“Close, but no cigar” was a common phrase for nearly a century, but times change, and it’s heard much less often since World War Two except among old-timers.

    It was born in the days when carnival games aimed their challenges and rewards at men, making cigars a popular prize.

    The carny game at left was set up at Madison Park in 1908 Seattle, Wash. Given the tiny target the cigars were more likely to dry out than be smoked.


    The ball-cigar booth at Oakford Park  in Greensburg, PA, offered hopeful suckers a much greater reward. Knock down three stuffed targets or throw three balls through the tiny hole on the horse’s belly and win an entire box of cigars.   [19804]

    The photos testify to how frequently “Close, but no cigar” rang out, and why it became synonymous with close failure.

     Close ... but no cigar !!!