Before we get to Episode Eighteen of our nightly audio adventure, The Secret Agent, let's get the important stuff out of the way. Yesterday, regarding "Oh, what a gal! A real pipperoo!" in our Song of the Week, I wondered whether anyone, anywhere had ever used "pipperoo" in ordinary conversation. Vincent Perricelli of Cleveland, Ohio responds:
I did a little online searching and found several earlier usages. I'm including two. Here's one from The Harrisburg Telegraph from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for August 30, 1937, page 25:
'Bill Granoff. the fite producer, has a terrific clout session booked for Wednesday in the Izzy Richter - John Whitted scrap... It should be a pipperoo...'
There are other newspaper usages of "pipperoo" in the late 1930s. I believe the one I cited above may be the earliest. And here's a second usage from The Film Daily for Monday, April 11, 1938, page 4:
'THAT'S WHY we are now leading you right into a RAVE....about a Warner short......a Pipperoo......a Dazzler......a Sock-erino any way you want to scan it......"Out Where the Stars Begin".'
Thank you for that, Vincent. Very helpful, a sock-erino any way you want to scan it. I confess I'm still a tad skeptical, and, all that said, wonder if pipperoo wasn't one of those words that mid-century newspapermen deployed to sock up their pipperino prose, like a lot of Variety-speak. Did it also penetrate to chit-chat over chocolate malts at the soda fountain in Des Moines? I'd love to hear from any readers who've been on the receiving end of such effusions.
~On Monday morning I found myself on "Fox & Friends" talking in part about the Parsons Green "bucket bomber". Many aspects of London life remain the same from Joseph Conrad's time to our own. But in tonight's episode we also get a glimpse of one of the differences, courtesy of the anarchist Ossipon:
Women's words fell into water, but the shortcomings of time-tables remained. The insular nature of Great Britain obtruded itself upon his notice in an odious form. "Might just as well be put under lock and key every night," he thought irritably, as nonplussed as though he had a wall to scale with the woman on his back. Suddenly he slapped his forehead. He had by dint of cudgelling his brains just thought of the Southampton—St Malo service. The boat left about midnight. There was a train at 10.30. He became cheery and ready to act.
The fastest train time from Waterloo to Southampton today is an hour and a quarter - or about what it was in the late 19th century. Most are upwards of an hour twenty. The difference is that, because of the "security" procedures necessitated by all the multiculti diversity, one can no longer board a train at 10.30pm and expect to make the midnight ferry. Likewise, flight times are unchanged in half-a-century, but the check-in at the airport now takes hours longer. The 21st century security state is undoing all the technological genius of the 19th century. Good luck catching that steam packet now, Comrade Ossipon.
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