April 17, 2013

"Holus-bolus."

Meade says. What?

"It means 'All together; entirely; without modification.'"

Is that some kind of official "Word of the Day"? No, just a word that came up on his screen-saver. So let it be our Word of the Day here. Try to use it today, please. And if you hear someone else use it, scream.
Etymology

Unknown. Possibly of Ancient Greek origin, from ὅλος (“whole”) and βόλος (“a throw with a casting net”), or βῶλος (“lump”). May have been Latinized (i.e., -us ending as in masculine singular in Latin, as opposed to -os ending for masculine singular in Greek).
That reminds me: Lumpy died.

Also: the word "bolus" comes up a lot in Mary Roach's very entertaining book "Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal":
Yes, men and women eat meals. But they also ingest nutrients. They grind and sculpt them into a moistened bolus that is delivered, via a stadium wave of sequential contractions, into a self-kneading sack of hydrochloric acid and then dumped into a tubular leach field, where it is converted into the most powerful taboo in human history. Lunch is an opening act.


I love the way June is just planted there and the other characters come in one by one: Wally delivers his lines, Beaver gets the biggest laugh, and then there's Ward. Ward was the TV dad I wanted for my father. He's jaunty, but always appropriately fatherly. And remarkably erudite. He makes a reference that I don't even get: "I think [Fred] has the idea that this party may make Lumpy the Lucius Beebe of Mayfield."

Lucius Beebe? Meade Googles to Wikipedia:
Lucius Morris Beebe (December 9, 1902 – February 4, 1966) was an American author, gourmand, photographer, railroad historian, journalist, and syndicated columnist....

A noted boulevardier, Beebe had an impressive and baroque wardrobe. Beebe's clothing included 40 suits, at least two mink-lined overcoats, numerous top hats and bowlers, a collection of doeskin gloves, walking sticks and a substantial gold nugget watch chain....

In 1940, Beebe met Charles Clegg while both were houseguests at the Washington, D.C. home of Evalyn Walsh McLean. The two soon developed a personal and professional relationship that continued for the rest of Beebe's life. By the standards of the era, the homosexual relationship Beebe and Clegg shared was relatively open and well-known....
So Ward was perhaps saying — for those in the know — that Lumpy was gay. Holus-bolus!

70 comments:

DADvocate said...

I have no idea what it's about but I just want to be the first to say garage, rhitmo and inga are idiots.

Ann Althouse said...

LOL.

I really screwed up.

Hope the restoration is... well, maybe it's better.

ndspinelli said...

Lumpy's dad, Fred Rutherford, was gay.

Michael said...

I highly recommend Lucius Beebe's look at the parties and other excesses of the Gilded Age, The Big Spenders. If for nothing else, for the photo of a dinner party where the guests were seated on horseback, with full silver service on the saddle and a tuxedo-clad waiter holding the reins.

EMD said...

People often dismiss "Leave it to Beaver" as a relic of a stiff, un-nuanced age where parents were always right and virtuous, sadly missing that the entire point-of-view of the story is through Beaver and Wally's eyes — a children's world in which in most cases, even today, parents are always right and virtuous.

SteveR said...

Lumpy's dad, Fred Rutherford, was gay.

What difference, at this point, does it make?

Inga said...

Ha, who is the idiot? You spelled Ritmo wrong.

Lumpy didn't die because he ate his ham sandwich as a wholeus bolus and it got stuck in his throatus, I hope.

C Stanley said...

My holus-bolus sentence got eaten by the internet. Maybe not worth repeating but here goes:

Dr.Gosnell is being charged with murder because the babies precipitated holus-bolus and were subsequently "snipped" to ensure their "demise."

David said...

ndspinelli said...
Lumpy's dad, Fred Rutherford, was gay.


And yet, there was lumpy.

bagoh20 said...

Those hats were the fanny packs of their day - good capacity, easy to carry, funny looking. At least they made you tall rather than fat.

john said...

Two push lawnmowers. Wow.

edutcher said...

