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The History Behind Wefux Wittit
In 1913 two friends from Philadelphia, Randolph J. Wefux & Mortimer B. Wittit, set out to spread word of the world’s underground scene. It was the turn of the century and new concepts, inventions, and styles were being discovered at a rapid rate. What started off as gossip around town soon developed into global source of unsuspected information. While local newspapers were covering basic stories around town, these two were gaining popularity by pitching exotic trends from around the world. Whether it was a popular restaurant across town or a new clothing style in Italy, they were on it before anyone else.
The two became so popular that the townspeople named them the Duke & Duke of underground news. Their names were popular amongst those with progressive minds and “Wefux Wittit” soon became a common catch phrase around town. When people heard about a new ethnic restaurant opening up, they would say “Wefux Wittit”. Whenever the men heard news about any promiscuous women in town, they would commonly say “Wefux Wittit”. If news broke out of any money to be made in a new investment, they would say “Wefux Wittit”. And so on.
None of their information was ever published and was only transmitted by word of mouth. The theory was that if any information was written on paper then everyone would know. Those who were fortunate to receive this info could tell others selectively and help pioneer a new trend.
Randolph J. Wefux (b. 1889) was a distiller, gambler and playboy from New York City. He was the son of a successful businessman but never wanted to follow in the father’s footsteps. With a passion for distilling spirits, he moved to Philadelphia at a young age to help start a liquor business with his cousin. After failing miserably in the alcohol industry, he decided to venture out to seek new business opportunities.
Mortimer B. Wittit (b. 1885), a descendent of the wealthy Wittit family from Denbighshire of Wales, was a world traveled scholar. He moved to the United States in 1910 in search of purchasing land. Eventually settling down in the Philadelphia area, he sought after new business concepts developing around town.
Mortimer met Randolph one night while playing poker at a local bar. The two quickly became friends once they heard each other’s business ideas while drunk. With Randolph’s wittiness and Mortimer’s international contacts, the two thought it would be funny to start an international gossip news publication. In fear of repercussions from spreading rumors and lies, the two decided to spread the rumors by word of mouth and listen to people’s comments around town.
It wasn’t long before Mortimer’s European contact, Louis D.A. Winthrop, started informing him of new trends developing overseas. Randolph thought it would be a good idea to develop the trends in the U.S. now have an inside edge in the diversity market. The two became addicted to seeking out the diverse types of fashion, food, culture and technology developing across the country and overseas. While one of their close friends, William Ray Valentine, sought out after new trends arising across the states they also formed a group of contacts overseas to watch for foreign trends. As time went on, the term “Wefux Wittit” became increasingly popular throughout the nation.
Death of the Phrase
On January 17, 1920, the United States government started prohibition and bootlegging spirits was at an all-time high. Wefux’s passion for distilling made him and Wittit a lot of money during the early phase of the alcohol ban. They were notorious for distilling spirits around the Philadelphia area and transporting it to areas around New Jersey and Chicago. As time progressed the meaning of the phrase “Wefux Wittit” soon transformed into a lingo indicating that someone was bootlegging alcohol. Eventually, Prohibition task force teams caught wind of the phrase and started arresting those who used the term on site. The term that made these two men underground famous was eventually traced back to them and a warrant went out for their arrest. Randolph & Mortimer quickly went into hiding and the phrase “Wefux Wittit” eventually died out.
No one really knows was happened to Randolph and Mortimer. Rumor has it they moved to the New York and settled around the Queens area. To this day, very few people know the history of the Wefux Wittit hype.