Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Posts Tagged ‘1945’

Shutterbug

Posted by Admin on November 26, 2010

Shutterbug refers strictly to the world of photography but in recent years, it has come to include video taping and animation. Photographers taking shots via cell phones, however, are not considered shutterbugs as those photos are for social networking purposes and not for the art or beauty of the photograph.

Over the years, the term “shutterbug” has been used in print and broadcast media and in conversations, however, the origins of the term “shutterbug” is far more difficult to trace.

The Pittsburgh Press ran a news story on December 30, 1945 about a book entitled, “Mr. Digby” written by Douglass Welch and published by Putnam Books.  The hero of the book, Mr. Robert H. “Happy” Digby, was a photographer for the Central City Informer.  The book review headline in the newspaper read:

Story About A Shutterbug: News Photographer Hero of Book

Elsa Maxwell’s Party Line was a column that ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  On August 11, 1943 Elsa’s column was dedicated to Miriam Hopkins whom she referred to as a “winsome wisp of vitality.”  In her column she wrote:

For, if not an expert, she is, at least, a most competent shutterbug.  She photographed her way around Europe in 1936, and probably has the last pictures of the Vienna of yesterday.

The Los Angeles Times ran a column called Camera Corner and back in February 1939, Harold Menselsohn responded to a question sent to him by Raymonde Geemar.  His response read in part:

Shutterbug Raymonde Geemar wants to know how to focus a ground glass-type camera in making pictures at night when conditions are none too good. Use the same method press photographers employ.

Before 1939, I was unable to locate published references for the word shutterbug however it was most certainly being used frequently in every day conversations for it to be used so easily in newspaper articles of the day.

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You Never Had It So Good

Posted by Admin on July 13, 2010

In the movie, the Princess Bride, the following exchange is witnessed:

MIRACLE MAX:
Get back Witch!

VALERIE:
I’m not a witch, I’m your wife and after what you just said, I’m not sure I want to be that anymore.

MIRACLE MAX:
You never had it so good.

So where exactly did this phrase originate?  Surely it must have a long and colourful history.  Well, not exactly.

The phrase “you’ve never had it so good” is associated with the Conservative politician, Harold MacMillan (1894–1986), and refers to a speech he made as Prime Minister on 20 July 1957.  His exact words were: “Let us be frank about it: most of our people have never had it so good.”

At the time he said those words, he was correct however soon afterwards, inflation, rising unemployment and disruptive labour disputes were responsible for undoing the slow economic growth Britain had seen up until that point.

However, MacMillan didn’t just happen across that phrase accidentally as itw as used as the Democratic slogan for the 1952 U.S. Elections.  We’d like to think that some hardworking public relations guy working on campaigns came up with that phrase but it’s a little older than that even.

You see, the U.S. newspaper The Sunday Morning Star reported in September 1945 that this was the stock answer used in the U.S. Army when enlisted men complained about U.S. Army life.

Posted in Advertising, Idioms from the 20th Century, Slogans | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Two Bits

Posted by Admin on February 26, 2010

Back in 1720, the term “two bits” became part of the language in the American colonies.  Referencing “pieces of eight” when one spoke of “two bits” they meant two pieces of the eight that made up a dollar.

In time, since two pieces of the eight was a quarter of the dollar, two bits was also referred to as a “quarter.”

As with all phrases, in time it came to mean cheap and tawdry as in a two-bit saloon (first recorded use of this meaning was in 1875) and two-bit politicians (first recorded use of this meaning was in 1945).

The first reference to “two bits” meaning something cheap and tawdry was first recorded 1929

Posted in Idioms from the 18th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »