Where the heck does it come from, oh my!
May 1, 2007 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Where does the sentence structure 'Something, something and something, oh my!' come from? I'm seeing this everywhere and it's been bugging me.

All over the web, I keep seeing variants on 'X, X and X, oh my!' Some examples right here on Ask Me. What's the origin of this phrase? I've been googling in much the same way I did when I figured out what 'All your X are belong to us' and 'I'm in ur X verbing ur Y' memes, but I got nada.
posted by Happy Dave to Writing & Language (52 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Wizard of Oz (movie). Dorothy exclaims, "Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!"
posted by junkbox at 11:47 AM on May 1, 2007


The Wizard of Oz?

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
posted by cmyk at 11:48 AM on May 1, 2007


Believe it or not...This has been asked before.

Don't people watch this movie anymore???
posted by vacapinta at 11:48 AM on May 1, 2007


I always thought it came from the Wizard of Oz "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh my!"

might not be the first of course.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:48 AM on May 1, 2007


Damn that was quick! Why's it ended up across the web? Didn't know the Wizard of Oz was required viewing for web geeks....
posted by Happy Dave at 11:49 AM on May 1, 2007


I believe this originated with "Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!" à la Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.
posted by limeonaire at 11:49 AM on May 1, 2007


Damn, didn't see that question, thanks everyone.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:49 AM on May 1, 2007


Ah preview...
posted by limeonaire at 11:50 AM on May 1, 2007


I was going to say "Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My!" but 6 people beat me to it.
posted by chunking express at 11:50 AM on May 1, 2007


Hi, it is from a movie called The Wizard of Oz (based on a wonderful book), in which a girl called Dorothy is warned of Lions and Tigers and Bears and says "Oh My"
posted by zachxman at 11:50 AM on May 1, 2007


Didn't know the Wizard of Oz was required viewing for web geeks....

You're going to miss a lot of popular culture references if you haven't seen it, and not just on the web.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 11:51 AM on May 1, 2007


...and your little dog too!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:52 AM on May 1, 2007


(Piles on)

The Wizard of Oz had something like this in it, there was also some skipping, red shoes, a house that fell on a witch, munchkins, a tinman, a lion, a scarecrow, and a little dog too.
posted by 517 at 11:53 AM on May 1, 2007


Results from this Google search are more fun than I thought they would be: "* and * and * oh my".
posted by cgc373 at 11:54 AM on May 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


Happy Dave writes "Damn that was quick! Why's it ended up across the web? Didn't know the Wizard of Oz was required viewing for web geeks...."

Maybe it's an American thing. Every American in my generation, at least, has seen that movie multiple times.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:54 AM on May 1, 2007


This is also the origin of flying monkeys, I believe. When they were tasked with flying out my butt, I'm not so sure.
posted by chairface at 11:57 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it's from a Pink Floyd album or something?
posted by one_bean at 11:57 AM on May 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


Back before you could drop by any video store and rent any video, there were a few movies that would be broadcast on TV every year, reliably. Wizard of Oz was one of them. Others included Exodus around Easter/Passover, It's a Wonderful Life around Christmas, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and probably more that I'm not remembering because I was too young to watch them at that time...!

Remember, there was a time when the ONLY way to watch a movie that wasn't currently in movie theaters, short of taking film classes at a university or visiting a large city that had theaters showing retrospectives, was to catch it on TV...on one of the *21* stations on cable TV, or four on non-cable TV. (And you couldn't tape it, so if you fell asleep during it, got a phone call, kid wanted a drink of water, etc. you were out of luck.) Movies shown on TV could become a major cultural event--and if it was popular enough to be shown every year, you watched it every year, because there was no other way to watch old movies.
posted by gillyflower at 12:10 PM on May 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Where do you want to be oiled first?" is also one of the Wizard of Oz quotations you might hear. Just in case it comes up in conversation.
posted by pracowity at 12:12 PM on May 1, 2007


Yeah, I'd have to chalk this one up to being not American. I've never seen the whole movie (hated it -- my sister watched it all the time when I was too young to appreciate it and I was instead freaked out by...well, everything about it) but I know most of the cultural reference points from it because they're so common here. The Emerald City, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, if I only had a brain/heart/"the noive", "And you were there! And you! And you!", "I'm melting! I'm melting!", "We're not in Kansas anymore" -- all are from the Wizard of Oz and all are relatively common among people I know (Americans).
posted by katemonster at 12:22 PM on May 1, 2007


Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Columbia, Princeton, and Brown, oh crap!
posted by Saucy Intruder at 12:22 PM on May 1, 2007


People say it on the internet because they say it in real life, too. It's just one of those movie quotes that has ingrained itself into the lexicon. I don't think it has any particular web significance.

