William O. McGeehan's phrases

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Mon Feb 14 07:06:54 UTC 2000


     "Fighting Irish" was not in the New York Herald in 1923, and NYU doesn't
have the New York Herald-Tribune.  I'll look at that tomorrow.  Notre Dame's
football team was "the Knute Rockne elevens" (4 October 1923), "the Hoosiers"
(11 October 1923), and "the boys from Indiana" (15 October 1923).
     This is from the NEW YORK TIMES, 30 November 1933, "W. O. McGEEHAN DIES
IN THE SOUTH AT 54," pg. 33, col. 1:

     _Coiner of New Phrases._
     As a commentator in the domain of sports, William O. McGeehan tempered
authoritative opinion with irony, but he never resorted to the slang
caricature which less conspicuous sports writers found to their liking a few
years ago.
     He was fond of coining expressions, some of which, notably "the
cauliflower industry" and "the manly art of modified murder," have remained
in the American lexicon of sport lingo.

     From NEWSWEEK, 9 December 1933, pg. 18, col. 3:

_BILL McGEEHAN: Famous Sport_
_Writer Goes "Down the Line"_
     The world is to have no more "McGeehanisms."
     In the sport vernacular of the day, boxing is the Cauliflower Industry
ot the Manly Art of Modified Murder; baseball is the Ivory Industry;
wrestlers are pachyderms; the Madison Square Garden Bowl in Queens, N.Y. is
the Ex-Millionaires' Hole, and Primo Carnera is the Tower of Gorgonzola.
     The coiner of these phrases, William O'Connell McGeehan, who for years
delighted readers of The New York Herald Tribune with his cryptical column
"Down the Line," died last week of a heart ailment at the age of 54 in
Brunswick, Ga.  Two months ago Ring Lardner, also a famous sports debunker,
met a similar fate.
     (...)  His hobbies were hunting, fishing, and attending performances of
the Irish Players whenever they came to town.


13 October 1923, NEW YORK HERALD, "Thinks 'Johnny Harvard' Is Much Too Wet a
Song," pg. 2, col. 3--Delcivere King, well known social worker and graduate
of Harvard with the class of 1895, in a letter to the Harvard Glee Club today
made protest against "Johnny Harvard," which was sung by the university
double quartet at the Harvard-Oxford debate in Symphony Hall last Monday
evening.  Mr. King, who is a member of the American Bar Association, takes
exception to the song as one which glorifies drinking and the joys to be
derived from a cup of wine.  The song Mr. King calls "the most drinking of
drinking songs," and "comes pretty near to scoffing at the prohibition law."
(SCOFFING at the LAW.  This should be added to my "scofflaw" materials from
January 1924--ed.)

14 October 1923, NEW YORK HERALD, "The Infinite Variety by Walter J.
Kingsley," section 7, pg. 2, col. 8--The bandsmen in vaudeville are seeking a
definition of "blues."  They have syncopation and jazz defined, but "blues"
defies precise analysis.  Joe Feier, who quit playing for society to lead his
orchestra in the music halls, says that "Yellow" Nunez, who brought jazz to
Chicago and New Orleans and later to New York, gave the best definition of
"blues" in a suit before Judge Carpenter of Chicago over the rights to a
number.  The court, hearing Nunez use the word "blues," asked the witness to
define it.  "Judge, blues is blues--a little off key, but harmony against the
rules."  The court held that "blues" could not be copyrighted, inasmuch as
they could not be defined and orchestrated.  ("Yellow" Nunez is mentioned in
the book LOST CHORDS--ed.)

October 1958, PLAYBOY, pg. 9, col. 2--..._Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Shixih
Melody_ and others.  (Cassell DOS has
shicksa/chickster/shakester/shickse/shickster/shikster, but not shixih--ed.)

17 October 1923, NEW YORK HERALD, "Columbia to 'Whoop It Up' To-night," pg.
17, col. 5--The recently organized "jayvee" aggregation--more or less an
incubator for prospective varsity talent--has been offering good opposition
to the varsity ever since its organization.  (I didn't find JV in OED.  Gotta
credit Columbia with words--ed.)

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