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Celebrity Signoffs 

A - L / M -Z

"And Awa-a-a-y we go!" - The trademark bellow of comic Jackie Gleason as he began his Saturday night comedy variety program THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW/CBS/1952-70. After a short chat with the audience, and a refreshing cup of some beverage (of suspicious nature), Gleason asked his bandleader, Sammy Spear for "a little traveling music." Then with elbows akimbo, he side-stepped off stage yelling his now famous expression, "And Awa-a-a-y We Go!" Gleason also recorded a song entitled "And Awa-a-a-y We Go" in the 1950s. When Jackie Gleason was laid to rest at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery in Miami, Florida (at 11411 NW 25th Street), the phrase "And Away We Go" was chiseled into the marble steps leading up to his Greek-style mausoleum. See also CATCHPHRASES: "How sweet it is."

"Be a good bunny!" - Signoff of one-time Hollywood starlet Wendy Barrie who hosted THE WENDY BARRIE SHOW/DUM/ABC/NBC/1949-50, a celebrity interview and gossip show where stars dropped into her supposed Manhattan apartment to chit-chat with her.

"Be good to yourself" - Trademark signature phrase of popular radio and early television show personality Don McNeill, who first appeared on DON McNEILL TV CLUB/ABC/1950-51, a musical variety program.

"Be nice to your furniture" - Closing comment of fix-it show hosts Ed Feldman and Joe L'Arario who hosted a syndicated furniture repair program THE FURNITURE GUYS in the 1990s.

"Bless your pea-pickin' hearts" - The signature signoff of singer comedian Ernie Ford who hosted the musical variety THE FORD SHOW/NBC/1956-61. He was fond of ending his program with traditional religious songs which he called the "finest love songs of all". Born Ernest Jennings Ford in 1919 in the town of Bristol, Tennessee, "Tennessee" Ernie Ford was the first country singer to appear at the Paladium in London in 1953. His homespun humor and corny country ways were evident in such phrases like "Nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs" and "Feels like I've been rode hard and put away wet". Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1990, Ernie Ford died of complications due to liver ailments on October 17, 1991. His most popular song was "Sixteen Tons" written by Merle Travis in 1947.

"Bye-bye!" - Signoff line of John McLaughlin, the boisterous host of the fast-paced half-hour weekly news analysis program THE McLAUGHLIN GROUP/SYN/1982+

"Ciaocito, baby" - Trademark signoff of Daisy Fuentes, the hip Cuban born veejay hostess of programming on the MTV cable network in the 1990s. Her sign-off is a combination of the Italian "Ciao" and the Spanish "Cito"

"Courage!" - Arcane signature signoff once used by CBS newscaster Dan Rather when he ended his nightly news broadcast.

"Glad we could get together" - Nightly signoff of newscaster, John Cameron Swayze for NBC network in the 1950s. Another phrase he made popular was "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking" when he was the commercial spokesperson for Timex Watch Company.

"Go Home!" - Closing words of multi-talented British actress Tracey Ullman on the comedy variety show THE TRACEY ULLMAN SHOW/FOX/1987-90. At the end of each program, Tracey sans makeup came on stage dressed in a housecoat, talked to her studio audience one final time and then as if throwing something at her fans yelled "Go Home!"

"God love you" - The famous signoff of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, the Auxiliary Bishop of New York who starred in the popular prime time religious program LIFE IS WORTH LIVING/DUM/ABC/1952-57 that taught lessons of life and morality. In 1953 Bishop Sheen was commenting on Communism and stated "Stalin must one day meet his judgment." Stalin had a stroke a few days later and died within the week. "Uncle Fultie" Sheen aired opposite "Uncle Miltie" Milton Berle of the TEXACO STAR THEATRE on NBC network. Both Sheen and Berle worked for the same boss: Sky Chief. (Sky Chief also being a blend of Texaco gasoline).

