Who'da thunk it?

Posted by Smokey Stover on October 11, 2003

In Reply to: Who'da thunk it? posted by Smokey Stover on September 23, 2003

Mrs. Stover has reminded me that not only is "Who'd a thunk it?" is not only a phrase from the mouth of a real dummy, but we actually know which dummy. In the '30s and '40s one of the most popular radio shows in the U.S. was "Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy," jokes and sneering by Charlie, voice by Edgar (father of Candice). Besides the cosmopolitan Charlie, Edgar had another dummy, Mortimer Snerd, a country rube dressed like the hayseed he was. He was a very dumb dummy, and was always amazed and awed by the marvels of the modern world, none of which he could understand. So "Who'd a thunk it?" are Snerd's words. And anyone old enough to have heard Snerd's words will remember his most enduring contribution to the English language, namely, "Duh!" You may have noted that some junior philologists have assigned the word elsewhere, but they are too young to have heard Snerd. Perhaps some venerable reader of this discussion remembers more exactly what Snerd said, or who else might have said what I remember as Snerd's words. In any case, "Duh!" is universally recognized as meaning something like: "You drooling idiot, why do you have to repeat what's obvious!