odd usages in _Mister Roberts_

Dan Goodman dsgood at IPHOUSE.COM
Tue Jun 1 20:33:15 UTC 2010

Jonathan Lighter wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      odd usages in _Mister Roberts_
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I noticed two very odd usages in the 1955 film _Mister Roberts_, screenplay
> by Frank S. Nugent and Joshua Logan.
> The writers have a Navy officer in 1945 casually referring to 5:50 p.m. as
> "eighteen hundred minus ten" instead of "seventeen fifty."
> And head nurse Lieut. Girard addresses her female staff as "Men!" Of course,
> this may just be a joke.
I've been told that during the Korean War, US female officers were
addressed as "Sir."   And that at some time later, they started being
addressed as "Ma'am."   Addressing female staff as "Men!" might be related.

Are either of these in the original novel?
> Both the movie and the play which preceded it are based on the novel by
> Thomas Heggen (1918-1949).  Unlike Nugent and Logan, Heggen was a navy
> veteran of WWII.
> When the film came out, the NYT described the play as a "cherished work."
> JL
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
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