"Thanks! I Needed That!"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 24 10:34:28 UTC 2011

Near the end of _Always Leave Them Laughing_ (1949), evil Virginia Mayo
flings a glass of wine into redeemed Milton Berle's face.

Berle deadpans, "Thanks. I needed that drink." Blackout.


On Sat, Feb 19, 2011 at 9:52 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: "Thanks! I Needed That!"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> One more data point on this dead (or at least moribund) thread.  Just
> viewed "The Quiet Man", a 1952 John Ford movie starring John Wayne
> set in rural Ireland.  There's an extended fistfight at the end
> (played mostly for laughs) between Wayne's character (a "Yank" from
> Pittsburgh who had re-emigrated to the village in Ireland where he
> was born after he had accidentally killed another man in a
> prizefight) and the brother of the local lass (Maureen O'Hara) he has
> wooed and wed.  At two points during the fight someone throws water
> in Wayne's face to revive him--a kind of face slap--and each time he
> says "Thanks" and pauses.  I kept waiting for him to continue "I
> needed that", but each time he doesn't say it out loud.
> LH
> At 2:54 AM -0400 8/25/10, Victor Steinbok wrote:
> >  Posted two links earlier with some comments. I want to update this a
> bit.
> >
> >>Street&Smith's Astounding Science-fiction, [Vol. 21, Issue 4, 1945]
> >>contains the line--
> >>
> >>http://bit.ly/9yotCl
> >>
> >>"The hull plates are of magnesium-beryl------ Thanks, Josh. I
> >>needed that, I guess. I'll try my best to stop being silly."
> >>(allegedly, p. 14--not verified on paper ...)
> >
> >A bit more digging revealed that the tag is screwed up, but not in the
> >worst possible way. In fact, the scanned volume includes only parts of
> >Volume 21 and 22 from 1938, and nothing from 1945. The expression is
> >clearly sarcastic--"Thanks for the useless technical information." Other
> >hits that refer to drinks--stiff or otherwise (cold water, coffee) are
> >not. They really express the speaker's gratitude for the drink (or any
> >other comforts that are offered).
> >
> >>http://bit.ly/9Vm06M
> >>Munsie Magazine. Volume 92. 1927 [p. 430]
> >>"Thanks--I needed that!" Lorne chuckled--and perhaps William did sigh
> >>lightly, perhaps it did seem to him that that wallet would have been
> >>small enough recompense for what he had suffered.
> >
> >In this case, the intent is not entirely clear to me. There is some
> >sarcasm in the expression, but it's because the person making the remark
> >(Lorne) has just extorted a wallet from the other person (William).
> >AFAIK all the other expressions I found on GB around these dates (and
> >everything prior to 1950, actually) is just straight use of the phrase
> >(thanks for a drink, thanks for a blanket, thanks for waking up, etc.).
> >
> >Now, the reason *I* remember the line has little to do with Mennen
> >commercials--I don't recall the slapstick being run by 1981 when I was
> >first exposed to Mennen spots. My recollection is that it was in Animal
> >House--a sentiment expressed by John Belushi in response to a bottle of
> >booze being tossed to him. The quote being memorable enough, I
> >dispatched to the IMDB. Sure enough, the search for "memorable quotes"
> >reveals 5 hits, including Animal House and remake of Sabrina (only one
> >of the other three--Dark Angel TV series--has the requisite line):
> >http://imdb.to/9ZWVgK
> >>
> >>Linus Larrabee: [David is indisposed so Linus meets up with Sabrina
> >>instead and romances her] Oh, I almost forgot. [he kisses her]
> >>Linus Larrabee: The rest of the message from David.
> >>Linus Larrabee: [Sabrina slaps him] Thanks, I needed that.
> >
> >And the other:
> >>
> >>Bluto: [after chugging a whole bottle of Jack without a pause for air]
> >>Thanks. I needed that. [chucks the bottle behind him, which shatters
> >>on the hood of the car behind him]
> >
> >These, of course, are long /after/ the Skin Bracer spots. And the
> >original Sabrina contains nothing of the kind.
> >
> >Also of note is the fact that one blogger pointed out that "Thanks. I
> >needed that." was a signature John Wayne line.
> >
> >http://bit.ly/bo33D5
> >>And, of course, no Wayne film could be complete without a "Thanks, I
> >>needed that."
> >
> >He gives no examples. And IMDB has none as well.
> >
