Anyone have pointers or ideas as to the origin and history of the locution "what to my surprise", as in
While riding in my Cadillac
What to my surprise
A little Nash Rambler was following me
About one third my size
-- "Beep, Beep" (American version) song recorded by The Playmates,
Roulette Records, 1958.
In my experience, the idiom is almost always used whimsically, and with an air of slight condescention, just as above. A friend disagrees and thinks it is simply a British variation of the basic phrase, "to my surprise", connoting nothing more.
Can anyone say more about this, or point me to a source that might specialize in the history of such variations? Opinions as to differential "flavor" would also be welcomed, esp. from anyone with knowledge of both British and American English.
Boulder, Colorado, USA