bloops and bloopers (radio, film, baseball)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Wed Dec 22 07:53:54 UTC 2004


* blooper (OED2 1926)

Chicago Tribune, Feb 24, 1924, part 2, p. 7, col. 2
With more courtesy on the part of the listener, more intelligence on the
part of the designer, and radical improvements in "one-way" traps, the
last of the "bloopers" will soon be heard.

Chicago Tribune, Jun 22, 1924, part 8, p. 7, col. 1
(heading) Open "Blooper" Drive
The drive against the "bloopers" will start with a series of articles on
various phases of the cause and prevention of radiation.

Chicago Tribune, Jul 20, 1924, part 7, p. 8, col. 2
(heading) Sodion Detector Tube Offers Means to Reform "Blooper"
With the advent of fall and the increase in listening in the "blooper"
will be with us again in all its radiating glory, and it will rest with
the owners of single circuits, audions, and the like as to whether they
will go on disturbing their neighbors or whether they will prefer to take
steps to reform the offending hook-ups.

[Many more 1924 cites in Stephen Gilchrist's weekly Tribune column.
 Cite from Nov. 8, 1924 found by Sam Clements last year:

Indianapolis Star, Dec 23, 1924, p. 8, col. 2
(heading) Converting the "Blooper" Receiver
Were you among those present during the recent trans-Atlantic test? If you
were it was not long after you started tuning until you located a carrier
wave. But it was not carrying any music. It was carrying a song, the song
of the Blooper (single circuit tuner), and went like this:

* bloop, n. (OED2 1931)

Lima (Ohio) News, Mar 8, 1924, p. 21, col. 5
(heading) Meet the "Bloop Hound"
Friend Broa[d]cast Listener, I want to make you acquainted with the "Bloop
Hound" ... He is the chap, who, when you are peacefully enjoying a
program, runs across your wave, madly twirling his dials and just as madly
oscillating his receiver ... I don't know if you call him a "Bloop Hound"
but that is his name, altho you probably call him more highly descriptive
and therefore unprintable names (I know I do).

Lima (Ohio) News, Mar 16, 1924, p. 22, col. 4
Amateur interference was brought up, and it pleased the amateurs very
much to find that they were not bothering to a great extent, and that the
greatest nuisance that the broadcast listener had to contend with was the
"Bloop Hound," this called up the matter of re-radiating and
non-radiating receivers; in this matter the BCL and the Ham agree
perfectly, that all radiating receivers should be junked and that the
"Bloop Hounds" should be tarred and feathered.

Chicago Tribune, Nov 2, 1924, part 8, p. 11, col. 1
WGR and WDAF came in like romping cyclones, but never another whisper,
beyond the birdies and the bloops.

Chicago Tribune, Jan 4, 1925, part 7, p. 10, col. 1
Then, as the new year approached, Old Man Static sailed forth from his
hiding place somewhere in Mexico and proceeded to join the winter imps,
Spark and Bloop, with radio life quite unlovely last Monday night, vicious
on Tuesday, and only fair on Wednesday.

* bloop, v., blooping, vbl. n. (OED2 1926)

Chicago Tribune, Jul 20, 1924, part 7, p. 8, col. 6
12, WSB, Atlanta, very clear; some "blooping."

Chicago Tribune, Oct 26, 1924, part 8, p. 10, col. 1
Silent night is an institution in Chicago. But there is one side to it
that may operate to bring about a demand for its abolition on the part of
the radio audiences -- the prevalence of "blooping" during the
theoretically silent period. ... By 11, blooping fell off amazingly.

Chicago Tribune, Nov 30, 1924, part 8, p. 9, col. 1
Blooping was brought home to the world with tremendous force by the tests,
and that may brove to be a lot of worth before another period of
international broadcasting rolls around. ... From many sources I have been
informed that much of the mushing of signals was due to blooping and
induction interferences.

[I don't believe this sense of "mushing" is in the OED yet.]


* bloop, n. (OED2 1931, some senses below not yet in OED)

Los Angeles Times, Mar 24, 1929, p. III-34, col. 4
Bloops - A voice that has an echoing quality when recorded in talking

New York Times, Oct 13, 1929, p. X8, col. 5
Bloop: The peculiar, dull thud which is emitted from a loud speaker when
an improperly spliced film passes through the pick-up mechanism.

Los Angeles Times, Nov 24, 1929, p. III-13, col. 7
Bloop - Sound made when a badly spliced piece of film registers on the
reproducing apparatus.

New York Times, Mar 27, 1932, p. X4, col. 7
Lenses, motors and a "bloop," or light for fogging the film at the end of
a scene, must be installed.

Los Angeles Times, Dec 15, 1935, p. III-1, col. 2
But some of the nabobs of the films began collecting celluloid records of
the "bloops" of which the screen players were guilty in reciting their
lines, and so most of them now play safe with antics and verbal outbreaks
that have become both unique and amusing.

[So "bloop" was an early version of "blooper" in the sense of "blunder"
(OED2 1947).  Above article also uses "blow-up" with the same sense.]

* bloop, v. intr. (not yet in OED in this sense)

Washington Post, Sep 7, 1937, p. 11, col. 6
When visitors on the set see the camera crew, director, sound men and
actors staring at the camera with an expectant look on their faces, the
studio workers are waiting for the camera to "bloop." And when the camera
"bloops" they start the scene, for that is the signal that camera and
sound recording equipment are in synchronization.


* blooper (OED2 1937)

Los Angeles Times, Jul 17, 1925, p. III-2, col. 6
Babe romped over the plate when Marty Krug hit what he calls a "blooper"
single to center.

Los Angeles Times, Jul 24, 1925, p. 9, col. 3
In the eighth McCabe led off with a "blooper" single to center and was
sacrificed to second by Emmer.

Los Angeles Times, Aug 17, 1925, p. 12, col. 6
McLaughlin hit a "blooper" in short center that looked as if it would fall

Los Angeles Times, Aug 31, 1925, p. 13, col. 2
Makin followed with a blooper that looked as if it would fall along the
right-field line for a hit.

[Slightly later cites found by Barry Popik last year:

* bloop, n. (OED2 1947)

Chicago Tribune, Jul 14, 1935, p. II-2, col. 2
The Braves made their second run in the eighth on a single by H. Lee, an
error by Galan, and Hogan's bloop single.

* bloop, v. (OED2 1970)

Los Angeles Times, Jul 30, 1925, p. III-1, col. 8
Mitchell did not allow the Bengals a hit until the eighth when Tommy
Oliver "blooped" a safety over Pete Kilduff's noble dome for a single.

Los Angeles Times, Jun 21, 1926, p. III-2, col. 5
After Elsh had walked Ernie Johnson blooped one over third for a double.

Chicago Tribune, May 13, 1936, p. 29, col. 8
Herman flied to Ott, after which Klein hit a blooping single into center,
sending Galan to third.

* bloopy (not yet in OED)

Los Angeles Times, May 14, 1926, p. III-4, col. 1
Sacramento got off to a short-lived lead in the third when Ray French,
after being hit on the hip pocket and then stealing second, scored on
Merlin Kopp's very "bloopy" single to center. ... Shellenback opened the
frame with a hit that was as "bloopy" as Kopp's.

Washington Post, Jun 27, 1943, p. R2, col. 4
When Pancho dropped those bloopy little chop shots over the net, Brown
came in and hit them back, only to see Pancho smack them back again where
Brown wasn't.

Washington Post, Jun 17, 1946, p. 1, col. 5
Hutchinson hit a bloopy fly to right on which Lewis failed to break, let
it drop, and then contentedly trotted after it as Bloodworth scored.

--Ben Zimmer

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