"Thanks! I Needed That!"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 22 13:13:15 UTC 2010

People must have been saying the words, "Thanks, I needed that,"
occasionally long before the invention of motion pictures - or of printing,
if translation counts.

The  proverbial or allusive nature of the phrase relates solely to the
context of having been slapped back to one's senses. That makes it
implausibly melodramatic: if somebody tried slapping me while I was going
crazy, I'd bang them on the head. If I wasn't going crazy, I'd bang even

Now if it was John Wayne, and he was the star of the movie, I might think
twice.  But I sure wouldn't say, "Thanks!  I needed that!"  Would anybody?

Evidence trumps all, but I cannot imagine that so absurd a cliche' would
have been put to serious use in a "major motion picture" in 1954 or at any
other time.  It may have appeared earlier, however, in Ernest K. Gann's 1953
novel, on which he based the screenplay.

More people have seen the movie than read the book.


On Sun, Aug 22, 2010 at 1:55 AM, Garson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Garson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "Thanks! I Needed That!"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Garson O'Toole wrote
> >> There is a discussion of cartoons on the Straightdope bulletin board
> >> that mentions a scenario with a slap followed by thanks.  ...
> Ben Zimmer wrote:
> > That sounds like "Lumber Jerks" (1955):
> >
> > http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0048320/
> >
> > But there's no slapping and no thanks in that scene -- starting about 5
> minutes
> > in:
> >
> > http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5992488629105062971
> Yes, the description provided at the Straightdope bulletin board
> appears to be inaccurate. The cartoon scene does not fit the pattern
> that interests Jonathan. Many thanks, Ben, for tracing this cartoon
> and discovering the discrepancy.
> Garson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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