Goopher Feathers & a Big Bang (1949)

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Sep 23 14:00:17 UTC 2001

>    The RHHDAS has no entry.
>    "Horsefeathers" is in the RHHDAS from 1927, coined by T. A. Dorgan.
>    From the NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 2 August 1949, pg. 12, col. 2:
>_George Moran,_
>_Of "Two Black_
>_Crows", Is Dead_
>_Dies at 67 in Charity Ward;_
>    _Late Charles Mack His_
>    _Partner in Blackface Act_
>    _Comedian in 1920s_
>    George Moran, with the late Charles E. Mack, was one of the men who
> set the American cultural pattern of the 1920s.  Founded on sure-fire
> gags, delivered with a dead-pan drawl and expert timing, their black-face
> routine brought them to the top in vaudeville and musical comedy; sold
> 7,000,000 phonograph records in homes across the country and blossomed
> briefly on radio.
>    In the process, they made "goopher feathers"--defined by Mack as "the
> fuzz offa peaches"--a by-word for nonsense, and launched a string of
> anecdotes that remain as echoes of the '30s.  Many, like the "goopher
> feathers"--were derived from an experiment in farming that was an
> inexhaustible subject of Moran and Mack routines.
>(I'll check them out when the Performing Arts Library re-opens, around
>October 15--ed.) ....

"Goopher"/"goofer" means "magic"/"hex", although the spelling with "ph" may
be designed to be reminiscent of "gopher". "Goopher dust" = "magical dust"
(probably from a graveyard). Presumably "goopher feathers" originally would
have meant feathers used for some type of gris-gris or magical object?

-- Doug Wilson

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