I sent Son-in-law-who-cooks an e-mail the other day. As usual it was seeking computer help so I began “It's that man again”. After I had written that I realised the phrase probably meant nothing to him. 'It's That Man Again' (or, commonly, ITMA) was a BBC radio comedy programme which ran from 1939 to 1949. The title was a contemporary phrase referring to ever more frequent news-stories about Hitler in the lead-up to World War II, and specifically a headline in the Daily Express written by Bert Gunn. This was humorously transferred to Tommy Handley, the popular comedian around whom the programme was developed. The scripts were written by the prolific Ted Kavanagh. "ITMA" is believed to have played a major role in sustaining morale on the UK's 'home front' during the Second World War. I'm sure I remember ITMA being on the radio – perhaps it was repeated during my early life (I was born in 1949). If not, I certainly know a lot of it from Mum and Dad's references to it.
Tommy Handley - it's that man again...
Other catchphrases I remember from ITMA include:-
"I don't mind if I do" – Colonel Humphrey Chinstrap's catchphrase, spoken by Jack Train, turning any remark into an offer of a drink. The origin of this catchphrase precedes ITMA, but was nevertheless popularised by ITMA.
"Can I do you now, Sir?" – Spoken by Dorothy Summers as Mrs Mopp the office char.
"It's being so cheerful as keeps me going" – Mona Lott, a depressed laundry-woman played by Joan Harben.
"But I'm all right now" – Hattie Jacques' character Sophie Tuckshop, after describing a long list of food she had eaten.
"TTFN (Ta ta for now)" – Spoken by Dorothy Summers' character, Mrs Mopp. From 1939, initialisms, previously rarely used except by the military, were heard more frequently by the British public. ITMA satirized them by coining TTFN, a "pointless" initialism (no easier to say than the phrase on which it was based).
My first postcrossing postcard is on its way to Finland. Once it is received I join the queue to receive one.
I've just bought a children's book that I loved as tiny child. I used to borrow it from Childwall Library on a regular basis. It's called “Slimtail's” (the author's apostrophe, not mine). It's about a family of mice and their pet weevil, Edwin. If you look closely at the cover you can see Edwin on the right. Having read the first story I was amused to see that I remembered it well – notwithstanding an intervening fifty five years or so. Ironic that nowadays I can pick up a novel in the library and be half-way through before I realise I've read it before.
Have a good week-end.