to evacuate the area in which one currently exists. This is used as a warning that trouble is on its way over.
Let’s get the hell outta dodge.
by Gumba Gumba Feb 27, 2004

(Oxford English Dictionary)
get, v.
colloq. (orig. and chiefly U.S.). to get (the hell, heck) out of Dodge: to leave, esp. quickly; to flee.
With allusion to Dodge City, Kansas, the scene of various film and radio Westerns, and of the U.S. television series Gunsmoke (1955-75).
1965 National Observer 10 May 1/5 Here are some of the expressions..the gang members were using… ‘Get out of Dodge’ (lay low).
1972 New Pittsburgh Courier 23 Sept. 12/3 Melinda..gets her hat and coat and gets the hell out of Dodge.
1993 Virginian Pilot & Ledger-Star 6 July D1/1 The kind of day to think about getting the heck out of Dodge,..to dream about chucking it all for a place in the country.
2004 A. GOODMAN & D. GOODMAN Exception to Rulers x. 192 We should have given the citizens of Baghdad forty-eight hours to get out of Dodge.

Springfield! Springfield!
Gunsmoke (1955) s01e31 Episode Script
How to Die for Nothing

Jacklin you take Bulow, and you take the rest of your men, and you get out of Dodge.

Gunsmoke clip * “Get out of Dodge”
Authur Cordell
(At just after three minutes in.—ed.)

13 August 1956, Miami (FL) Daily News, “Guests Greeted By Fair Fowl” by Carol Ross, pg. 2B, col. 1:
I Got Yuh Covered, Pardner
“Thought I told you to get out ‘o Dodge,” threatened Scotty Toltan to Buck Hardy, in best John Wayne fashion.

14 August 1956, Dayton (OH) Daily News, “On Familiar Ground” (editorial), pg. 22, col. 1:
Perhaps play comes full circle again, and if it does, keel-haul that space pilot, sirrah, and give the lad with the atomic cannon exactly five minutes to get out of Dodge City.

14 December 1956, Sacramento (CA) Bee, “Nash Farce Calls For Probe Of Police Actions,” pg. D-14, col. 1:
Possibly the fatal unleashing of Nash on the state stemmed from the old “get out of Dodge” practice of moving suspicious characters out of town no matter who gets hurt somewhere else.

8 January 1959, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, “Here’s a sneak glance at my latest TV show” by Chris Brady, pg. 1, col. 3:
Four-Gun says, “Nosmo, you always were the one for directness. Okay, you’d better get out of Dodge before sundown. Or else!”

9 January 1959, Lawton (OK) Constitution, “Marty Meekle” comic strip, pg. 19, col. 2:
(A child is dressed as a cowboy—ed.)

10 March 1960, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Of Smith and Men” by Jack Smith, pg. B5:
“Mister,” said Matt Dillon, “you better get out of Dodge.”

27 August 1965, Trenton (NJ) Evening Times, “Famed Actor’s Son Directs” by Ward Morehourse, pg. 10, cols. 1-2:
As the director of 95 “Gunsmokes” he supervised the fast draw of towering matt Dillon, Galahad of the plains, defender of law and decency in Dodge City, Kan. ("Mister, I’ll give you just 30 minutes to get out of Dodge").

Google Books
Waiting for Wayman
By Tom Wayman
Pg. 61:
I think you should just leave
without all this fuss.
Instead of making trouble
and then us having to take measures in return
why don’t you just get the fuck out of Dodge.

Google News Archive
23 November 1975, Florence (SC) Times-Daily, “‘Smile’ Satirizes Beauty Pageants,” pg. 38, col. 4:
He tires of the silly, prying, unchanging stifling air and longs to get out of Dodge, as the saying goes.

Google News Archive
10 December 1979, Fort Scott (KS) Tribune, “‘Chocolate Thunder’ Costly,’ pg. 8, col. 4:
Dawkins said breaking backboards is dangerous.

Then, in the spirit of the old West, the 252-pound player added, “That glass comes down, it’s time to get out of Dodge.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Getting out of dodge : stories
Author: Eric Braun
Publisher: 1999.
Dissertation: Thesis (M.F.A.)--Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1999.
Edition/Format: Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript : English
Summary: Getting out of dodge is a collection of seven short stories. Most focus on Janie who tries to find a way to share her life without sacrificing her individuality.

Google Books
Betty Sweet tells all
By Judith Minthorn Stacy
New York, NY: HarperCollins
Pg. 5:
As Matt Dillon said on Gunsmoke, “It’s time to get out of Dodge.”

Google Books
Encyclopedia of the Great Plains:
A project of the Center for Great Plains Studies

Edited by David J Wishart
Lincoln, NE: Univ. of Nebraska Press
Pg. 384:
More influential was the long-running (1955-75) television series Gunsmoke, which gave rise to the metaphoric Dodge among US service personnel in Vietnam: to “get out of Dodge” meant to vacate a dangerous area.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Sunday, July 18, 2010 • Permalink