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Bet your sweet Bippy

Posted by Graham Cambray on February 21, 2009 at 23:46

In Reply to: Bet your sweet Bippy posted by ESC on February 21, 2009 at 23:01:

: : : : : : : : "Bet your sweet Bippy" comes from the childrens books written by my grandmother Elizabeth Downing Barnitz in the 1940's "Bippy" and "Bippy Rides Again". A Bippy is an elf.

: : : : : : : Do you know this? I mean, obviously you know who "Bippy" was in your grandmother's books, but do you know that Rowan and Martin were referring to that character, rather than just coincidentally making up the same word? It seems unlikely, the more so as the "Bippy" books doen't seem to have had a wide circulation (Amazon has one copy, and ABEBooks finds no copies at all world-wide)and it would have been an extremely obscure reference for them to make. (VSD)

: : : : : : ------------

: : : : : : I'm a fairly recent grandfather and - please don't laugh at me - thought it would be fun to get some of the story books I remembered my parents reading to me, so I could read them to my grandaughter. Helluva job. I have managed to get old copies of some of them, but most seem to have disappeared without trace, even those which were "standards" 50 years ago.

: : : : : : It would be interesting, Susan, to know when the Bippy books were published - over what range of years - and whether it would have included the time that Rowan and Martin (or perhaps their scriptwriters) were in their formative years? In which case, a link would perhaps seem more likely. Assuming the books were published in the US, that is. I still remember odd phrases from my early childhood books (although I'm not going to embarrass myself by reciting them).

: : : : : : Thank you for contributing this information to the forum.

: : : : : : Victoria, you would know this if anyone does - does "Bippy" have any other connotations (i.e. other than an elf's name)? (GC)

: : : : : A thousand apologies - I'm clearly not paying attention. You said 1940s. Rowan and Martin were both born in 1922 (hell, doesn't time fly). I guess that doesn't rule out scriptwriters in their twenties (in 1968), but certainly Digby Wolfe (a Brit, in turns out), credited as being the creator of the show, was only 3 years younger than R&M. (GC)

: : : : Oh dear! I'm twice the fool today! I really should have checked the archive on this site. ESC contibuted this five years ago:
: : : : Here's all I've found:

: : : : BIPPY - A jocular euphemism for ass, as in "bet your (sweet) bippy) by Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, an NBC-TV comedy series. It was discussed, this reference tells us, in "Comments on Ety.", in Jan. 1982, but none of the discussion is included. From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.

: : : : However, if R&M instituted this broadcastable euphemism, this still leaves some issues open. (GC)

: : : ****

: : : I wouldn't doubt that someone casting around for a word might reach back to a children's book. In any event, found bippy in another reference:

: : : bippy n. (1960s) (orig. US) a synon. for ASS (cf. ARSE n.) esp. in phr. you can bet your (sweet) bippy. (coined on NBC-TV's Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, c 1967) -- "Cassell's Dictionary of Slang" by Jonathon Green (Wellington House, London, 1998). Page 92.

: : : All of which reminds me that for years, years I tell you, I have been trying to get a copy of The Ultimate TV Catchphrase Book by Brian Hartigan. And Encyclopedia of TV Catchphrases by Brian Hartigan. Not sure what the deal is. Seems like it is always coming soon or something. Going to go search online and see if it has become available when I wasn't looking.

: : : Also, there is a site that s pecializes in hunting up old children's books for people. If I can find the link, I'll post it. While we are on that subject, I've been trying to find a children's story from my youth. Kingdom of people with huge feet. A princess is born with small feet. She is driven out of the kingdom and finds out that she was the normal one after all.

: : : ****

: : Thanks, ESC. The story you refer to soun ds a little like The Story of Fairyfoot by Frances Brown, but sort of switched round. There's text at
: : : ****

: Fairyfoot. That rings a bell. The story is different from what I remembered. But I believe that's it! I've been looking for it forever.


Cool!, and a link at the bottom for one of her books (rather than an anthology). (GC)