"Let's be careful out there"; "Chu Chee" Tofu

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Wed Dec 15 04:34:52 UTC 2004

Barry writes:
Google Answers was asked about "stay safe out there" and responded with
"let's be careful out there," a catchphrase of HILL STREET BLUES.

As I remember the show, Michael Conrad's sergeant character always ended the
morning briefing, as the officers were getting up from their chairs, with
"And remember..." -- and they would always pause and turn to look back at
him -- "... be CAREFUL out there!" No "let's".

(But Google's hits for '"Hill Street blues" "careful out there"', at least
the first 20 or so of "about 2,350", are all against me on that. So much for

In reality, you would think that hearing this every morning, they would grow
to ignore it and just continue on their way out to their coffee and their
patrols. But dramatically it was wonderfully effective.

And my wife Rene, who has a much better sense of how people work than I do
most of the time, comments: "No, no! Working in a dangerous profession as
they are, they HAVE to hear it. It becomes a superstition, like a talisman.
The phrase is not just a catchphrase but a benediction. If you don't hear
it, you're in danger. And that's why, when he passed away while the show was
still in production, they used it on the show, and it worked. As I remember
it -- and it's been over 20 years, or closer to 30 -- the character who took
over the morning briefings said it at the end of his first briefing, and
everybody [on the show -- maybe in the audience, too] was relieved.

-- Mark
[This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

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