[Ads-l] Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 9 12:35:28 UTC 2020

The phrase "WHAM! BAM! THANK YOU MAM!" appeared July 1941 at the top
of an advertisement for a drugstore that was printed in an Amarillo,
Texas newspaper. The drugstore was, apparently, thanking their
customers for the rapid increase in business; hence, there was a
non-sexual rationale for employing the phrase.

Date: July 2, 1941
Newspaper: The Amarillo Globe-Times
Newspaper Location: Amarillo, Texas
Article: (Advertisement for Post Office Drug Store)
Quote Page 3, Column 1
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
The tremendous increase in our business is making it possible
for us  to give you still better prices.
. . .
[End excerpt]

In September 1941 the statement "bam-bam. Thank you mam, the fight was
over" was employed in the boxing domain.

Date: September 30, 1941
Newspaper: The Nashville Banner
Newspaper Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Article: Sideline Sidelights
Author: Fred Russell
Quote Page 10, Column 1
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
Like a hungry man going after a pork chop, that's how Joe Louis went
after Lou Nova in the sixth round last night.
Joe had tried five skillets and couldn't get the top off. He just
couldn't make an opening. The sixth brought it, though, and bam-bam.
Thank you mam, the fight was over.
One blow did it, a right to the chin and Nova fell like a cow axed by
the butcher.
[End excerpt]

In July 1949 the phrase "Wham, bam,  thank you ma'am" was used during
a discussion of explosive projectiles.

Date: July 1949
Journal: Naval Aviation News
Article: So Long Gooney Birds
Start Page 1, Quote Page 5, Column 1
Database: Google Books Full View


[Begin excerpt]
Cruiser-Battleship catapults were the powder type. What appeared to be
a five inch casing was loaded with about 23 lbs. of powder and rammed
into the breach. Wham, bam,  thank you ma'am.
[End excerpt]

The expression was used as the title of a song that was covered by a
few different performers in 1950 including Dean Martin.

Date: Aug 19, 1950
Periodical: Billboard

[Begin excerpt]
Capitol 1139

Wham! Bam! Thanks You, Ma'am
More informal than Art Money job, Martin and Dixie ork provide thoro
novelty treatment for the bright hunk of material.
[End excerpt]

I also recall that David Bowie included the phrase in the lyrics of
Suffragette City.

YouTube Video
Release Date: April 1972
Song: Suffragette City
Singer/Songwriter: David Bowie
Location: 2:50 of 3:26

[Begin excerpt]
Oooh-how, Sufragette City, oooh-how, Sufragette
Ohhh, wham bam thank you ma'am
[End excerpt]


On Sat, May 9, 2020 at 6:53 AM Stanton McCandlish <smccandlish at gmail.com> wrote:
> There's a longer version of this rhyme that I remember from around 7th
> grade (I'm in my 50s now):
> Wham, bam
> Thank you ma'am
> Hot damn
> Slammin' ham
> It's from the song "Back Door Man" (1975) by Black Oak Arkansas. I did a
> little bit of digging around, and this seems to be unrelated to the Willie
> Dixon song of the same title (first recorded by Howlin' Wolf in 1960, and
> later by The Doors, among others). Dixon's was hardly the first to use term
> "back door man" to refer to a man sleeping with someone else's wife; it's a
> blues motif with a long history (and pre-dates the anal-sex meaning of
> "back door", I think).
> Another variant of the chorus in the BAO song goes:
> Wham, bam
> Thank you ma'am
> Hot damn
> Back door man
> Anyway, I would not be surprised if "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" pre-dates
> BAO's 1975 track, though I think that was probably the vector of its
> introduction into general pop culture.
> --
> Stanton McCandlish
> McCandlish Consulting
> 5400 Foothill Blvd Suite B
> Oakland CA 94601-5516
> +1 415 234 3992
> https://www.linkedin.com/in/SMcCandlish
> On Fri, May 8, 2020 at 5:03 PM Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wham,_bam,_thank_you_ma'am <
> > https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wham,_bam,_thank_you_ma'am>
> > Denoting swift, formulaic, and unromantic sexual intercourse.
> >
> >
> > https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=wham%20bam%20thank%20you%20maam
> > <
> > https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=wham%20bam%20thank%20you%20maam
> > >
> > Mostly the same meaning.
> >
> > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKZnZtqDehY <
> > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKZnZtqDehY>
> > Plan With Me: Project Based Learning
> >
> > A sequence starts at 24:10, in which the YouTuber finds the book she wants
> > at the top of the list on her first try and exclaims, “Bam! Wham, bam,
> > thank you, ma’am!”
> >
> > She seems either unaware of the expression or just lets it roll off as a
> > rhyme while her brain is engaged on something else. The video has 38K views
> > at this point.
> >
> > Benjamin Barrett (he/his/him)
> > Formerly of Seattle, WA
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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