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Catchphrases

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"I arrest you in the name of the crown" - Bold pronouncement of Sergeant Preston (Richard Simmons) on the police adventure SERGEANT PRESTON OF THE YUKON/CBS/1955-58. The program ended with "Well, King this case is closed." Yukon King was his malamute dog.

"I can't HEAR you!" - The catchphrase of Marine Sergeant Vince Carter (Frank Sutton) on the sitcom GOMER PYLE, U.S.M.C./CBS/1964-69. Whenever Sgt. Carter wanted to make a point with the Marines under his command, he made his Second Platoon, B Company squad members repeat their acknowledgment of his orders by first shouting out "I can't HEAR you!"

"I could just scream!" - Frequent remark of Captain Wallace B. Binghamton (Joe Flynn), a frustrated naval commander on the sitcom MCHALE'S NAVY/ABC/1962-66 Binghampton (a.k.a. "Old Lead Bottom") was at constant odds with the rowdy crew of the PT boat #73 stationed on the South Pacific Island of Taratupa during WWII.

"I cried all the way to the bank" - Saying attributed to Liberace who hosted the musical variety program THE LIBERACE SHOW/NBC/1952/CBS/1969. The phrase originated in response to people criticizing his often elaborate, gaudy performances which featured flashy clothing and an imitation Louis XIV candelabrum that sat atop his Steinway piano as he tinkled on the ivories.

"I don't mess around, boy" - What the irrepressible "little" Ricky Nelson said in certain circumstances on the family sitcom THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET/ABC/1952-66. The catchphrase was coined by Don Nelson, Ozzie's younger brother.

"I don't think so, Tim" - Standard response of Al Borland (Richard Karn) to accident-prone Tim Taylor (Tim Allen), his co-host of the fix-it show "Tool Time" on the sitcom HOME IMPROVEMENT/ABC/1990-99.

"I dood it!" - Popular phrase originally uttered by "The Mean Widdle Kid," a nasty young boy on THE RED SKELTON SHOW/NBC/CBS/1951-71. Earlier in his career Red Skelton had starred in a movie called I Dood It (1943). This phrase took on extra significance when newspaper headlines read: "Doolittle Dood It" referring to the raid on Tokyo by Colonel James H. Doolittle. In 1943 Red Skelton presented a warplane to the Soviet Navy. According to Moscow radio, its name was the Russian equivalent of "We dood it."

"I give this record an...because it has a good beat and its easy to dance to" - Typical response from teenagers who rated songs on the ABC network dance program AMERICAN BANDSTAND/ABC/SYN/USA/1957-89. Dick Clark, the ever youthful host of the program for more than three decades, would play a potential hit for a couple of teenagers selected from the audience and ask them what they thought. They were to numerically rate the song from thirty-five to ninety-eight and then tell why they liked it. AMERICAN BANDSTAND was a local sensation when it began in Philadelphia in 1952 and continued in popularity throughout the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

"I got a B-i-i-i-g Mouth!" - What bus driver Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) said when he realized he had made a fool of himself with his wife or others on the sitcom THE HONEYMOONERS/ CBS/1955-56. Other phrases used by Ralph included "Homina, Homina"; "One of these days...Pow! Zoom! to the Moon!"; "Har-Dee-Har- Har"; and "Baby, your the Greatest!"

"I gotta kill that boy, I just gotta" - Cry of exasperation uttered by Herbert T. Gillis (Frank Faylen), a Central City grocery store owner on the sitcom THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS/CBS/1959-63. The "Boy" in question was his teenage son, Dobie (Dwayne Hickman) who sought to find a girl to "call his own." And in his pursuit of the lovely ladies, Dobie hit up poor dad for money to finance his romantic endeavors. Occasionally, Herbert's wife, Winifred "Winnie" Gillis (Florida Friebus) held him back when he got in that "I gotta kill that boy" frame of mind. Episode No.41 "You Ain't Nothin' But a Houn' Dog" (Oct. 1, 1960) is the last episode that Mr. Gillis says "I've gotta kill that boy!".) On episode No. 95 "Like Low Noon" (Feb. 3, 1962) Mr. Gillis says "I've gotta love that boy. I've just gotta!" after his son, Dobie stands up to an old Army rival.