It's not as funny to say "Holus Bolus in Hohokus".

Chuck Currie said...

I think Ward's reference was more "Bon Vivant", than gay...of course, it could be both...and you could be one without being the other.

Cheers

Gabriel Hanna said...

"holus bolus" => "all balls".

It's like dog-Latin.

SeanF said...

The most erotic words ever spoken on broadcast television: "Gee, Ward, don't you think you were a little rough on the Beaver last night?"

David said...

Holus Bolus would have been a good song for Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

dreams said...

Fifty fourth on waiting list at my local library for Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think Ward's reference was more "Bon Vivant", than gay...of course, it could be both...and you could be one without being the other."

The strange thing is that it's an episode where Lumpy induces Wally to stay overnight, when Wally is not supposed to, and it all has to do with a stain on the carpet.

Also Beaver's laugh line is that the best kind of party is one without girls.

For all I know there was a big and deliberate gay subtext.

ndspinelli said...

David, I should have said the actor who played Fred Rutherford, Richard Deacon, was gay. NTTAWWT. I think Frank Bank was a switch hitter.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not saying Ward was homophobic. As you know, I love Ward, and I don't want to seem to be slurring him.

Here's how I read the gay subtext (assuming the gay subtext). Lumpy really is gay, but he's a young gay guy that hasn't figured out how to do it well, and Ward is saying that his father (Fred) is trying to help Lumpy through the awkward stage into a socially successful and moderately open gay lifestyle (in the manner of Lucius Beebe).

ndspinelli said...

Did Harvey Fierstein pen that episode?

ndspinelli said...

EVERYONE was homophobic back then. Let's not be a historical revisionist here.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's the whole episode -- holus-bolus -- if you want to check out the theory.

Chip Ahoy said...

Hi Wally yakitty yak, hi Beaver yakity yak, hi Ward yakity yak, damn, I'm the slowest apple peeler in the whole world, this pie will never get done. Psych! There never was a pie.

EMD said...

Lumpy's life is sit-com hard.

Chip Ahoy said...

Oh Honey, I don't know what's for dinner on Friday, that's too early, why, I haven't even ordered anything yet.

You can order groceries delivered. I did that when I broke my femur. The drag of it is you cannot see the things you'd like to pick out. You like to pick out your own zucchini and Napa cabbages and such. I said, "about 24 mushrooms" and the guy brought 24 LBS. So when I healed that was a big thing, that I could go and see what is available. You know, besides pizza and Chinese.

Oh man, that reminds me I have a 1/2 chile Philly in the fridge. They're right across the street so I can go hoppity hop BLAM sandwich.

St. George said...

Lumpy is dead. He went to the great detention hall in the sky this past weekend.

Anne B. said...

Lumpy "was the closest thing the cheerful series had to a bad guy..."

Sorry, Eddie Haskell was way worse. What the TVtropes people call a smug snake.

Shana said...

Beau Brummell

David said...

ndspinelli said...
EVERYONE was homophobic back then. Let's not be a historical revisionist here.


Not really. There were men in our community who were known to be homosexual, including a well respected English teacher. Many people accepted them for whom and what they were, and mocking or insults were not not appreciated. I'm sure not everyone took that attitude, but many did.

This was in a conservative Republican suburb in the late 1950's and early 1960's.

traditionalguy said...

Of course the Science proclaimed Big Bang Theory declares that all there is came out of a holus bolus that erupted into space. That is a very masculine thought indeed.

I suspect that the God Particle (sometimes called the Holiest Boliest) first did that when He begat His Son.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I don't get this weird tendency or mania to find sexual subtext in everything you see and to try to equate everything with being gay.

I remember taking a course in college: I think it was an anthropology or sociology related course and one of the books we were required to read was Subliminal Seduction . You were supposed to see sexual images subliminal in advertisements. We went into great depths of discussion about the nuances of some ice cubes and the way people held their glasses etc etc etc. The instructor just insisted that we see sex in every image. Sheesh. Even back then in the early 70's I thought it was total bullshit. Over analysis, to the max. What a freaking waste of time some of those classes were. Sometimes a photo of ice cubes or a cookie or onion rings is... just... a ...photo.

Do advertisers use sexuality and make subliminal suggestions. Sure. I usually don't see it unless it is screamingly obvious. I guess I'm just too literal. However, to see this in everything and almost every action....seems unbalanced to me anyway. .

Chip S. said...

Do I want to live in a world where everyone does yard work in collared shirts and the housewives flaunt their pearl necklaces all day?

I think so.

Shana said...

I had a literature professor who thought that Dante's Inferno was a giant vagina.

Hagar said...

You want to be careful with some of the weed they sell on the street these days.

Dave D said...

I'm pretty sure Ward's reference to Beebe is poking at Lumpy becoming a socialite. Beebe seems to have been (in the mind of a 1950's US adult) a very socially active person. The idea that he was openly gay was beyond consideration for a lot of people back then. A gay slur or reference would have been censored out, I would think. Of course, I am probably clueless and lost on an inside joke here. Apologies if so.

Ann Althouse said...

"I said, "about 24 mushrooms" and the guy brought 24 LBS."

Are you writing a sitcom? I Love Chip?

That didn't happen!

Remember when Lucy bought a side of beef, thinking it was like a side of bacon?

rcommal said...

Chip Ahoy, I was thinking the same thing. On a bad day, I'm pretty sure I could peel at least three apples during the course of those conversations.

Ann Althouse said...

"Sorry, Eddie Haskell was way worse."

Why did Wally have such bad friends?

Evidence of the gay subtext? Wally, Lumpy, and Eddie were, one could theorize, all gay, and the lesson to be perceived was: If you are gay, try to be a Wally. Lumpy and Eddie are the wrong way to be gay. My theory works best if you think that Lumpy and Eddie represent 2 negative stereotypes about gay gays.

Ann Althouse said...

@DBQ Well, hell, you were the one who took the college course on the subject. I'm just speculating for amusement here on a blog. Who's the maniac?

Chip S. said...

The slow peeling represents the nonlinearity of time.

rcommal said...

You can get at least one Google result for almost anything these days, including for "24 Pounds of Mushrooms." Dang. Seriously.

Not necessarily a useful result, of course.

rcommal said...

Remember when Lucy bought a side of beef, thinking it was like a side of bacon?

LOL.

rcommal said...

The slow peeling represents the nonlinearity of time.

That, or Mrs. Cleaver had weak wrists.

Ann Althouse said...

The question of whether advertisers insert sexual subliminal images is completely different from whether teleplay-writers put a subtext in their stories.

Advertisers are all about selling the product. What works?

Teleplay writers are trying to amuse lots of different people (and keep themselves amused and energetic). The Cleavers had to be super-wholesome, which might have been mind-numbing to the relatively hip people who did the writing. They probably had their jokes and ideas about the backstories for these characters. They might have thought there were some hipper people in the audience who would get some jokes that had some edge. They had Ward name Lucius Beebe. What did that mean?

Chip S. said...

i never realized how gay this show was.

With a central character with That Name, I always thought it was about Oedipal fantasies.

Will Cate said...

So... Beebe and Clegg were known to occasionally keen the snuggums?

Chip S. said...

They had Ward name Lucius Beebe. What did that mean?

I've heard that they originally had him pronounce it as "luscious", but the S&P folks cut it.

wyo sis said...

I admit to being a little naive about sex, but until recently, when the sexual preferences of other people has become a political tool, sexual orientation wasn't part of the way I saw things. It would never have occurred to me to look for a hidden sexual message in Leave it to Beaver. Even with that title.
Maybe it's always been there among the "in-the-know" people. If so, it's kind of sad to be so obsessed.

Chip S. said...

The Cleavers had to be super-wholesome, which might have been mind-numbing to the relatively hip people who did the writing.

Excellent theory, Althouse. Alas, not entirely consistent w/ the wikifacts:

Leave It to Beaver took their dictum of writing about "things we know" to a new level. Connelly, the father of seven children, and Mosher, the father of two, had to look no further than their own homes for inspiration. Connelly's 14-year-old son, Jay, served as the model for Beaver's older brother, Wally; and Connelly's 8-year-old son, Ricky, was the inspiration for Beaver.

OTOH, this may support your theory:

[Beaver was] the nickname of one of Connelly's merchant marine shipmates.

When stereotypes collide!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@DBQ Well, hell, you were the one who took the college course on the subject. I'm just speculating for amusement here on a blog. Who's the maniac?

It was a mandatory class to fill in the units required, didn't conflict with the specialized classes for my major [Meso American Anthropology-Archeology].....and conveniently fit into my work schedule.

I thought the "teacher" was a maniac and the whole premise was demented. Plus, since it had nothing to do with my selected major, it was a complete waste of time :-) Good thing college was cheaper then.


Why did Wally have such bad friends?


So that Wally can be portrayed as the 'good' son who learns the correct moral lessons from his bad friends. It seems, at least as I recall, that each show ended up with a moral lesson that the audience was to learn.

We didn't watch the show much or really much television in those days late 50's as we were constantly moving and in some places didn't have television reception and half the year each year was often spent in another country. Saw the show in reruns.

C Stanley said...


Teleplay writers are trying to amuse lots of different (and keep themselves amused and energetic). The Cleavers had to be super-wholesome, which might have been mind-numbing to the relatively hip people who did the writing. They probably had their jokes and ideas about the backstories for these characters. They might have thought there were some hipper people in the audience who would get some jokes that had some edge. They had Ward name Lucius Beebe. What did that mean?

4/17/13, 12:04 PM


This strikes me as the left's equivalent of the Moral Majority looking for homosexual propaganda in the Teletubbies. The social conservatives search for hidden meaning as evidence of an evil mind control plot while lefties search for signs that writers and producers are cool, not lame.

CarolMR said...

Eddie Haskell is the most unforgettable TV character ever. Ken Osmond went on to become an LA cop and was shot twice during his service. Handsome Hugh Beaumont was a staunch Republican and a Baptist minister.

Oclarki said...

In keeping with 1950s moral sensibilities, did people know Liberace was gay?

Oclarki said...

In keeping with 1950s moral sensibilities, did people know Liberace was gay?

C Stanley said...

In keeping with 1950s moral sensibilities, did people know Liberace was gay?

4/17/13, 12:34 PM

I think there were a lot of open secrets. It was sort of "Don't ask, don't tell,", writ large.

EMD said...

That, or Mrs. Cleaver had weak wrists.

Or was weak-willed and ultimately unsatisfied with her stultifyingly oppressive suburban housewife life.

Oh, how June longed for her own personal Bacchanalia, where her desires could run free, unfettered by long, smooth arms of the starched white collar gestapo.

Shana said...

Will Cate, I was still laughing as I washed dishes.

Ann Althouse said...

"Excellent theory, Althouse. Alas, not entirely consistent w/ the wikifacts..."

I don't see the inconsistency.

Ann Althouse said...

"So... Beebe and Clegg were known to occasionally keen the snuggums?"

Holus-bolus is the secret word of the day for Althouse insiders, but if you really want to signal that you know what's happening, you'll refer to keening the snuggums.

Ann Althouse said...

Writing credits for this episode:

Joe Connelly creator
Joe Connelly supervisor
Dick Conway written by
Roland MacLane written by
Bob Mosher creator
Bob Mosher supervisor

I'm assuming the work was done by Dick Conway and Roland MacLane. Better search out what was going on with them.

roadgeek said...

Beebe's books are considered the gold standard in the rail buff community. He wrote one about short lines, which was his special interest, which I hope to acquire some day.

The reference to Beebe in that episode illustrates something my wife and I have often noticed in watching old television series or movies; the writers often just assumed that the audience would understand a reference they had a character make. The vocabulary used by the characters was often broader than today.

We suspect audiences back then were far more literate, and the references weren't often lost. I read recently that the last TV series to write for an audience this was was "Cheers", and I concur.

dreams said...

"In keeping with 1950s moral sensibilities, did people know Liberace was gay?"

I can remember in the fifties watching TV as Liberace and his mother were talking about some music or maybe a work of art and he turned and said to his mother, remember mother how we both wept. I knew he was a sissie but I was too innocent back then to know that he was gay.

Chip S. said...

I'm assuming the work was done by Dick Conway and Roland MacLane.

That assumption is greatly at variance w/ how tv shows are actually written. The "writer" of an episode is someone who is responsible for writing a first draft of a script based on a story line agreed upon by the show runner--in this case almost certainly both Mosher and Connelly. The credited writers may have been the ones who first wrote the "Lucius Beebe" joke, but it wouldn't have stayed in w/o approval by the runners.

It's clear from the wiki that neither of the show's two principals were "relatively hip" even by the standards of the 1950s. And since they are reputed to have come up w/stories and lines from their own family lives, it seems unlikely that they found the material "mind-numbing".

Obviously none of that proves that some staff writer wasn't able to work in some gay in-jokes, but your conjecture is far more fanciful than the one you posited initially that was based on a roomful of hopelessly bored Lenny Bruce fans chafing at having to write drivel.

The Godfather said...

In the '50's I didn't know Liberace was gay (I was 6-16 in that decade), because I didn't know there was such a thing as gay. We knew "queer", but we really didn't think that was a way people were, it was rather a way they acted. In the latter part of the decade I thought that queers were just too weak or afraid to go after girls. I thought Liberace seemed like a nice guy who played the piano, and wasn't it nasty for some people to say he was queer?

I didn't watch Leave It To Beaver in those days, but in the early 00's someone said that I was an "Eddie Haskell", so eventually I got around to watching Leave It on cable. It was actually a very nice, low-key family comedy. I remember one episode in which The Beaver (or maybe it was his brother) had to write an essay for school about his mother, and June very cheerfully explained that she'd never gone to college or "worked outside the home", she was "just" a wife and mother. It made you think, don't you know?

ampersand said...

Fwee Fwee Fwee. Is that the sound of a gay dog whistle? Better avoid Laurel and Hardy films. The boys are often caught in the same bed together. The 3 stooges too.

"In keeping with 1950s moral sensibilities, did people know Liberace was gay?"
Well apparently an 50s English jury didn't think so. Awarding Liberace 8000 pounds in a libel judgement.

ndspinelli said...

ChipS, With the knockout! I thought Annie was an authority on EVERYTHING. In reality, she doesn't know shit from shinola. Even Titus knows shit.

Michael said...

"Oh, how June longed for her own personal Bacchanalia, where her desires could run free, unfettered by long, smooth arms of the starched white collar gestapo."

Well, as we later learned, she did speak jive.

EMD said...

We suspect audiences back then were far more literate, and the references weren't often lost. I read recently that the last TV series to write for an audience this was was "Cheers", and I concur.

Arrested Development?

Dante said...

So Ward was perhaps saying — for those in the know — that Lumpy was gay.

I met a guy who did advertising for Johnson and Johnson, and the value of the label is so high it was next to impossible to get any advertising out. Can't risk damage to the label.

Target isn't so careful, and they let out "Manatee Grey."

Maybe you are right and the "Leave it to Beaver" folks didn't care so much about their image as a wholesome family program, and some stupid faggot writer let out his personal views to say phxu to the people paying his salary. Disgusting.

If you are wrong, then what are your motives? And more importantly, who cares? Acceptance of homosexuality isn't "Enlightened," or "Progressive." It's happened in a lot of failed civilizations.

I wish I knew more, but I suspect it is a harbinger of decline.

And lest you misunderstand, I don't care a rats ass where you shove your show, so long as you keep it zipped around me.