Welcome to another exciting adventure —
I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s foray into Muscleheaded Metrical Carnality —
— otherwise known:
as my “Ode to Eros“.
you oughta be ashamed of yerself.
Cause I’m positive that post is destined to win a Pewww-litzer Prize.
after reading it,
you may have been saying to yourself….
I wonder why he doesn’t do more posts on the kinda expressions Dear Great Grand Daddy used to use “.
Well, there probably are several really good reasons.
that I DO —
— all the time.
Another one of them,
was the fact that dear ole Great-Grand-Daddy was quite the dirty old man.
(It must run in the family)
I’m proud of the old bird.
there were other cultural predilections and aspects of our past —
that folks tend to look askance upon today that were pretty commonplace back then,
without regard for the historical contexts,
within which they existed.
In other words,
their forms of expression,
without walking a mile in one’s ancestors’ shoes.
it’s impossible to understand them without understanding their era, and the eras that came before them.
And to paraphrase a famous verse:
If any generation was judged on just it’s follies and foibles,
what one of us would have escaped whipping?
I’m the last guy who’d wanna bring up any and all of that mish-mosh,
Thus, some expressions I’ll have to avoid simply because I’ve already had my quota of nasty complaint emails for the month….
You get the idea.
Still, I’m left with a couple very interesting ones,
and, hopefully they shouldn’t excite anybody badly enough to bring about looting, rioting, picketing, and a general cry for ” Off With His Head “.
Cause I need it to know where to find my hat.
So, today ——–
“Oh You Kid” :
I know it sounds silly,
and I can’t really imagine my great grand dad using this expression,
or anybody else for that matter,
….. but back in the 1910’s and 20’s, “Oh You Kid” had all the popularity and cultural pervasiveness as ” Where’s The Beef?” did in the 1970’s.
Media of every kind abounded with this phrase —
—-movies, posters, greeting cards, and music.
Although on the face of it,
it seems a pretty innocuous expression,
it certainly had a naughty connotation at the time….
It could be used to refer to a woman, or to a man —
—- it meant that a person was so sexy as to make another want to do…
… ya know….
…. things —
… TO ,
and UPON –
said person’s person .
Originally a phrase used in the urban taverns where free lunches and watered down beer made for the average working man’s daily noonday break,
…it seems to have developed a cultural life of it’s own, concurrently with the popularity of the early phonograph.
Several scores of music do seem to have contributed to the craze …..
One piece, a spicy number about an illicit love affair, and published in 1906, was called: “Oh You Kid“.
It was originally released on an “Albany Indestructable” Wax Disk,
(and soon after as a Victor Victrola celluloid record),
and was recorded by Ada Jones and Billy Murray.
This was closely followed up by a number of others with the same basic theme,
……including the wildly popular and often re-recorded 1909:
“I Love My Wife, but Oh, You Kid“.
A verse of that one will give you a feel for the idea:
Jonesy’s wife and butcher man,
Each morning would chat,
That butcher too was married but,
She didn’t mind that,
When poor Jonesy left the house
Each morning they would sit and spoon
Tell your tootsie who you love
Then softly he would croon
I love my wife, but ohhhhh, you kid . “
These songs spurred the sale of a line of saucy postcards,
featuring cartoons or photographs,
that further expounded the general principle.
One of the leading artists doing postcards on this theme at the time was Peter Albert Carmichael ,
— a well known illustrator working for the New York World newspaper.
His signature is distinctive and usually easy to spot.
But many artists and postcard publishers got into the act.
Several of the “Oh You Kid” cards
(along with other media, like sheet music)
–not simply for gag effect, but for social commentary or propaganda purposes—
This was the era of the suffragette movement in the U.S.
— the 19th Amendment granting the right to vote for women wouldn’t be passed until 1919 — and it was quite controversial at the time.
A few of the card designs seemed to predict a loss of masculine identity and prerogatives should women’s suffrage become a reality.
Minorities in the United States, like the Irish, Blacks, and Jews, were pejoratively pictured on some cards using the expression,
…. as if to say that such ideas led straight to the gates of social and moral purgatory,
—-these images, and others like them, were, by no means uncommon.
Despite this, the expression itself enjoyed a long period of popularity, dying out sometime before WW II…..
….. only to be revived again, for a short time at least, during the ‘roaring 90’s’ kick of the late 1950’s, and early 1960’s —
— as indicated by movies such as Meredith Willson’s 1962 production of “Music Man”,
and, of course, a plethora of ragtime and roaring 90’s LP’s,
…. like this one by Sammy Spear, who was musical director for “The Jackie Gleason” TV Show.
Quite a good variety of vintage era “Oh You Kid” post cards be still be found at stamp and card shows today,
…..often owned by people who have no earthly idea about the fascinating and convoluted history behind them.