phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Facebook  Twitter


Posted by R. Berg on June 23, 2001

In Reply to: Bunkie posted by ESC on June 23, 2001

: : : : : : : : : What was the origin of "Is that your problem, Bunky?" I have a fuzzy memory of a recorded comedy routine: a creaky male voice, possibly with music, delivering a sort of pep talk that sounded like a parody of sales pitches for home remedies. Was this a radio or TV routine? Name of performer? A search on Google reveals only that many people say "Is that your problem, Bunky (sometimes Binky)?" when posting on bulletin boards, especially the ones about making your computer behave.

: : : : : : : : I have that same fuzzy memory -- there was a TV ad featuring a man's funny little voice. It seems that the same guy did a cartoon voice. Maybe our resident ad expert will know.

: : : : : : : Maybe he won't notice that "sales pitches for home remedies" makes little sense. You don't buy home remedies, you make them. Well, a goose-grease poultice is a home remedy if you have geese, but someone might sell goose grease to the gooseless. I should have said "patent medicines."
: : : : : : It was a novelty song from (I'd guess) the late '50s. It was a hyper salespitch that started with something like "you say you've" (list of disasters here)... "Is that what's troubling you, Bunky. Well then" (and into some patriotic sounding music) ending with "Never give up... that ship." My memory of it is fuzzy, so I went to a couple of Lyrics websites, and they were, as usual, totally useless. Does anybody know a lyrics site that atually can find lyrics?

: : : : : Lyrics sites move around a lot since they dont pay royalties to the owners.
: : : : : I will not use "fuzzy" to describe my faint recollection of that song.

: : : : My VAGUE remembrances were enhanced by a musician friend of mine.
: : : : Eddie Lawrence and Dickie Goodman in the mid fifties released a slew of comedy records--"The Untouchables", "Flying Saucer" and the one with Bunky was by Eddie Lawrence entitled "The Old Philosopher".
: : : : Lots of hits but no lyrics yet.

: : : I guess you can tell its been a very very slooooow day today at work.

: : : Here are the partial lyrics to one of the Philosopher songs. I saw that there were a series of Philosopher recordings.

: : : Hello, there, my friend.
: : : You say your old man dressed up as Santa Claus and can't get his belly
: : : through the fireplace?
: : : And you hang up a purple bulb on the tree and three thousand volts go
: : : through ya?
: : : And your brother made an animal cage out of your Erector set, and Grandma
: : : can't get out?
: : : And someone opened a window while you're sortin' stamps and all your triangles
: : : are flying around the house?
: : : And one of your gifts, a strange little shiny box, suddenly takes off and is
: : : now circling the earth at twelve-hundred miles-an-hour?

: : : Is that what's troublin' you, bunky?!?

: : : UP...

: : : ..THAT SHIPP!!!

: : Thanks, folks.

: : A sloooooow day at work? I thought you must be retiiiiiiired.

: The cartoon voice I'm remembering sounded like Droopy. I think. Anyway, Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994, has BUNKY, meaning "full of nonsense." 1918. It also has BUNKIE 1.a. Army & USMC, a bunkmate. 1858. b. student, a roommate. 1918. 2. Army, a friend, comrade. 1865. 3. used as a condescending term of direct address to a man. 1978, Superman 206: "Excuse me, bunkie. Don't you have anything useful to do?

That makes sense. One of the websites I looked at after Bruce supplied the name and title said Eddie Lawrence developed the Old Philosopher routine while he was in the military. I was wondering whether bunky/bunkie was short for bunkmate.

The Old Philos. record (I guess the first one) reached #34 on the hit parade in 1956. Mr. Lawrence is now 80 years old.

Comment Form is loading comments...