Terms Which Have Disappeared

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by KILO NOVEMBER, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    I have never heard this term before! I'm familiar with the dishes of course, but did not know there was a term for it.
     
  2. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    "A piece of cake" usually means essentially the same as "a walk in the park": a pleasant and/or easily performed task.

    But I've also heard it used in reference to a comely woman, as in "who's the piece of cake?"
     
  3. Snortman45

    Snortman45 Familiar Face

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    I heard my mother in law use the term "shadetree mechanic" last week. Apparently a term that used to be used a lot, but not so much anymore.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk
     
  4. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    ^^^^^^
    Common in my early years. But that was when cars were much less complicated and when it was much more common for motorists to perform their own automobile maintenance and repairs.
     
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  5. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    From "The Mask":

    Stanley Ipkiss: I'm here for the Civic.

    Irv: The brake drums are shot and you need a new transmission.

    Stanley Ipkiss: What? All I wanted was an oil change!

    Burt: Well, you're lucky we caught these problems now before they cause you some serious trouble.

    Stanley Ipkiss: There are no prices!

    Burt: There will be...
     
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  6. Snortman45

    Snortman45 Familiar Face

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    Cool movie!

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  7. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I assume we've covered this one somewhere in our 127 pages, but if not: "Johnny Come Lately" is one I used to hear my parent's generation use, but rarely if ever hear it now. Also, while it means - or I heard it used to describe - someone who buys into an idea or plan after most other people already have, I have no idea of its origins (cue Lizzie).
     
  8. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    "Johnny" was simply a common name for the common man in 19th century slang, sort of the equivalent of "Joe Blow" or "Joe Doakes" in the Era. If some generic man was being referred to, he was "Johnny." Hence "Stage Door Johnny" was a man who loitered outside stage doors waiting to put the make on chorus girls, "Johnny On The Spot" was always the first guy on the scene of whatever was going on, and "Johnny Come Lately" was the fellow who jumps on the bandwagon long after it's started rolling.

    A more recent reappearance of the genericized Johnny was a notorious incident in the last decade, when then-Red Sox pitcher Keith Foulke, the target of cheap-seat jeers for his poor performance, dismissed the average Sox fan as "Johnny from Burger King."
     
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  9. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    "Johnny from Burger King" gotta love that. He wasn't going to win the fans over with that one, but he clearly spoke his mind. Holy Cow.

    Nice explanation of the history - thank you.
     
  10. Capesofwrath

    Capesofwrath Practically Family

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    Or Johnny or John Chinaman which was very common in the UK and the US from around the early to mid nineteenth century. From calling Chinese men John it then entered the London vernacular, and right up to very recent times some people used the term John in the same way Mack was used at one time in the US. “ You got a light John?"
     
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  11. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    There was also the old American habit of referring to all railroad porters as "George." This was supposedly derived from George Pullman, founder of the Pullman Company, but it was a habit widely despised by the porters themselves, who took it on the same level as being called "boy." There even existed in the Era an organization called "The Society For The Prevention of Calling Pullman Porters 'George.'"
     
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  12. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Today, first time, I read about "Johnny Appleseed".
     
  13. tonyb

    tonyb I'll Lock Up

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    And then there is the occasional Johnny One-Note.
     
  14. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    "Poor Johnny one-note
    Got in Aida
    Indeed a great chance to be brave
    He took his one note
    Howled like the North Wind
    Brought forth wind that made critics rave,
    While Verdi turned round in his grave!"
    -- Rodgers and Hart, 1937
     
  15. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

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    30s movies.
    I often hear the word “boy” used with regards to either a porter on the train
    or the bellhop at a hotel even though they are older men.
    Regardless of whether they are black or not.

    The short film comedies, “The Little Rascals” & the manner
    the characters were portrayed, to give an example.
    Among the first comedy “talkies”, (Our Gang).
    The sounds of animals or train whistles was considerate very
    funny & probably was a great novelty for the times.

    I have read that Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry,
    better known as "Stephin Fetchit”, had a successful career
    portraying a certain character.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  16. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    A horrible example of the blatant racism of the era - I can't cite the movie, but I believe I'm heard porters referred to as "George" in movies of the era.
     
  17. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    A good friend once told me his grandmother used the phrase "Johnny at the rat hole" in the same context. That was the only time I'd ever heard of that phrase, and have never heard it in use.
     
  18. Haversack

    Haversack One Too Many

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    Referring to a male servant as 'Boy' used to be common in other languages as well as English. In French, 'Garçon'. In German, "Knabe". (The latter is a cognate to the English 'Knave'.) Don't use either word to call a servant today.
     
  19. Haversack

    Haversack One Too Many

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    LizzieMaine wrote: "A cake eater is an effette young man who sits languidly around a woman's parlor eating cake and admiring the crease in his trousers while all the real men are out wrestling bears or something. While it wasn't quite the same thing as calling a man a pansy or a nance, it did have a definite edge of dismissing the target as un-masculine."

    That's rather similar to a term that used to be used among the officer class in the British Army. A "Poodle Faker" was an officer who was thought to be over-attentive to women. Not exactly a ladies' man or gigolo, but someone who enjoyed ladies company socially in preference to games and sport. (Sport meaning hunting, shooting, and fishing.) I think the term gradually fell by the wayside after Indian Independence in 1947.
     
  20. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    It was common in the USA in the Era for a lot of these workers to actually *be* "boys," as in teenagers or even children. Bellboys, messenger boys, office boys, newspaper copy boys, bowling-alley pin boys, and so forth were often minors who'd left school in order to work to support their families, hence the common use of "Boy!" to summon somebody to carry your bags in a hotel. This use of "boy" overlaps with, but does not derive from the same source as the racial use of "boy" which was most common in the Southern states, but did find its way North after the Civil War.
     

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