TV words

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Dec 14 02:48:30 UTC 2006

HDAS has a "meathead" from 1928.

  The lizard is spelled "gecko."  The guy in  _Wall Street_ ("Greed is good") was "Gordon Gekko."

  Though most commonly the "Thud," the F-105 received other uncomplimentary nicknames including "Lead Sled" and "Ultra-Hog."

"James A. Landau" <JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "James A. Landau"
Subject: Re: TV words

The narrator's introduction to the Superman TV show ("Up in the sky---it's a bird, it's a plane etc") has ingrained itself in the American pysche, judging by how often it is quoted or parodied. But has anyone noticed that it popularized a rather uncommon word, namely "mild-mannered"?

A two-word phrase that has become an attributive adjective: "Space Cadet" (from the title of the show "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet"). However, this phrase originated in a bood, "Space Cadet" by Robert A. Heinlein, which I seem to recall was published in 1948 and was the inspiration for the TV show.

Note to whoever started the discussion about "-zilla": "Godzilla" was originally a movie, not a TV show.

I had a boss who, whenever I came up with an unworkable idea, would say "Earth calling Jim".

Another word from "Howdy Doody" was the name "Thunderthud", which during Vietnam was applied to the Republic F-105, which was officially nicknamed something like "Thunderchief" (all Republic fighters had names starting with "Thunder") but which was universally known as the "Thud". Which in my mind is mixed up with the phrase "thud and blunder".

Another noun phrase, from "Captain Midnight" (a show that for some reason was broadcast in some areas as "Jet Jackson") "secret decoder ring". I saw this one in a book recently.

A noun phrase that I first encountered on either "Jeopardy" or "Wheel of Fortune" (both use it, Wheel of Fortune much more often): "before-and-after", meaning a portmanteau of words, or more often names, such as "sleeping beauty contest" or "Norman Rockwell Kent".

Those GEICO ads have certainly introduced the previously-obscure "gekko" into public consciousness.

"yadda" from Seinfeld, of course.

Did "meathead" and a couple of other terms of abuse originate on the Archie Bunker show, or where they already around?

- Jim Landau

"White people have no souls" - Baron Munchsausen

Netscape. Just the Net You Need.

The American Dialect Society -

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam?  Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list