"Goodnight..." (ear tug) - At the end of each installment of the comedy variety program THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW/CBS/1967-79, comedian Carol Burnett sang her closing theme song "I'm so glad we had this time together/Just to have a laugh or sing a song/Seems we just get started and before you know it/Comes the time we have to say, 'so long'." As the lyrics ended, she said goodnight to the audience and then tugged on her left earlobe. This tugging gesture was the silent personal message to her grandmother (Nanny) that everything was all right. In contrast, years earlier on the game show WHAT'S MY LINE/CBS/1950-67 moderator John Daly would tug on his ear when trying to let a panelist know that things weren't all right and that their conversation was getting a bit too risqué, and that maybe they should change the subject

"Good night and may God bless" - Red Skelton's trademark closing at the end of each installment of his comedy variety program THE RED SKELTON SHOW/NBC/CBS/NBC/1951-71. The full text of his closing line originally stated "So until next week I'll say good health, good life, and may God bless. Goodnight." This signoff was first spoken on a 1953 guest spot on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW.

"Good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are" - The classic closing comment of comedian Jimmy Durante who starred on the comedy variety program THE JIMMY DURANTE SHOW/NBC/CBS/1954-57. At the end of each weekly performance, Jimmy paused to say "Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are" and then slowly exit offstage following a pathway made from overhead spot lights. Comedian Ernie Kovacs once did a parody of this classic ending. Walking like Jimmy Durante, Ernie moved away from the cameras and proceeded to walk through pools of lights. As he stepped into the last pool of light, he fell out of sight through a trap door. According to a Durante documentary, Durante's daughter C.C. stated there was never a Mrs. Calabash but rather Jimmy used the mysterious woman as a message to "all the lonely women in the world." Some people believed that the "Mrs. Calabash" spot was either a message to a deceased/former lover, or a coded way of saying "Hello" to his real wife.

"Good night to all you boys and girls..." - At the start of the 1949 television season on the TEXACO STAR THEATRE as he attempted to signoff his show, Milton Berle got a signal from his floor man (the program was broadcast live) that the show was running short by a few minutes. Immediately, Milton requested a chair, sat down and ad-libbed the remainder of the show as follows: "Since this is the beginning of the new season, I want to say something to any of you kiddies, who should be in bed getting a good nights rest before school tomorrow. Listen to your Uncle Miltie and kiss Mommy and daddy goodnight and go straight upstairs like good little boys and girls." The ad-libbed reference of "Uncle Miltie" caught on all over New York City. Everywhere Berle went he was greeted by thousands of newly adopted relatives. Thereafter, every show signoff contained the closing phrase, "Good night to all you boys and girls, my nephews and nieces, this is Uncle Miltie saying Good Night." The Uncle Miltie nickname became so popular that once Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, began his popular religious program by saying "Good evening, this is Uncle Fultie." See also - "Mr. Television"; "Mr. Tuesday Night" and "The Thief of Bad Gags" 

"Goodbye, Good Luck and May the Good Lord Take a Likin' to You" - Catchphrase used by cowboy star Roy Rogers when he signed off at the end of each of his appearances on radio television and in person. The phrase was turned into a song "May the Good Lord Take a Likin; To You" written by Roy Rogers and Peter Tintuin and sung by Roy, Dale and The Riders of the Purple Sage. The song was feature in the the western film, Trigger, Jr. (1950).

"Grease for peace" - Closing line of Sha, Na, Na, a 1950s style rock 'n' roll group who hosted their own musical variety program SHA NA NA/SYN/1971-81.

"Gwyn eich byd a dymunaf i chwi lawenydd bob amser" - Traditional Welsh saying meaning "May you always be well and be happy" spoken by singer/host Tom Jones at the conclusion of his weekly musical variety show THIS IS TOM JONES/ABC/1969-71.

"Happy Trails..." - At the conclusion of each episode of western series THE ROY ROGERS SHOW/NBC/1951-57, Roy Rogers "The King of the Cowboys" and Dale Evans "The Queen of the West" sang their trademark sign-off duet of "Happy Trails To You" (written by Dale Evans). The song lyric intoned "Happy trails to you until we meet again/Happy Trails to you, keep smilin' until then.../Happy Trails to you, until we meet again."

A - L / M -Z


 

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