Look THAT up in your Funk and Wagnalls

For a little more than five years, “Laugh-In” was on tv most Monday evenings (1968-1973). These were some pretty formative years for me (16 through 21) and “Laugh-In” was one of my favorites. Goldie Hawn got her start here, and was often seen clad in a bikini, her body painted in interesting ways:

“Laugh-In” had a lot of catch phrases, that were repeated over and over including “You can bet your bippy,” “Here come de judge,” “Sock it to me,” and “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls.” I have to admit I didn’t get that last one for a while, because we had The Encyclopedia Brittanica and my best friend had World Book. I wasn’t familiar with Funk and Wagnall.

So there I was driving around in the cornfields looking for the northern lights (see previous post) when Liz mentioned the old volumes of Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia that still grace our shelves (you never know when the electricity might go out and you need to look something up in in outdated books printed 30 years ago!) I bought them at the grocery store. My recollection is that the first volume was just 1 cent, and that each of the next 24 were a few dollars each–one offered per week. At the end of 6 months, we had a complete encyclopedia that served our family well (in the days before the internet) as a great place to find information for school projects–like a report on Djibouti (which Greg insisted should be pronounced dij-uh-BOO-tee).

Anyway, April said that her father had often used the phrase “Look that up in your Funk and Wagnall.” But since she had never seen the show, she did not realize where it had come from, and why he had laughed when he said it. What a great legacy for a tv show–that decades later we are still using the catchphrases. You can bet your bippy I am going to keep them in circulation!

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2 responses to “Look THAT up in your Funk and Wagnalls

  1. A couple of years ago i bought a 29 volume set of Funk/Wagnalls for about £5.00 in a charity shop. In Britain it was never particularly well known so browsing the internet has informed me about its reputation. In an odd way I have become rather fond of these books as I imagine the original ownersbuying each instalment volume. We forget how expensive print encyclopedias were and F +W must have been the only way for ordinary people to own a multi volume encyclopedia.
    Some have rather sneered at the work but some of the articles are by very distinguished people – for example Raul Hilsberg on the holocaust and the leader of the American Socialist Party (forget his name) on Socialism. I still enjoy reading this book.

  2. my tv fare fave from the end of high school thru college ‘daze. ‘that’s the way the car-rots and the tur-nips.’ hehehe GOLDIE was hilariously joyous in her ‘naive’ delivery. t’was a brilliant time and era awaking via overcoming my own naivity regarding “what’s what?” ‘good ole daze!’ haha ‘still are,’ but on a ‘senior level’ now. shhh! 😉

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