Soda water bottle, have a banana?
August 13, 2013 9:06 PM   Subscribe

In the curious 1975 comedy Linda Lovelace For President, there's a scene in which, faced with the bankruptcy of her campaign, Lovelace starts inexplicably chanting the phrase "Soda water bottle, have a banana." This is picked up on by members of her marching band, and then becomes a series of calls and responses. The scene, completely safe for work, can be seen here. What on earth is this a reference to?
posted by eschatfische to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
No bananas, but I've heard "soda water bottle" (among other things) repeated as a nonsense phrase by stage (and film, I guess) extras in order to make background conversation that sounds realistic but doesn't detract from the main action.
posted by Gingersnap at 9:50 PM on August 13, 2013

This 2001 reprint of a 1975 Brian Davis feature about the production has the line:
...a man wearing heavy make-up and carrying a handbag turned to me and said: 'Soda water bottle, have a banana. I know what to do, and you do too.'
By all accounts it's a terrible movie.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:01 PM on August 13, 2013

The phrase '"ave a banana" is from a music hall song " let's all go down the strand" and had been referenced in English popular culture often since.
posted by lollusc at 10:21 PM on August 13, 2013

Clip from Catherine Tate Show (sketch "Life at Ma's", a parody of Life on Mars, where a man is transported back to mid-century Britain and repeatedly baffled at cultural references).

Eric Partridge notes that for a couple of decades "Have a banana [with]" was a euphemism for sex.

Still, this comes across more as a stadium cheer of some type, with the call-and-response, or even a reference to a musical. Then again, the second cheer is "We're gonna get it up" so the idea of a sexual innuendo isn't right out.
posted by dhartung at 12:27 AM on August 14, 2013

I, too, was taught "soda water bottle" for background conversation in amateur theater stuff as a kid.
posted by tiger tiger at 2:30 PM on August 14, 2013

Yeah, "soda water bottle" was one of those phrases I learned for walla (fake theater/film/tv background conversation). Others:
- peas and carrots
- watermelon cantaloupe
- rhubarb rhubarb
- natter natter
- grommish grommish
posted by mon-ma-tron at 3:18 PM on August 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm guessing it was some sort of sports chant of the era, maybe it was a high school cheerleader thing. It has that sound to it. I have a feeling the filmmakers thought it was much more common than it really was.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:33 PM on August 14, 2013

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