"I've fallen and I can't get up!" - The pathetic cry for help by an elderly woman named Mrs. Fletcher who appeared in a recurring TV commercial that advertised "LifeCall," a 24-hour medical alert emergency response system. In the commercial, an elderly grey-haired lady had fallen off her walker in her bathroom. Clutching her "Life Call" monitor hanging from her neck, she called for assistance via the remote walky-talky device. The commercial was designed to alert geriatric TV viewers of the dangers of living alone. When the Gulf Crisis in 1991 was resolved, Saddam Hussein allegedly said the very same phrase. And when Jay Leno, late night host of NBC's THE TONIGHT SHOW had a motorcycle accident on 9/14/91, (compound fracture of the left leg) he returned to the show three days later supported by a pair of crutches. He got his biggest laugh by saying "I've fallen and I can't get up!"

"I kid you not!" - Favorite expression of celebrity Jack Paar who hosted late night talk show THE JACK PAAR SHOW/NBC/1957-62. The phrase "I kid you not" was the title of Jack Paar's autobiography and also the classic retort of Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) in the movie The Caine Mutiny (1954). TRIVIA NOTE: The emotional Paar was involved in a number of feuds while in the limelight. On February 11, 1960 he walked off the air (tears in his eyes) when he discovered an NBC censor cut his joke about a "water closet" told the night before. He raised a roar over Ed Sullivan paying thousands to guest stars when Paar paid fees of a few hundred. And he picked on several newspaper columnist among them Dorothy Kilgallen. "I kid you not!"

"I love it when a plan comes together" - Favorite expression of John "Hannibal" Smith (George Peppard), an urban vigilante on the run from the US military on the adventure THE A-TEAM/NBC/1983-87. Hannibal, a former Army Colonel, was the leader of a group of AWOL soldiers falsely accused of robbing the Bank of Hanoi near the end of the Vietnam War. The group went underground and offered their assistance to those in need. "Hi Yo, A-Team Away!"

"I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing!" - Proclamation made by the friendly but nervous German soldier, Sergeant Hans Schultz (John Banner) on the military comedy HOGAN'S HEROES/CBS/1965-71 when he discovered plans, schemes, or contraband in the possession of imprisoned Allied soldiers at POW camp Stalag 13. Hogan's Heroes Webpage

"I swear I'll kwill you a mwillion times" - Catchphrase often spoken by Milton Berle on the classic variety program TEXACO STAR THEATER/NBC/1948-59. In the movie Let's Make Love (1960) Milton Berle in a cameo role attempts to teach Ives Montand to be funny by showing him how to properly mouth this popular catchphrase. Berle's other catchphrase was "I'll give you shot in the head!" The program's pitchman Sid Stone was often heard saying "Awright, I'll tell ya what I'm gonna do!"

"I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Cat!" - Tweety Pie (voice of Mel Blanc) the yellow canary often chirped this classic cartoon phrase when he "Taw" Sylvester, the black and white cat with the red nose. "Oooooh! he don't know me vewy well, do he?" was another of Tweety's catchphrases.

"I'm a ba-a-a-d boy!" - Catchphrase of Lou Costello when he appeared as an trouble-prone, unemployed actor on the sitcom THE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO SHOW/SYN/1951-53.

"I'm with you!" - Catchphrase made popular by a slender comedian Stan Ross who according to comedian Jackie Gleason was the "world's greatest living sight gag." Ross first used the line (written by the team of Norman Lear and Ed Simmons) during an episode of THE JACK HALEY SHOW in 1950 when he popped out of a box and said "I'm with you!" This funny one-line skit was seen frequently on THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW/CBS/1952-70. Note: Stan Ross was born Abraham Schiller in Brooklyn, New York in 1926.

"In the end there can be only one" - Declaration of immortal Duncan MacLeod, (Adrian Paul) a 400-year-old Scotsman who battles immortal rivals on the adventure HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES/SYN/1992-98. According to immortal custom, at a "Gathering" in the future, the final immortals must fight each other until one remains. When immortals clash, combat is by the sword and to the death (ritual beheading). "In the end there can be only one."

