1943 Army Slang Dictionary (Part 1)(LONG!!)

Kathleen Miller millerk at NYTIMES.COM
Tue May 11 14:10:38 UTC 1999

This comes from the Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion by someone named E.O.
Costello. I'm trying to verify it. 


                                    "Catch-phrase of Jerry Colonna. This
originated in a gag involving
                                    the violinist Yehudi Menunin and an
appearence by him on the Bob
                                    Hope radio show, on which Colonna was a
supporting player.
                                    Wertheim describes the origin of the
gag: Colonna, apparently not
                                    knowing who Yehudi was, asked the cast
of the radio show, who
                                    didn’t know either. The search for the
mythical Yehudi became a
                                    running gag and eventually a popular
song. Yehudi references can be
                                    seen in Hollywood Steps Out (Avery,
1941) in which an invisible
                                    figure is sitting next to Colonna and
is identified by Jerry as Yehudi,
                                    and in Farm Frolics (Clampett, 1941) in
which an owl says “Who’s
                                    Yehudi?”. Another reference comes in
Crazy Cruise (Avery/Clampett,
                                    1942), in which an invisible
battleship, the S.S. Yehudi, is seen. There
                                    is also the Club Yahoodi in Lights
Fantastic (Freleng, 1942), which
                                    does not have much of anything.

                                    A fairly recent episode of the PBS
series Nova, I have been informed,
                                    discussed a so-called “Project Yehudi”
from the World War II era
                                    involving camouflage schemes for ships,
which gives the Crazy
                                    Cruise gag an interesting twist."

Kathleen E. Miller

At 09:31 AM 5/11/99 -0400, you wrote:
>At 03:38 AM 5/11/99 -0500, salovesh at niu.edu wrote:
>>YEHUDI--The little man who cracks you on the back of the head with a
>>mallet. [Greg D. asked: pop-cultural allusion????? otherwise, I'm clueless,
>>other than to note that it's a Jewish name]
>>Yep, pop-cultural allusion.  "Who's Yehudi?  The little man who wasn't
>Thanks for the explanations! But with regard to this term I'm still mildly
>clueless.... What's the quote you furnish? A catch phrase? Something from a
>radio show or movie? The punch line of a joke? What's the context for the
>line? Is it a pun on "who" and "Ye*hu*di"??
>Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing at nyu.edu or gd2 at is2.nyu.edu

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