[Ads-l] Captain Obvious

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 8 07:21:08 EDT 2021


Some may remember the short-lived NBC superhero comedy "Captain Nice," from
1967.

JL

On Wed, Jul 7, 2021 at 7:29 AM ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
wrote:

> I agree that "oblivious" is a variant worth exploring. I found some
> instances of "Captain Oblivious", but they were fairly recent. So
> looked for "Captain Idiot" and found this:
>
> Date: November 21, 1957
> Newspaper: The Berkshire Eagle
> Newspaper Location: Pittsfield, Massachusetts
> Article: The Lively Arts
> Author: Milton R. Bass
> Quote Page 10, Column 1
> Database: Newspapers.com
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> There was a time when radio and television were loaded with series
> about space cadets and Captain Idiots and wars of the worlds, but
> someone suddenly dropped the space curtain and the shows whirled off
> into another galaxy.
> [End excerpt]
>
> Garson
>
> On Wed, Jul 7, 2021 at 6:55 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:
> >
> > And who can forget the play in 1848, A Man Without a Head, Mr Oblivious
> Top played by Mr. Crompton with Mrs Oblivious Top by Mrs Leigh Murray.
> >
> https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Economist/aEhUAAAAcAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq=oblivious
> > [
> https://books.google.com/books/content?id=aEhUAAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=1&edge=curl&imgtk=AFLRE72gJew30ZtGcXM45nJc70hVpD6p5KCZ5cur07q49_4lvCb86Yf2wy8cdIFhvZGqQ_T598XUrtVrMYNUnRxexSmwQi0colAU1VjcZeWThBc-XFcUzeTEwuylSlDZ4beAWRMoEEqM
> ]<
> https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Economist/aEhUAAAAcAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq=oblivious
> >
> > The Economist<
> https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Economist/aEhUAAAAcAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq=oblivious
> >
> > /
> > www.google.com
> > Mr. SG
> > ________________________________
> > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> > Sent: Wednesday, July 7, 2021 6:37 AM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Subject: Re: Captain Obvious
> >
> > Nowadays, I think most people would view Captain Obvious as a parodic
> > superhero name. I do not know if the 1929 usage would have a superhero
> > connotation. Superheroes were popularized in the 1930s. Captain Marvel
> > was created in 1939. Captain America Comics #1 had a cover date of
> > March 1941. (So sayeth Wikipedia.)
> >
> > On the other hand, the Oxford English Dictionary has citations dated
> > 1899, 1917, and 1924 for superhero. So maybe there was a superhero
> > connotation even in 1929.
> >
> > I broadened the search to look for a different name constructed from
> > "obvious": "Mr. Obvious" ("Messrs. Obvious"). Here are citations dated
> > 1893 and 1915.
> >
> > Year: June 1893
> > Title: Folk-Lore: A Quarterly Review of Myth, Tradition, Institution, &
> Custom
> > Volume 4, Number 2
> > Article: English Folk Drama II
> > Start Page 149, Quote Page 172
> > Note: Paper read before the Folk-lore Society, February 15th, 1893
> > Publisher: David Nutt, London
> > Database: Internet Archive
> >
> >
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://archive.org/details/folklore05britgoog/page/n176/mode/1up__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbakKUcKf$
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > If I were asked to define the greatest danger which besets folk-lore,
> > I should say it was the obvious. It was the obvious which caused the
> > significance of children's games to be so long overlooked. It was the
> > obvious which dismissed the Staffordshire Guisers' play as all St.
> > George and the Dragon. It was the obvious which classified all the
> > mumming-plays and the Easter plays as "versions of some dramatic piece
> > written in commemoration of the Holy Wars". And I suppose Mr. Obvious,
> > if he is here—or perhaps I should say the Messrs. Obvious—will have no
> > patience with me because I hint that in the Easter play and this
> > Plough-Monday play we have an episode which continues the tradition of
> > the Summer and Winter champions.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Date: 1915
> > Title: Samuel Henry Jeyes: A Sketch of His Personality and Work by
> > Sidney Low, With a Selection From His Fugitive Writings
> > Editor: W. P. Ker
> > Quote Page 83,
> > Publisher: Duckworth & Company, London.
> > Database: HathiTrust Full View
> >
> >
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc1.$b160843?urlappend=*3Bseq=101__;JQ!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbesH2kFV$
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > It is astonishing that so shrewd and practical a man, gifted also with
> > a sense of humour, should impose on himself with phrases culled from a
