Skip to content

Da Lingo You’ll Cipher from da Pictures

March 15, 2017

2dca010fabf2642f1efa9908245fa7d9.jpegAnd by “pictures” of course I mean old movies. The very title demonstrates my theme. It even may be said to perform it.

Here are some examples of interesting old sayings from interesting old films.

Nothing doing

You’re going home, Timmy!

Nothing doing, Uncle Bob. I ain’t ever going home again.

You’ll find this honker of saying used with abundance and abandon in such classics as

the old noggin


The stooges are good for casting attention to the old dome, the good old nut, melon, gourd, attic, skull, mug, the egg, or noodle….but my favorite is:

There Goes the Groom (1937)

After Burgess Meredith’s character pretends amnesia, even when all the staff at the sanitarium re-enact his favorite game of football, he lies out cold on a hospital bed. A friend leans in and says this to him:

How’s the old sourdough?


And how!


thrown in the hoosegow!

My favorite deployment of this expostulation, the well-to-do criminal’s handy euphemism, comes from Mickey Rooney’s character Andy Hardy from Andy Hardy’s Double Life (1942). He’s talking to his sister Marian about Jeff, who might be able to help Andy transport his car, but who’s about to be sentenced by their dad, the Judge.

Andy: What’s your big grief?

Marian: Well, Jeff thinks Dad’s going to give him 30 days in jail for drunk driving.

Andy: Thirty days in jail! Well how can Jeff drive my car back from New York if he’s stuck in the hoosegow?

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 4.44.12 PM.png

There’s the usual, I oughtta…Say, what’s the big idea? but what about…

Pinned ears?

This is from Shirley Temple’s Rebecca of SunnyBrook Farm from 1938. An angry dad manager of a young performer gets surly with a guy who runs a radio network and makes the following threat:

If it wasn’t for setting a bad example for Florabelle, I’d pin your ears back.

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 5.01.25 PM.png


If at the end of this foray you have little to show for your efforts with old lingo, at the very least you might have the makings of a distracting found poem:


in the hoosegow

I oughtta say what’s the big idea

Nothing doing:

and how!


Well, you get da picture.

From → Archives

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: