Posted by ESC on September 01, 2003
In Reply to: 23 skidoo posted by James Briggs on September 01, 2003
: : Can Anyone explain 23 skidoo? My grand dad used to say it all the time. I know what it means, but why 23 and skidoo? Why not 22 skidoo? At least they rhyme.
: Type 23 skidoo in the search box at the top for previous discussion.
There are several theories. Like Mr. Briggs said, you can access previous discussions by searching the archives. Here's one theory:
23 SKIDOO - From "Who Put the Butter in Butterfly?" by David Feldman, Harper & Row: "Why is the only number you see before skidoo 23? Who would have thought that this breezy bit of slang has lofty roots? It does, in Charles Dickens 'Tale of Two Cities.' The hero of this sad novel is Sidney Carton, who is the twenty-third of a multitude executed by the guillotine. In the last act of the theatrical adaptation, 'The Only Way,' an old woman sits at the foot of the guillotine, calmly counting heads as they are lopped off. The only recognition or dignity afforded Carton as he meets his fate is the old woman emotionlessly saying 'twenty-three' as he is beheaded. 'Twenty-three' quickly became a popular catchphrase among the theater community in the early twentieth century, often used to mean, 'It's time to leave while the getting is good.' Cartoonist T.A. Dorgan combined 'twenty-three' with 'skidoo.' Skidoo was simply a fanciful variant of 'skedaddle.'" (Skedaddle, according to "The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang" by Tony Thorne, Pantheon Books, originated in the American Civil War and ".suggestions have been made as to the word's derivation; it is probably a form of a dialect version of 'scatter' or 'scuttle.'")