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Goodnight vienna

Posted by R. Berg on January 29, 2001

In Reply to: Goodnight vienna posted by marcus on January 28, 2001

: : Generally means ..its all over, as in, and then it was Goodnight Vienna. I know its a song, and been used by one football commentator, but what was its origin?

: I think Don Meredith was refering to the Wagnerian fat lady of the Austrian opera. He also refered to a song "Good Night Irene" in his color commentary towards the end of a football game that should have been terminated early on.

Eric Partridge, Dictionary of Catch Phrases: American and British, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day, has an entry for it:
"good night, Vienna" comes from the title of a romantic operetta, 1932, book and lyrics by Eric Maschwitz, music by George Posford, the whole serving as a vehicle for Richard Tauber. 'Its main song was "Good night, Vienna" (you city of a million melodies)' (Ronald Pearsall, 1975). As a [catch phrase] it has been described by Cyril Whelan, 1975, as 'a pen-knife phrase, in that it can be put to a variety of different uses-often apparently contradictory. "If the officer catches us up to this, it's Good Night, Vienna, for the lot of us."-"So I met the girl. We had a few drinks. Back to her place, and Good Night, Vienna".' Its appeal and currency are due only to the fact that it's mildly pleasing to the tongue in a racy sort of way and bounces quite happily on the ear of the listener.