Apple Core! Baltimore!

Apparently there has been a phrase popular enough in the 1950’s as to appear both on a Donald Duck cartoon and an episode of the Andy Griffith show. The exchanged occured when someone had just finished or mostly finished eating an uncut apple and had need to dispense the core in some manner:

Eater: “Apple core!”
Friend1: “Baltimore!”
Eater: “Who’s your friend?”
Friend1: “Him!” and points to Friend2
Eater: Throws apple core at Friend2

I could easily see how fun it would be as the first to shout Baltimore might grant one the liberty of saying who must be assaulted by mostly-consumed fruit, and even purely at random selection. I would also find it perfectly acceptable to be the target, if I had known the rhyme ahead of time.

The first place I ever heard it was only recently, on the radio program A Way With Words on their March 7, 2009 episode, when a caller phoned in curious of its origin.

It’s been dated as far back as perhaps the 1920s according to this page. A letter was written in the early 1990s of a gentleman recalling some 60 years prior that it had been a common practice in his elementary school days to recite the exchange, putting an approximation of its usage to perhaps the 1920s or 30s depending his age of schooling at the time, as elementary spans over 10 years.

The same page also retracts a remark that the animator for a 1952 Donald Duck cartoon (streamed below) had invented the rhyme for the cartoon after discovering it was used in an illustration of a squaredance call from a book “Melody Time” from 1948.

cartoon on full screen has a small remark about the above cartoon here and the particular exchange.

Update: Sept 7, 2015. A reader writes that her father, born 1909 in SE Oklahoma, corrected her when she came home from school repeating this phrase, that the real phrase was “Bite No More” not “Baltimore,” which I can find a few references to in school rhyme books, but nothing that far back.

“Apple core, bite no more. Point him out, hit him in the snout.”

This whole rhyme appears in at least 2 publications I can find, but they’re not older than 1980. The “rhyme” of this version is rather similar to the “rules” of the game, so there seems to be a connection. If any one has other similar stories from that far back, please do write in or comment below =)

4 thoughts on “Apple Core! Baltimore!

  1. It is in point of fact a nice and useful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply shared this helpful info with
    us.Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. This saying was also used on a mash – up episode of Johnny Bravo and The Scooby Doo Gang. Shaggy and Johnny were hiding in a barrel of apples when the ghoul finds them, Shaggy starts with:
    “Apple core!” then the ghoul.
    “Baltimore!” Then Johnny says.
    “Who’s your friend?” and the ghoul replies with, “Me!” just before being hit with an apple core.

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