Not to be an ass, but from an American perspective, it's kind of like asking who the Beatles are or what a hot dog is or something. It's an icon among icons. It can't really be exaggerated just how ingrained it is in the culture here. I don't know if there's a more influential movie or a more influential children's story in American culture.
posted by lampoil at 12:32 PM on May 1, 2007


Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

From which phrase the word pnambic was coined -- one of those neologisms that only geeks use, but it's another example of how The Wizard of Oz has become ingrained into net.culture.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:36 PM on May 1, 2007


To this list I would add "The Ten Commandments" as an Easter-time classic.
I re-watched it this year for the first time in years, on TV, and was surprised by how much good dialogue (yes, yes, much of it from the Bible) there was (amid some really craptastic dialogue, of course).

Also, anyone who saw the Wizard of Oz when they were very young became immediately scarred by the Flying Monkeys...

Lastly, I remember CBS broadcasting "Gone With The Wind" - in its entirety - back in the late 70s or early 80s and my father admonishing my brother and I to sit still and watch it because we'd likely never get to see this movie again...if he'd only known...

Now get off my lawn!
posted by I, Credulous at 12:36 PM on May 1, 2007


As the first response says: Oz.

I know my input is not really needed, but it seems as if the poster is having trouble picking a favorite. He was probably waiting for me.
posted by The Deej at 12:38 PM on May 1, 2007


The great and powerful Us has spoken.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:45 PM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think remember this from the The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy says something like, "Midgets and witches and shit, oh my!"
posted by team lowkey at 12:46 PM on May 1, 2007 [4 favorites]


For some reason, I actually feel flabbergasted that someone who appears to have a good grasp of the english language hasn't seen The Wizard of Oz. I always thought it was one of those foundational pieces of culture that we assume everyone is aware of, much like how a lot of literature references shakespeare or the bible in non-pointed ways. The yellow brick road, the man behind the curtain, "we're not in kansas anymore", etc... they're everywhere.

In other words, "what has this world come to?/Kids today!"
posted by Kololo at 12:48 PM on May 1, 2007


I just noticed in the shower this morning that I can't sing the songs from this movie (and yes, I know all the words to all of them) without imitating the pauses and inflections of the characters. That's how many times I've seen it. I mean, granted, I went way overboard compared to most people with Wizard of Oz, but it is a hell of a cultural touchstone to be missing if you live in the USA, or communicate regularly with people from there.

I guarantee you, it's like reading Shakespeare in terms of understanding things people say that don't make any sense. And it's a lot easier to understand than Shakespeare, and the new version where they synced up the color is absolutely the movie as it was meant to be seen. Watch it.
posted by crinklebat at 1:20 PM on May 1, 2007


Here are the American Film Institute's Top 100 Movie Quotes. There are three from Wizard of Oz, though not this one. It's probably in the top-five most quoted movies. (Looks like Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Wizard of Oz, the Godfather movies, Sunset Blvd,... anecdotally I would say Star Wars, among younger people)
posted by LobsterMitten at 1:35 PM on May 1, 2007


On a side note, rent The Wizard of Oz. Watch it during the during the day when some people are around, it's a great movie that appeals to almost everyone.
posted by parallax7d at 1:46 PM on May 1, 2007


This thread's not only merely dead
It's really most sincerely dead.
posted by Floydd at 1:53 PM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, I've seen it - it's just not nearly the same kind of cultural touchstone in the UK that it is in the US. I can sing Follow the Yellow Brick Road, and I get the flying monkey references when I watch the Simpsons, but I don't know the film well enough to pick up this particular phrase.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:54 PM on May 1, 2007


It's from Star Wars. Vito Corleone says it right after he kisses Scarlett O'Hara.
posted by designbot at 1:56 PM on May 1, 2007 [5 favorites]


The great and powerful Us has spoken.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur

I think remember this from the The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy says something like, "Midgets and witches and shit, oh my!"
posted by team lowkey


Now see, THIS is the kinda stuff that keeps me coming back to MeFi! Yes, yes, I TRY to quit. But the thought of missing this kind of spontaneous, situational, "gotta-be-there" wittiness is unthinkable.

