Rainy Day and Bowery Boy Malaprops



The Turner Classic Movie Channel on Direct TV (Channel 256 in Houston) has made it possible most Saturday mornings to renew one of my Pecan Park kid day trips to the old Avalon Theater for a little more than hour each weekend. That’s the time that TCM likes to show us one of the old Bowery Boy movies from the 1940s and 1950s that many of us sufficiently wizened ones first saw at the weekly double feature that was popular back then. I love it. One Bowery Boys movie is better than nothing,

As kids, we didn’t really “get” the joke behind most of Leo Gorcey’s ongoing misuses of the English language as the leader of the Bowery Boys. To us, his “Slip Mahoney” character just seemed to know a lot of big words that were beyond our 6-10 year old comprehension. We thought it was funny when “Slip” got mad at the stupidity of his Huntz Hall sidekick “Sach” – always showing his unhappiness by removing his hat and slapping Sach on top of his goofy head. We were easy to please.

Here are simply a sample of some Gorcey language malaprops from this morning’s Bowery Boys movie, “Crazy Over Horses”:

In “Crazy Over Horses”, the Bowery Boys act as the collection agents for Louie Dumbrowsky, the sweet old guy who owns “Louie’s Sweet Shop” down in the Bowery. Louie was owed $200 he had loaned to a fellow named Flynn that was now two years overdue in 1951.

  1. As Slip and Sach arrive at Flynn’s business door, Slip reminds Sach that “we ain’t going to let no sob stories deteriorate us from our point of attack.”
  2. Once inside, Slip firmly informs debtor Flynn that “as certified collection agents for Mr. Dumbrowsky, “we are willing to disintegrate” the terms of settlement.
  3. Eying Flynn’s beautiful young adult daughter for the first time, Slip offers his opinion of the girl: “Very demolishing!
  4. At a later point, Slip wants Sach to keep quiet about something, but it comes out as: “I told you once to shut up and now I’m going to re-irrigate my point.”
  5. Slip: “Pardon my diminuendo.”
  6. Slip: “We’ve got a lot of loose ends left that need to be dissipated.”
  7. Slip: “We’ve got a score we need to extemporaneously settle with dem horse-thieving crooks.”
  8. Slip: “I got a plan for getting even with those crooks. Maybe I need to regurgitate the details to you guys again.”
  9. Slip (making dinner speech at the movie’s happy ending with a toast to “My Girl”, their winning horse in the big race): “Partners, and guest of honor, we are gathered here tonight to inebriate each and every one of you for the untiring efforts that you each put forth in bringing this case to a successful delusion. We have gone through thick and thin together and, once more, we have submerged victorious.”

The Bowery Boys. Simpler times. Simple movie struggles between good and evil. With the lovable good guys always winning with a closing laugh at the abrupt “The End” sign as the dark screen that quickly faded to black at the end of each Saturday double feature, with serial and cartoon, all now delivered for 9 cents admission and 15 cents for popcorn and a coke. If our joy back then was a childhood delusion, it was a real fun-run for us simple taste post-WWII sandlotters. After we got home, it was time to go submerge ourselves again in another game of sandlot ball before the sun went down. Then we could regurgitate the whole thing again the following Saturday. Yes. No question. A kid’s joy can be the greatest inebriator that any of us will ever consume or inhale. And little did we know then – what we all learn well over time – if we live that long. – Many things in life just don’t get better with age. We must either finally seek our joy in wisdom – or suffer from our refusal to do so. Like it or not, egos of the world, that’s just the way it works.

Have a joy-inebriating weekend everybody!


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas


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3 Responses to “Rainy Day and Bowery Boy Malaprops”

  1. gregclucas Says:

    Thing is…some people had no idea they were using any of those words wrong, but were impressed with Mahoney’s extinguished vocabulary.

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    “Crazy Over Horses” was a family affair with Leo Gorcey’s father, Bernard Gorcey, playing Louie Dumbrowski. Leo’s brother David played Chuck, but appeared in the screen credits as David Condon (his mother’s maiden name).

  3. Rick B. Says:

    Phillies manager Danny Ozark once was asked if his team’s morale might be a problem. His answer was, “This team’s morality is not a factor.”
    Another time, as the Pirates were gaining on the first-place Phillies, Ozark pointed out that “Even Napoleon had his Watergate.”

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