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 Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 29, 2017
“Why don’t skeletons play music in church?"/"They have no organs.”

A skeleton riddle is:

Q: Why don’t skeletons play music in church?
A: They have no organs.


The popular Halloween riddle has been cited in print since at least 1992. The joke was used in the film James and the Giant Peach (1996).

“Play music in church” is sometimes given as the less exact “play church music.” “Q: Why don’t skeletons play church music?  A: They have no organs” was printed in The News Journal (Wilmington, DE) on January 29, 1999. “Why can’t skeletons play church music? Because they have no organs. #LaughoftheDay” was posted on Twitter by Jimmy RevJim Olsen on March 23, 2021.


Google Books
Jokes from the Crypt
By Eleanor Fremont and Aristides Ruiz
New York, NY: Random House
1992
Pg. 53:
Why don’t skeletons play music in church?
They have no organs.

IMDb (The Internet Movie Database)
James and the Giant Peach (1996)
Quotes

Centipede: Why don’t skeletons play music in church? Because they got no organs.

Google Groups: rec.arts.movies.current-films
REVIEW: JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH (***)
Steve Rhodes
4/14/96
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH
A film review by Steve Rhodes
(...)
The script is not only clever but funny.  When asked about his alleged navigating knowledge as a world traveler, The Centipede confesses his experience is not much, “but I did live between two pages of The National Geographic.” Later he tells his fellow bugs, “Why don’t skeletons play music in church?  Because they got no organs.”

10 May 1997, Seattle (WA) Times, “Kid Talk,” pg, F8:
Q. Why don’t skeletons play music in church?
A. They have no organs.

18 August 1997, Detroit (MI) Free Press, “Yak Yuks,” pg. 2D, col. 1:
Why don’t skeletons play music in church?
They don’t have any organs.
From Caitlin Brooks, 11 Bear Lake.

Newspapers.com
29 January 1999, The News Journal (Wilmington, DE), “Just for Laughs,” pg. 20, col. 1:
Q: Why don’t skeletons play church music?
A: They have no organs.
Nick Fink, age 10
Bear


23 January 2000, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “The Kids’ Reading Room; Reading by 9; Jokes & Riddles,” pg. E6, col. 2:
Why don’t skeletons play music in church? They have no organs. (Andy, 9, Twin Lakes Elementary, El Monte)

Google Groups: alt.humor.puns
[Fwd: Submit: Halloween Riddles]
Stan Kegel
10/30/00
(...)
Why don’t skeletons play music in church?
Because they have no organs! (By John Walsh)

Twitter
The Dundies‏
@thedundies
Chad- why don’t skeletons play music in church? Because they have no organs.
9:35 PM - 16 Apr 2009

Twitter
Erik Z
@besez
Why don’t skeletons play church music? They don’t have any organs.. #dagensordvits #punoftheday
1:37 AM · Apr 3, 2010·Twitter Web Client

Google Books
101 Amazing Spooky Jokes
By Jack Goldstein
Andrews UK Limited
2013
Pg. ?:
Why don’t skeletons play music in church?
They have no organs!

Google Books
1001 Kid’s Jokes
By Kay Barnham
London, UK: Arcturus Publishing
2016
Pg. ?:
Why don’t skeletons play music in churches?
They have no organs.

Reddit—Pundertale
Posted by u/LETS_PARTY_PEOPLE April 14, 2017
why cant skeletons play church music
cuz they have no organs xxDDDdddd

My Town Tutors
Halloween Jokes: 101 Halloween Jokes
Posted on September 23, 2017 by mmolloy
(...)
74. Why don’t skeletons play music in church?…They have no organs.

Twitter
Yak&Milds‏
@THEIsaacHayes
Why don’t skeletons play church music?
Because they have no organs!
*hahahalloween humor*
9:15 AM - 26 Oct 2017

Reddit—Jokes
Posted by u/stocaidearga11 June 5, 2018
Why don’t skeletons play music in church?
Because they have no organs.
Edit i got this from a movie

Reddit—Dadjokes
Posted by u/NormallyWierd October 7, 2020
Why can’t skeletons play church music?
They don’t have any organs.

Twitter
Dad Jokes
@Dadsaysjokes
Why can’t skeletons play church music?
They don’t have any organs.
3:47 PM · Oct 7, 2020·Twitter for iPhone

Twitter
Jimmy RevJim Olsen
@mybuddyjimmy
Why can’t skeletons play church music? Because they have no organs. #LaughoftheDay
5:15 PM · Mar 23, 2021 from West Des Moines, IA·Twitter for iPhone

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Sunday, October 29, 2017 • Permalink