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#68792 - 08/02/2002 18:32 Origins of "Mister Happy"?
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 29607
Loc: Seattle, WA
Today, Tod and I were talking about a Weird Al song ("Headline News", to be exact) where he uses the phrase "Mister Happy" to describe the male anatomy.

I have noticed that this phrase is in wide usage and is pretty much universally known among western English-speaking cultures.

I'm wondering if anyone knows for sure the origins of the phrase. I tried to make the point that its origin was from a famous stand-up comedy bit by Robin Williams during the '80's, and it fit pop culture so perfectly that it was repeated by everyone until now it's universally accepted. (Helped along by the fact that Robin continues to use the term these days.)

Tod disagreed, claiming that it was in wide usage before Robin did that bit.

A quick web search did not reveal any immediate answers, other than to confirm the fact that it has completely permeated pop culture.

Anyone?
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Tony Fabris

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#68793 - 08/02/2002 18:54 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
rob
carpal tunnel

Registered: 21/05/1999
Posts: 5315
Loc: Cambridge UK
Umm.. either I've had a shielded life or it's not entirely universal. For me, Mr Happy brings up thoughts of a jolly yellow round chap with a great big grin. He can often be found hanging out with his friends including Mr Bump and Mr Tickle, getting up to all sorts of larks.

Hmm, maybe we are talking about the same thing after all!

Rob

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#68794 - 08/02/2002 19:12 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: rob]
jimhogan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 06/10/1999
Posts: 2591
Loc: Seattle, WA, U.S.A.
For me, Mr Happy brings up thoughts of a jolly yellow round chap...

Yikes! Yellow???

(Maybe time to drop by the clinic for a quick check on your creatinine/bilirubin...)

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Jim


'Tis the exceptional fellow who lies awake at night thinking of his successes.

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#68795 - 08/02/2002 19:17 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: rob]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 29607
Loc: Seattle, WA
Then maybe I was wrong about it being universal. Perhaps it's a US-only thing.

Still... Did Robin coin the term or not?
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Tony Fabris

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#68796 - 08/02/2002 19:21 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: rob]
svferris
addict

Registered: 06/11/2001
Posts: 700
Loc: San Diego, CA, USA
Here is the Mr. Happy Rob was talking about...

They're from a series of childrens books.


Attachments
67015-mrhappy.jpg (100 downloads)

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#68797 - 08/02/2002 19:30 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: svferris]
Anonymous
Unregistered


What about Captain Winkie?

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#68798 - 08/02/2002 19:44 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: rob]
beaker
addict

Registered: 19/08/2000
Posts: 588
Loc: England
That goes for me too. I think this may only be popular on the other side of the pond.
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Marcus 32 gig MKII (various colours) & 30gig MKIIa

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#68799 - 08/02/2002 20:05 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: rob]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Are those a British series? My aunt was always giving those to me when I was a kid and I thought they were great. Never could find any in the stores when I went looking, though.
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Bitt Faulk

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#68800 - 08/02/2002 20:12 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
I'll bet that Reinhold Aman could help you out. I've heard that he's responsive to queries, but I don't know that for a fact.
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Bitt Faulk

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#68801 - 08/02/2002 20:47 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: wfaulk]
number6
old hand

Registered: 30/04/2001
Posts: 744
Loc: In The Village or sometimes: A...
The "Mr Men" series of kids books has been around for over 20 years.
they have been quite popular down under - not surprising given our past links to the UK.

I think there was a TV series [animated] for a while too.

I guess like Play School the Mr Men books is something you just get if you drive on the left hand side of the road...



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#68802 - 08/02/2002 23:19 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: number6]
Fogduck
member

Registered: 06/06/2000
Posts: 199
Loc: BC
> The "Mr Men" series of kids books has been around for
> over 20 years. they have been quite popular down under
> - not surprising given our past links to the UK.
> I guess like Play School the Mr Men books is something
> you just get if you drive on the left hand side of the road...

