1961 article on teen slang

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Fri Sep 14 17:25:09 UTC 2007

On Sep 14, 2007, at 9:22 AM, Ben Zimmer wrote:

> "Grody" and "murgatroid" are interesting additions to the list of
> synonyms for "square, n." I've only seen "grody" as an adjective
> (OED/HDAS 1965), and then with more of a "gross" than "square" sense.
> "Murgatroid/Murgatroyd" I suppose is just a funny-sounding name like
> "Poindexter". Cassell's Dictionary of Catchphrases notes that Bing
> Crosby says "Very good, Murgatroyd" to Bob Hope in Road to Bali
> (1952), long predating Snagglepuss of "Heavens to Murgatroyd" fame.

Snagglepuss first appeared in 1959; when was "Heavens to Murgatroyd/
Murgatroid!" first uttered?

i suppose the question is whether "Murgatroyd" had any currency as a
characteristically silly name before Snagglepuss made it famous.

oh, and i wonder if anyone has looked at the slang in The Many Lives
of Dobie Gillis (1959-63), to see if it's at all like the stuff on
Unger's list.  (remembering, of course, that such shows both
represent and create slang.)


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