> > select dialogue between Mr. Obvious and Mr. Bounceable.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Garson
> >
> > On Tue, Jul 6, 2021 at 12:59 PM Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > Jon's link doesn't work for me, but I see the article online at
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-origin-of-the-expression-**BCaptain-Obvious**B__;4oCc4oCd!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbSOxCnO7$
> .  One of the Quora posters found an example that is earlier than I would
> have guessed, from the periodical Chemical Warfare, vol. 12, no. 8, p. 8
> (Aug. 15, 1926),
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://books.google.com/books?id=UYIkAQAAMAAJ&pg=RA7-PA8&dq=*22captain*obvious*22&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjqxYnM887xAhVKGVkFHSheBZ0Q6AEwAHoECAwQAg*v=onepage&q=*22captain*20obvious*22&f=false__;JSslIyUlJQ!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbc4_aDAs$
> .  This is a photograph of the 302nd Gas Regiment's officers, with each
> officer listed by name and nickname.  The nickname for Captain Firebaugh is
> Captain Obvious; the other captains' nicknames are Captain Snores, Captain
> Insignia, Captain Tentpine, Captain Half Pint, Captain Big Trees, Old
> Campaigner, Captain Littlebit, and Captain Undertaker.
> > >
> > > There is quite a gap between this example and the frequent
> contemporary use of the term, which seems to start showing up in the 1990s,
> so there is a good chance that the later use is an independent coinage.
> > >
> > >
> > > John Baker
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> On Behalf Of
> Laurence Horn
> > > Sent: Tuesday, July 6, 2021 12:03 PM
> > > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > > Subject: Re: Captain Obvious
> > >
> > > External Email - Think Before You Click
> > >
> > >
> > > And currently popularized in the hotels.com commercials by the
> (appropriately uniformed) Captain Obvious played by Brendan Moynihan, e.g.
> > >
> > >
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQyOttaZIhM__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbdbkuQLu$
> <
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQyOttaZIhM__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbdbkuQLu$
> >
> > >
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJLBPAbjFUQ__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbUCQdHJ4$
> <
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJLBPAbjFUQ__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbUCQdHJ4$
> >
> > >
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhcH0c469F8__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbQG1audR$
> <
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhcH0c469F8__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbQG1audR$
> >
> > >
> > >
> > > If he looks familiar, it may be because Moynihan had previously
> appeared in commercials for Stove Top stuffing before he acquired his
> commission (and beard):
> > >
> > >
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvHMg2-1btw__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbRhlQTUC$
> <
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvHMg2-1btw__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbRhlQTUC$
> >
> > >
> > > LH
> > >
> > >
> > > > On Jul 6, 2021, at 11:43 AM, Jonathan Lighter <
> wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM<mailto:wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Discussed:
> > > >
> > > >
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-origin-of-the-expression-*22Captain-Obvious__;JQ!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbWw8MpmH$
> <
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-origin-of-the-expression-**BCaptain-Obvious__;4oCc!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbXQk8Cl-$
> >D
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > JL
> > > > --
> > > > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> truth."
> > > >
> > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > The American Dialect Society -
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbfFj5oEs$
> <
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbfFj5oEs$
> >
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society -
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbfFj5oEs$
> <
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbfFj5oEs$
> >
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society -
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbfFj5oEs$
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society -
> https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!7gV5-oxl4ztqDOqElfEMY_0HAXimYVC4HRcDLU5fhtodPZN61pi461xTbfFj5oEs$
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>


-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

------------------------------------------------------------
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