Thanks for the laughs, MeFites!
posted by The Deej at 1:57 PM on May 1, 2007


This is also the origin of flying monkeys, I believe. When they were tasked with flying out my butt, I'm not so sure.

Wayne's World!
posted by not that girl at 2:29 PM on May 1, 2007


They also showed Charlie Brown movies every year. How I miss those days.
posted by dame at 3:38 PM on May 1, 2007


Oh and just to be a jerk: the answer was on the second page of results the poster linked to as examples of the phrase. Huh.
posted by The Deej at 3:41 PM on May 1, 2007


Wait, I thought Scarlett Uhura was in Star Trek, not Star Wars.
posted by hades at 4:33 PM on May 1, 2007


What makes a king out of a slave? Courage!
What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage!
What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage!
What makes the Sphinx the Seventh Wonder? Courage!
What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage!
What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the ape in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?

Courage.
posted by steef at 4:52 PM on May 1, 2007


There's a new print of the Wizard of Oz going around - if you keep your eyes peeled it might be showing at an art-house cinema near you!
posted by tiny crocodile at 5:11 PM on May 1, 2007


They still show Charlie Brown specials every year. You just don't notice because you're too busy watching other stuff on the gazillion other channels. Seriously, it's surprising how hard it can be to catch The Great Pumpkin each year. It's such a tiny little half-hour in a massive sea of programming. But it's there. (And it still makes me laugh out loud! How does it DO that?)
posted by lampoil at 5:21 PM on May 1, 2007


Surrender, Dorothy!
posted by davidmsc at 5:40 PM on May 1, 2007


This thread needs way less aimless chatter and jokes and Happy Dave needs to mark at least the first comment with the correct answer as 'best answer'. [/spoilsport]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:46 PM on May 1, 2007


No, Happy Dave needs to mark the answer from the 2nd page of his own search as best answer.
posted by The Deej at 7:52 PM on May 1, 2007


You all missed THE quote from WofZ; which sums up the whole movie and reminds us all of something important we should always remember:

There's no place like home
There's no place like home
There's no place like home....

posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 4:34 AM on May 2, 2007


You all missed THE quote from WofZ; which sums up the whole movie and reminds us all of something important we should always remember:

There's no place like home
There's no place like home
There's no place like home....
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza



HUH?!??! That's from Wizard of Oz?! I'll be damned.
posted by The Deej at 5:03 AM on May 2, 2007


There is also - "there is no police like Holmes".

*duck*
posted by of strange foe at 7:58 AM on May 2, 2007


The Dark Side of The Moon supposedly is an 'alternate soundtrack", but I found it to be quite a letdown.


I'm meltiiiinnngggg....
posted by Four Flavors at 12:16 PM on May 2, 2007


What is this "Dark Side of the Moon" of which you speak? I am so tired of all you MeFites and your "I'm soooo much more knowledgeable of pop-culture than you" attitude!

You think you are better than me because you can read!
posted by The Deej at 3:02 PM on May 2, 2007


Seriously? The dark side of the moon? What were you doing in high school? You obviously didn't spend enough time sitting in suburban backyards, smoking, awkwardly flirting, and listening to Pink Floyd.
posted by Kololo at 6:37 PM on May 2, 2007


What is this "Pink Floyd" you speak of?






NOOOOOOO not seriously! And, sadly, I was not even old enough for high school when DSOTM came out. 12 years old. Bought it on vinyl. FRICKIN VINYL NOOBS!!!!
posted by The Deej at 7:32 PM on May 2, 2007


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