Hey, don't forget the OTHER commonwealth nation! CANADA! (which once had the distinction of being the only country that could order from both the International and US stores...heh)

The Mr Men series of books are/were pretty common over here as well.

We drive on the right-hand-side, usually.
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#68803 - 09/02/2002 15:21 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: Fogduck]
svferris
addict

Registered: 06/11/2001
Posts: 700
Loc: San Diego, CA, USA
Ahh, that would probably explain my knowledge of them. I grew up here in California...but my dad is Canadian.
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#68804 - 09/02/2002 15:53 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: wfaulk]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 29607
Loc: Seattle, WA
Thanks for that link. I've just mailed him. And I'm now also considering subscribing to Maledicta.
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Tony Fabris

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#68805 - 09/02/2002 16:05 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: Fogduck]
jimhogan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 06/10/1999
Posts: 2591
Loc: Seattle, WA, U.S.A.
(which once had the distinction of being the only country that could order from both the International and US stores...heh)

Of course the first 7 units were inadverdently delivered to approximately 5842' N 6557' W where the mayor of Kangiqsualujjuaq continues to use them as bookends....!
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Jim


'Tis the exceptional fellow who lies awake at night thinking of his successes.

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#68806 - 09/02/2002 22:13 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 29607
Loc: Seattle, WA
Cool. I just got his reply:

> Tod disagreed, claiming that it was in wide usage before Robin did that bit.

"I doubt that very much. The latest slang dictionary by Jonathon Green dates "Mister Happy" (=penis) to "1980+" -- the time of the Robin Williams performance, which I also happened to see (on video). Robin made it popular and perhaps coined it, also his "one-eyed trouser snake." Robin deserves full credit for its popularity.

The "Mister Happy" from the UK books is older, but it was Robin who publicly (TV, gigs) used that appellation for the first time to mean "penis" and spread its use. There *may* have been raunchy cartoons or porno books where the dick was called "Mister Happy," but they were not the source for its popularity in U.S. English and now worldwide."
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Tony Fabris

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#68807 - 10/02/2002 00:25 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
Tim
veteran

Registered: 25/04/2000
Posts: 1282
Loc: Arizona
I can tell you where I first heard the term. A couple of my friends went to school to be physical therapists. In gross anatomy (dissecting a human cadaver) their cadaver was, uhhhhh, excited. So they named him Mr. Happy. The cadaver, not the unit.

The sick SOBs wanted to find out why he was excited after the class was over, so they went to town with the scalpels to find out. Silicon implants. Personally, I thought that the scalpel thing was something you never do, discuss, or even think about, even with a cadaver.

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#68808 - 10/02/2002 12:57 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11063
Loc: Sterling, VA
I don't know who you hang out with, but I almost never hear that term used. I have heard it, but very rarely. I've heard other slang terms far more than that one.

By the way, everyone here seems to be saying that the Mr Men books didn't exist in the US. Of course it did! I loved those books!
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Matt

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#68809 - 10/02/2002 13:03 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: Dignan]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 29607
Loc: Seattle, WA
I have heard it, but very rarely. I've heard other slang terms far more than that one.

I wasn't trying to say that it was more common than other slang terms. I meant that it was interesting because it's well known at all. In the US, if I say something like "Mister Happy hasn't had any action in two weeks", almost every US adult will know what I'm referring to. It's only interesting because it comes from a specifc stand-up comedy bit by a specific comic artist.

Can anyone think of any other pop culture terms/phrases that fall into the same category? Ones that can be traced directly back to a single utterance?
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Tony Fabris

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#68810 - 10/02/2002 13:17 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11063
Loc: Sterling, VA
Haha, true. Then again, to most males, a phrase like:

"___ hasn't seen any action in two weeks"

They'll understand no matter what word you replace with ___
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Matt

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#68811 - 12/02/2002 22:44 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
Heather
addict

Registered: 14/01/2002
Posts: 502
Loc: NY

Can anyone think of any other pop culture terms/phrases that fall into the same category? Ones that can be traced directly back to a single utterance?


