never give a sucker an even break


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never give a sucker an even break

If someone can be easily swindled, you should do what you can to take advantage of them. Sure, the boat ride down the river is pretty overpriced for what you get, but if the tourists are still willing to pay it, then why change it? Never give a sucker an even break, that's what I say.
See also: break, even, give, never, sucker

never give a sucker an even break

Don't allow a person who's easily duped a fair chance, as in He's always trying to give out expired coupons for his store, firmly believing in never giving a sucker an even break . Probably a direct quotation, it has been attributed to showman P. T. Barnum (responsible for the oft-quoted "There's a sucker born every minute"); and comedian W. C. Fields (who popularized it in one of his films); and theater manager Edward Francis Albee, the most probable of the three. [Slang; early 1900s]
See also: break, even, give, never, sucker
References in periodicals archive ?
"When I think of those two I am always reminded of the famous line from WC Fields, 'Never give a sucker an even break'.
"Never give a sucker an even break; always give him 8-11 instead." The anthem of bookies everywhere, particularly Ladbrokes.
I've got to get a laugh out of this picture somewhere even if it's down in India." Fields' humor was evidently lost on Breen, who became even more picky when dealing with Fields' 1941 movie Never Give a Sucker an Even Break. Breen was determined not to let Fields get away with anything this time and his memo to the studio is quite explicit and peremptory: "Any and all dialogue and showing of bananas and pineapples is unacceptable."
Indeed, faced with the ultimate busybody, he could only respond by making censorship itself the butt of his comedy in Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, with the famous line: "This scene was supposed to be in a saloon, but the censor cut it out."
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