if i knew that you were coming i'd a baked a cake.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

nyuk, nyuk, nyuk

When I went to the Piedmont Triad Bloggers meet-up last month, I was thrilled when a couple of people immediately picked up on where I got the title for my blog.

You see, I was looking for something a little punny that started with the word "slow," because of my fascination with the Slow Food movement and the idea that I was planning to write about my garden and my life changes as a result of embracing this philosophy. And, I just happen to be a big Three Stooges fan.

All I could remember was a routine in one of the Three Stooges films in which Moe says "Niagara Falls! Slooowly I turned. Step by step, inch by inch..." Then, predictably, something violent happened.

Well, my life is a bit complicated, and I can't tell you just how APPROPRIATE this title has been! I really picked it because my life is improving step by step, and I have confidence in the idea that we can all change the world inch by inch, one choice at a time. It was good to have a descriptive title that had a bit of subversive humor in it, though, because there have been quite a few times since I began this blog when I would have just loved to poke somebody in the eyeballs. Whenever I get a bit too serious about my "mission" or depressed about politics, I get a little reminder of slapping Curly upside the head, and I smile.

I did a little research on Google, and learned that this is an old vaudeville standard. The Stooges built one of their shorts around it in the movie "Gents Without Cents" in 1944. The same year, Abbott and Costello performed the bit in "Lost in a Harem." Bud and Lou used the trigger word "Poko Moko" instead of "Niagara Falls." I understand that Lucy Ricardo also did a version of the routine in Ricky's club where she was attacked by a man when she said "Martha," but there are differing accounts of this. I'll let a Lucy expert correct me in the comments.

Here's a link to the Abbott and Costello script. And the Niagara Falls Reporter wrote a good article on the overall history of the routine.

Googling "Slowly She Turned" turns up all kinds of torrid romance, however.

Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

9 comments:

Roch101 said...

A few nights ago Kathy and I were in the backyard enjoying the night when I happened to say, "Niagra Falls." Her reply: "Slowly I turned. Step by step, inch by inch..." I was stymied. Now I get it. Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk! Wise guy!

Patty Ann Smith said...

Nice post!

I've sometimes been a "user" of the phrase, myself, ever since I heard Abbott and Costello's version of it. What fun to think about it again. Thanks!

Abbott and Costello's "who's on first" is another great stress-reliever.

The healing power of comedy...where would many of us be without it!!!

Ogre said...

But... But... But you're a gIIRRRRl. Girl's aren't supposed to like the Stoogies!

Step by step...

I love it!

terrilynn said...

I recognized your title! But I'm not a Stooges fan; I learned it from I Love Lucy. It's in one of the episodes where Lucy is trying to get in Ricky's show, and she learns the routine as part of that. The episode was called "The Ballet," and it's very very funny.

Anonymous said...

Bartkid sez,

Bush (l), McClellan (middle), Rove (r).

Laurie said...

LOTFL! I didn't understand that when I looked at it in my email! Bush (l)? I thought it was our Libertarian friend Edwin!

Laurie said...

I meant the sender of the email! Sorry, Edwin!

Veronica Mitchell said...

I had a Greek teacher use the "slowly I turned..." to try to get us to remember the Greek word for "step." He couldn't remember where it came from and I insisted it was from Abbot and costello, but he didn't believe me.

I wonder if it would be too weird to suddenly email him a link to your post? It's only been, um, oh, fifteen years.

Anonymous said...

Eddie Rabbitt's hit "Step by Step" was inspired by the Stooges skit.