Catchphrases From Old Familiar Shows
TV actress Audrey Meadows and Jackie Gleason during rehearsal for The Honeymooners. (Photo by Leonard Mccombe/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
A lot of the old shows we always enjoyed watching had a lot of humorous one-liners. Those catchy phrases have stuck with us over the years. We can remember a show just by the catchy phrase connected to the show. Here a just a few of them.
“You wanna go to the moon, Alice?”
The show takes place mostly in Ralph and Alice’s apartment where Ralph and Alice get into a lot of “discussions.” Sometimes these discussions take place over some get-rich-quick scheme that Ralph and his best friend, Ed have cooked up. When Ralph gets upset with Alice, he likes to use the catchphrase “You wanna go to the moon, Alice?” He likes to think he has the upper hand; but, in reality, it’s Alice who gets the better of him usually by making him feel dumb.
“Mel, Kiss My Grits”
The show called “Alice” is set in a local diner called “Mel’s Diner,” where three waitresses work for a stingy boss named Mel. After her husband's untimely death, Alice and her son move to Phoenix, Arizona from New Jersey where she ends up at Mel’s Diner, which is where the show begins. Mel is not only the owner but also the cook, whose food gets criticized by everyone. Flo, one of the other two waitresses who work there, is a Southern girl with a Southern accent and always seeking a man. Vera is the other waitress, who is a bit of a scatterbrain as well as a neurotic. The three of them become fast friends who stick together against Mel whenever necessary. Flo simply tells him “kiss my grits.”
“Missed it by that much”
Maxwell Smart is a bumbling detective who works as a secret agent, referred to as agent 86, alongside his partner, agent 99. They both work for the organization CONTROL which is for the US Government and their enemy counterpart is KAOS. The entrance to CONTROL is through a phone booth that goes underground and then through many automatic steel doors. Max has all these secret gadgets that he uses for the job such as his shoe-phone. When Max messes up during one of his assignments, his catch-phrase is “missed it by that much.” Agent 99 usually helps him get out of sticky situations where he has fouled up as she is really the smart one.
“Whatcha talking ‘bout, Willis?”
Different Strokes is a show about a rich businessman and widower with his teenage daughter, Kimberly who end up taking in two black boys from Harlem. He eventually adopts them. In this show, there are not only laughs but heart-warming episodes too. Arnold, the youngest boy, looks up to his older brother, Willis for advice and leadership. The two really stick together. When Arnold doesn’t understand something or just disagrees with him, he will use the catch-phrase “Whatcha talking ‘bout Willis?”
“Live long and prosper”
Star Trek is a favorite of many as not only a show but also numerous movies, spin-off series, and even hobbyists who collect anything Star Trek. One of the main characters, Dr. Spock, is a Vulcan who supposedly has no human emotions. For someone with no emotions, he seems to somehow be able to muster up feelings whenever certain occasions call for it, especially if Captain Kirk is in some sort of trouble. Of course, there appears to be no love lost between him and Dr. McCoy (Bones). When it comes right down to it though, they really do like each other. Dr. Spock’s catch-phrase and motto is “Live long and prosper.” This catch-phrase actually came from Leonard Nimoy’s (Dr. Spock) childhood memory where he saw the hand gesture as a blessing in a Jewish service. It had a major impact on him so he never forgot it, not knowing he would one day incorporate it into his part on Star Trek.
“Sit on it Potsie”
Happy Days was a show about the 1950s and 1960s with a group of students that mostly hung out at Arnold’s, a restaurant with a jukebox and pinball machine. Richie and his friends, Potsie and Ralph would hang out there after school, along with Fonzie, a “hood” who would join them later. Fonzie was the cool one who always helped them out of jams when the local bullies came around. Somehow, for various reasons, Potsie got coined with this catch-phrase that everybody would use on him, “Sit on it, Potsie.” Sometimes, the phrase would be used on other members of the show but it was usually Potsie.
“Oh, I’m coming to join you Elizabeth! This is it – this is the big one!”
This show was hilarious. Sanford and his son, Lamont, owned a junkyard in Watts which was a poor section in Los Angeles. Fred G. Sanford was a widower and had a heart condition - at least he claimed to. Anytime he got upset, especially with his son, Lamont, he would call out to his deceased wife and say, “I’m coming to join you Elizabeth!” Sometimes (in fact, a lot of times), he would just be using his so-called heart condition as an act to get Lamont to do what he wanted.
“Did I do that?”
Family Matters started out as a show about a police officer and his family but it didn’t take long before the focus was more on the neighbor, Steve Urkel. He became the hit of the show with his quirky ways and humor. His famous saying on the show was “Did I do that?” It was just the way he said it that made it so funny as well as the way he wore his pants high up on his waist.
These shows and many more have brought us laughter, one-liners, and catch-phrases that will keep us in stitches for years to come.
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