Steve Allen's Book - 'Bigger Than A Bread Box'"Is it bigger than a bread box?" - Popular catchphrase coined by comedian Steve Allen in the 1950s while he was a guest panelist on the game show WHAT'S MY LINE/CBS/1950-67. The program featured a panel of four celebrities who tried to guess the occupations of the contestants. The panelist were only permitted to ask "Yes" and "No" questions. Steve Allen later authored a book entitled Bigger Than a Bread Box (Doubleday, 1967). A book reviewer for the Lincoln Nebraska Journal remarked "Very funny...a big breadbox filled with crumbs of loveable humor." When Steve Allen appeared as the "Mystery Guest" on the May 18, 1958 installment of WHAT'S MY LINE, the blind-folded contestants had to ask a series of question to deduce the mystery guest's identity. Towards the end of the segment the dialogue went like this:
 
John Daly: 3 down and 7 to go, Miss Francis.
Arlene Francis:  I detect something adorable in that voice...
Steve Allen  I'll see YOU later!! (Arlene cracks up)
Arlene Francis: Would a red-headed woman not approve of that statement? (the red head is Steve' wife Jayne Meadows)
Steve Allen Mmmm...yup!
Arlene Francis: Are you bigger than a breadbox?
Steve Allen Yup!
John Daly: Go ahead...Miss Francis.
Arlene Francis: Is it the inimitable Steve Allen?!!
John Daly: Steve Allen!!!

[The audience cheers & Steve blows a kiss to the panel.]

On the 9/15/63 segment of WHAT'S MY LINE (with panelists Arlene Francis, Tony Randall, Dorothy Kilgallen, and Bennett Cerf) when Dorothy asked their second guest, a British manufacturer of church bells for St. Paul's Cathedral "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" he reluctantly pleads ignorance to his American audience and says he doesn't know what a "breadbox" is.

"Is this the party to whom I am speaking?" - The silly opening line of Ernestine, the Telephone Operator, a character created by comedian Lily Tomlin on skits originally seen on the comedy variety series ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN/NBC/1968-73. Ernestine worked for the Beautiful Downtown Burbank Phone Company. While waiting for a customer to answer their phone she said "One ringy-dingy...Two ringy-dingies, etc."

"It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!" - In a series of successful commercials for Chiffon Margarine (1971-79), actress Dena Dietrich starred as Mother Nature who sampled the buttery taste of Chiffon margarine. When she realized that Chiffon Margarine was not butter and that she had been tricked, she let lightning fly and earthquakes rumble to express her anger. Her trademark catchphrase was "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature." Dena Dietrich later appeared in the TV series ADAM'S RIB/ABC/1973, THE ROPERS/ABC/1979-80 and MURPHY BROWN/CBS/1988-98. She currently lives in West Hollywood.

"It's a good thing!" - Catchphrase of Martha Stewart, the nifty "Queen of How-To" who hosted her own TV program MARTHA STEWART LIVING/SYN/1991-2004 a half-hour weekly informational series that offered tips on cooking, decorations, gardening, home improvement and renovation. At the conclusion of many of her creative demonstrations, she looked at her finished product (a restored antique chandelier; a deep-dish pie; or huge wicker basket filled with plump, perfectly ripe fruit) and gave her trademark catchphrase "It's a Good Thing!" What qualifies something as "A Good Thing?" Well, Martha once explained "Before we call something a Good Thing, we ask: Is the project uncomplicated? Is it affordable? Is it useful? Is it aesthetically pleasing? If the answer is yes, and if the project can be accompanied by clear, concise instructions for neat, quick results, then it's a Good Thing for our readers."

"It's been real!" See - FANS: "Early Eyeball Fraternal Marching Society"

"It's not my job" - Smart-alecky response of Barrio garage mechanic, Chico Rodriquez (Freddie Prinze) when anyone asked him to do anything that wasn't part of his job description on the sitcom CHICO AND THE MAN/NBC/1974-78. "Looking Good!" was another of his favorite sayings.

"It was so hot..." - During the opening monologue of the late night talk show THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON/NBC/1962-92, host Johnny Carson often referred to the weather. When he said "It was so hot" the audience screamed back "How hot is it?" At that point Johnny responded "It was so hot, a clerk at the Fotomat had to be basted with butter and turned over" or "It was so hot, the only way you could get a breeze was to go to Studio Four and 'moon' the Wheel of Fortune." or "It was so hot, I saw a lizard with zinc oxide on his nose." Jay Leno the new host of THE TONIGHT SHOW/NBC/1992+ continued the "hot" jokes with "It was so hot that two dogs pretended to have sex so they could be hosed down" and "It was so hot drive-by shooters were shooting holes in their own cars to get the cross ventilation." TRIVIA NOTE: When comedian Rosie O'Donnell got her own syndicated talk show THE ROSIE O'DONNELL SHOW/SYN/1996-2002, she concluded her opening monologue by referring to the last joke on a index card taped to her desk. When she asked the audience how did they know it was the last joke, the audience participated in the fun by screaming "It's taped to the desk!"

 

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