> >Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson pulled the stunt on at least one occasion.
> >There is no date, but McMahon wrote in his autobiography that "it was in
> >a time when there was a commercial for shaving lotion in which a
> >gorgeous blonde gave a man a bracing slap on the face and he said,
> >'Thanks! I needed that!' " (http://bit.ly/bcUwQ7) McMahon might have
> >been mistaken--the original slap (the John Goodman commercial) has the
> >man slap himself with the after-shave. There is a later version in the
> >boxing ring with the same result. (I posted links to YouTube versions of
> >both earlier.) There might have been one with a blonde as well, but it
> >does not appear to be available, if it existed. But also note that
> >McMahon distinctly used the word "bracing" in describing the slap.
> >
> >One more thing on the Skin Bracer ad campaign. It appears to have won
> >the Clio prize in 1975:
> >
> >http://bit.ly/9yB0FF
> >>"Thanks, I needed that."
> >>- Harry Webber, co-creator
> >>
> >>"Thanks, I Needed That" campaign
> >>Mennen
> >>
> >>From the classic film line from Robert Stack in "The High and the
> >>Mighty" to John Belushi in Animal House to countless skits on Saturday
> >>Night Live, the phrase "Thanks, I Needed That" has worked its way into
> >>the American lexicon. The high point of the campaign was waiting at
> >>ringside for the victor of the Ali-Frazier flight with a check for $1
> >>million from Mennen Skin Bracer for the winner to slap himself silly.
> >>
> >>agency: Case & Krone creative director Helmut Krone, Gene Case
> >>copywriter: Gene Case
> >>art director: Helmut Krone, Harry Webber
> >>award: Clio 1975
> >
> >Still more on the ad campaign.
> >
> >http://bit.ly/9cWkef
> >From Family Weekly supplement (p. 23) to the Anchorage Daily News for
> >Sunday, April 16, 1972 (and other newspapers).
> >>When does a vicious punch in the gut or a fast slap in the face /not/
> >>hurt? When it's Teri McComas who's taking it--or teaching it. At 21,
> >>Teri is a pretty, vivacious girl who enjoys falling headfirst from
> >>30-foot buildings, being thrown from galloping horses and receiving
> >>powerful slaps across her freckled face. She's no masochist, she's a
> >>Hollywood stunt girl. She learned her trade from veteran stunt men and
> >>she's an expert. Recently she was hired to teach some tricks of her
> >>trade to actors who slap and get slapped in the "Thanks, I needed
> >>that" TV commercials for shaving lotion. Teri teaches timing and the
> >>angle of slaps, which won't rattle teeth but are nevertheless
> >>convincing on camera. Slapping lessons, anyone?
> >
> >This should put to rest the question of whether the slap was a central
> >fwature of the campaign or not.
> >
> >VS-)
> >
> >
> >On 8/25/2010 12:26 AM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
> >>    On 8/24/2010 10:18 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >>>To Victor: if it was idiomatic by 1953, I think we'd have seen a precise
> ex.
> >>>("Thanks! Ineeded that!") long before ca1970.  Though they come close,
> >>>neither Gann nor Uris use the cliche phrase.
> >>--
> >>
> >>One can find the precise phrase much earlier, but I think the expected
> >>usual context would include a stiff drink rather than a slap.
> >>
> >>Possibly I haven't paid close enough attention to the thread, but has it
> >>been considered that the slap may not have been conceived as the central
> >>feature, or that the commercial may not have been intended to invoke the
> >>stereotypical hysteria-countering slap?
> >>
> >>The word "bracer" at the time of the ad would have had the primary
> >>meaning "[stimulating/fortifying] drink [of hard liquor]", I think.
> >>Sudden vigorous application of skin tonic would call for a slap
> >>(although it's a different slap from that used to get the attention of a
> >>raving hysteric), and it may be that this was intended to parallel the
> >>sudden vigorous application of an internal tonic, i.e., knocking back a
> >>slug of (say) whiskey or brandy.
> >>
> >>It's not so much "calm down" as "wake up", maybe.
> >>
> >>Just a casual thought.
> >>
> >>-- Doug Wilson
> >
> >------------------------------------------------------------
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> ------------------------------------------------------------
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