15 minutes of fame springs to mind first. I'll probably think of a few more sometime, maybe I'll even get a chance to post them. This management thing kinda sucks, I liked being lower on the totem pole a bit more.
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Heather

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." -Susan B Anthony

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#68812 - 12/02/2002 22:53 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
``Oh! The Humanity!''
``Not that there's anything wrong with that.''
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Bitt Faulk

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#68813 - 12/02/2002 23:38 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: wfaulk]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7006
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
Just three off the very tippy top of my head (and from 3 different decades, no less!)

"Where's the Beef?"

"No soup for you!"

"Wuzzzzaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!"
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- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#68814 - 13/02/2002 13:26 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: wfaulk]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 29607
Loc: Seattle, WA
Good examples, everyone.

I don't count "Wazuuuuuup" because that's going to last, at maximum, another six months.

"15 Minutes of Fame" (Andy Warhol) is a perfect example of what I'm talking about, thanks.

The "Oh the humanity" is of course, from the newscaster reporting on the Hindenburg disaster. But where does "Not that there's anything wrong with that" trace back to?
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Tony Fabris

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#68815 - 13/02/2002 13:39 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
An episode of Seinfeld where Jerry and George get outed, despite the fact that they're not gay. They try to figure out a way to refute the charges while not appearing prejudiced against homosexuality. So every time one of them says some thing along the lines of ``We're not gay'', the other says ``not that there's anything wrong with that''.

Obviously, that's a phrase that had been used before for other random things, but its association with ``anti-homophobe not gay-ness'' stems completely from that episode of Seinfeld.
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Bitt Faulk

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#68816 - 13/02/2002 23:22 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: wfaulk]
genixia
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/02/2002
Posts: 3411
In celebration of Mssrs Bump, Tickle and Happy, I am pleased to provide a bmp of said gentlemen that can be logoised by logoedit.


Attachments
69119-mrmen.bmp (78 downloads)

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Mk2a 60GB Blue. Serial 030102962 sig.mp3: File Format not Valid.

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#68817 - 14/02/2002 00:19 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11063
Loc: Sterling, VA
Can anyone think of any other pop culture terms/phrases that fall into the same category?

Actually, my roommate and I have been attempting to spread one ourselves. Does anyone here watch Batman Beyond? It seems that the writers have developed their own slang for the high schoolers in the show: "Schway"

They replace the word for "cool" wherever it would pop up. It's really wierd but now my roommate and I want to see it catch on
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Matt

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#68818 - 14/02/2002 17:11 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 4876
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Can anyone think of any other pop culture terms/phrases that fall into the same category? Ones that can be traced directly back to a single utterance?

Well, sort of tangentially related...

What has to be the most memorably effective television commercial of all time... I can just about guarantee that after you read the magical first five words, you will be able to sing every word of the commercial, and close your eyes and see the commercial play in your mind. (Probably North American only -- I doubt that other areas of the world were exposed to it.) When you consider that it has not been aired commercially in over 20 years, the staying power of this ad is extraordinary. OK, are we ready?

"My bologna has a first name..."

tanstaafl.

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#68819 - 14/02/2002 17:14 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tanstaafl.]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 29607
Loc: Seattle, WA
Okay, but does anyone have some that aren't from TV commercials? Like the Andy Warhol quote, or the Hindenburg quote.
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Tony Fabris

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#68820 - 14/02/2002 17:23 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: tfabris]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
The President of the United States ordered me to break through the Japanese lines and proceed from Corregidor to Australia for the purpose, as I understand it, of organizing the American offensive against Japan, a primary objective of which is the relief of the Philippines. I came through and I shall return.
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Brad B.

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#68821 - 14/02/2002 17:25 Re: Origins of "Mister Happy"? [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 29607
Loc: Seattle, WA
Ah, yes, good one.
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Tony Fabris

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