Antedating of "peachy-keen"

Hugo hugovk at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 11 19:28:17 UTC 2013

"peachy-keen" (OED: 1951)

Los Angeles DJ Jim Hawthorne popularised it in 1948 and may have invented it.


Here's a couple of antedatings from *Time Magazine* in 1948.

First from Monday, May 10, 1948:

Radio: Peachy-Keen

Jim Hawthorne, a young Pasadena disc jockey, used to be bored with his job ($85 a week). Sometimes he would sign off with a sneer: "This is KXLA, the 10,000-watt jukebox." But he is bored with his job no longer.

One night, without notifying his bosses, Hawthorne suddenly turned his show into a carefree, wit-loose "Hellzapoppin on the air." Next day, before the station had time to fire him, the place was snowed under with fan mail. By last week, the scattyboo platter session was being broadcast over five Southern California stations ("the net-to-net coastwork of the Oh-So-Peachy-Keen Broadcasting Company").Both ABC and Mutual were dickering for national network rights. Hawthorne's salary is now $450 a week. The Hawthorne formula is a well- stirred ragout of one part Henry Morgan, three parts Arthur Godfrey and a dash of Colonel Stoopnagle;  it is a blend of the outrageously unexpected and the shaggy dog joke. In the middle of a recording, voice may suddenly announce: "I've got cole slaw in all my pockets  I'm cold." Sometimes Hawthorne heckles his lovesick records. "What are you in the mood for, honey?" he will ask during the opening bars of a song. "I'm in the mood for love," the re!
 cord croons back.

Whatever adults — and sponsors — may think of such carryings-on, Hawthorne and his peculiar banana-split lingo have become the rage of Southern California's younger set. Most popular root word is "hogan" (example: "I was driving my carahogan in from Pasadena-hogan so I could get a hoganburger"). The young folks also overwork Hawthorne's favorite adjectives: keen, peachy-keen, and oh-so- peachy-keen.


Next from [Monday, Oct. 11, 1948:

Music: Gumbo

The piece begins with a wolf call, and ends with all the instruments thrown into a corner. It is scored for ukulele, kazoo, hogan-twanger (wooden box and hacksaw blades), cardboard box, seal barks and an Indian elephant bell. It has words like this:

The boy I mean was oh-so peachy-keen,

A real gone guy from Goneville.

He was scattyboo and oogledy-too,

And he lived in Pasahogan.

The title of the piece spells Nature's Boy backwards. By last week Serutan Yob had sold 350,000 records, and Capitol was threatening to make at least a million.


Here's the song on YouTube and lyrics in full:


Wikipedia says:

A parody named "Serutan Yob" was recorded by The Unnatural Seven, an offshoot of Red Ingle and his Natural Seven that did not include Ingle due to the 1948 AFM recording ban. The record featured vocals from Karen Tedder and Los Angeles DJ Jim Hawthorne. It was released by Capitol Records as catalog number 15210. The record first reached the Billboard magazine charts on 1 October 1948 and lasted 4 weeks on the chart, peaking at No. 24.


There's that DJ's name again, Jim Hawthorne, who delivered the *peachy-keen* lines quoted above. The book *Echo and Reverb: Fabricating Space in Popular Music Recording, 1900-1960* says it was released in August 1948 and can be found in the 11 September 1948 Billboard Magazine.


There's a little bit more by Elyse Bruce in "Everything’s Just Peachy" on the Historically Speaking blog:




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