I am in no way taking exception to Mr. Fussbudget's information, because Durante is definitely associated with the line.
However, most, if not all, of the the citings seem to be anecdotal in nature, as in "used to say" or "famous for saying."
The line is very heavily attributed to the character Chester Riley from the radio show The Life of Riley
. I am thinking that Durante just picked it up from there and started using it, but am still not 100% sure.
I also saw an attribution to The Three Stooges, but it didn't seem too reliable.
Ah, just before posting this I did one last check. If the following information is accurate, it appears that the this line originated from the brain of none other than Groucho Marx.
"What a revoltin' development this is!"
- The exasperating cry of Chester A. Riley, heard each week on the sitcom THE LIFE OF RILEY/NBC/1949-58. Chester was a softhearted aircraft factory worker living in Los Angeles with his long-suffering wife, Peg (Rosemary DeCamp); his younger son, Junior (Lanny Rees); and his older daughter, Babs (Gloria Winters). The phrase "What a revoltin' development this is!" was first coined by the sharp-witted comedian, Groucho Marx during a phone conversation with the series' creator Irving Brecher in the 1940s. Brecher originally wrote the "Riley" script for a radio program slated to star comedian Groucho Marx. It was to be called THE FLOTSAM FAMILY. However, the attempt at selling the script failed. Upon hearing the bad news Groucho remarked "What a revoltin' development this is!" Brecher's found the phrase very unique and asked if he could use it. Groucho agreed.
Brecher rewrote/repackaged the script under the title THE LIFE OF RILEY and the rest was not so revoltin'. Jackie Gleason was the first to play Chester A. Riley on television (1949-50). Later, William Bendix, who originally starred on the radio version of the series, assumed the role of Riley for the remainder of the series run. Groucho Marx went on to host the spectacularly popular game/audience participation show YOU BET YOUR LIFE/NBC/1950-61. TRIVIA NOTE: Daffy Duck says the phrase just after being suited up in a toreador outfit by the bull in the animated feature Mexican Joyride
Bendix played Riley in a manner that resembled many of his supporting roles in Hollywood films of the 1940s--as a heavy-handed, obstinate, yet ultimately sensitive lummox. Each week, Riley first became flustered, then overwhelmed by seemingly minor problems concerning his job, his family, or his neighbors. These small matters--once Riley became involved--escalated to the verge of disaster. Riley's catch phrase--"What a revoltin' development this is!"--expressed his frustration and became part of the national idiom
http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/L/htm ... friley.htm
Chester A. Riley, the show's main character, was a big lovable, bumbling galoot who could turn the most minor domestic incidents into first rate disasters. "What a revoltin' development dis is," he'd say.
William Bendix really found his nitch by bringing the character Chester A Riley to life Throughout the 1940s and then transitioning to television in the mid 1950s, Bendix and cast kept us laughing with Riley's misadventures and his often said lament, What a revoltin development this is!
~referring to the radio show The Life Of Riley
http://www.old-time.com/polls/nominate/ ... ayBegin=41
http://www.pbs.org/neighborhoods/histor ... 2-Jan.html
Garry Moore with Jimmy Durante on radio (later, Garry Moore’s sidekick on TV was Durward Kirby; Jimmy Durante: "What a revoltin' development this is!" and "a catastrastroke!")
It was [Peter Marshall's] intense zest for God and relish for life that perhaps accelerated a serious heart condition. He suffered his second heart attack only weeks after President Harry Truman's inauguration. When the physician who had rushed to his home informed him he must go immediately to the hospital, Marshall's Scots' humor still sparkled: "I take a dim view of that. What a revoltin' development this is!"
~January 26, 1949
http://www.intouch.org/myintouch/mighty ... 13703.html
Song Title What A Revoltin' Development This Is
Lyricist Johnny Mercer
Composer Johnny Mercer
http://wwwlib.gsu.edu/spcoll/Music/merc ... sp?param=W