Travis Smith: my resume, bio and photosback to the main blog page
Tracker Pixel for Entry

Two months ago, I wrote definitively that Disney came up with the phrase “TTFN,” meaning, “Ta Ta For Now.”  But, as sometimes happens when I’m trying to be authoritative, I was 95% wrong.

The phrase “TTFN” does stand for “Ta Ta For Now,” and it is currently heard mostly from Tigger.  But it appeared in the media much earlier than that, in a WWII BBC radio show called “It’s That Man Again”, otherwise known as ITMA, that ran ten years from 1939 to 1949. Tommy Handley was the host of this weekly comedy show, featuring a stable of regular quirky characters and their catchphrases.

The catchphrase we’re here to learn about, “TTFN,” was part of a running joke related to the war; that, following the practice of the military, abbreviations were vigorously substituted for full words—the name of the show, ITMA, being a prime example.

The Times Online has a WW II retrospective article that says in part, “Listened to now, ITMA seems to be just a succession of feeble catchphrases. Listened to then, though, it was a succession of terrific catchphrases in a war fought with catchphrases,” and it was crazy popular, with up to forty percent of the British population tuning in.

I am told that it was Handley himself who said TTFN at the end of each episode, but I can’t find clear proof of that, and another source says it was spoken by Mrs. Mopp, the office char (cleaning lady), played by Dorothy Summers.

“TTFN” may have later have been helped to spread when it was adopted by BBC radio journalist and interviewer Jimmy Young to close his radio programme, though he himself disputes this—yet many others describe him using the phrase. Being 31 and Canadian, I can’t say one way or the other if this is true

Buy the uncommon “Very Best of ITMA” CD from sites in the U.S. or in the U.K.

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

Comments

 

 

 

 

 

This morning I read in our newspaper that Walter Winchell, who died yesterday, was credited with originating the phrase "Ta-ta for now". This came as a total surprise, as I well remember Mrs Mopp, the 'char' in Tommy Handley's radio show ITMA who used to say this as well as "Can I do you now sir?". In fact the show was based on a stream of catchphrases which everyone knew and repeated in everyday life. It is also true that the phrase became distilled to TTFN by Handley, who's quick fire show was a real morale booster in those dark days.

There was a clue in the obituary, and that is that Walter Winchell creditied his British born wife with having come up with the phrase. Anyone brought up in Britain during WWII would have known the phrase only too well.

 

Posted by J.M.Bowen
  at 5:15 am on Jun. 27, 2005

 

 

 

Paul Winchell, not Walter Winchell, died yesterday.



He put "TTFN" in Tigger's mouth, but didn't create the phrase itself.

 

Posted by Travis
  at 11:03 am on Jun. 27, 2005

Add a Comment

 

 

Name:


Email: (optional)


URL: (optional)


Submit the word you see below:


 

 

 

Your comment:


Remember my personal info


Email me about follow-ups


 

Syndication Links


Click here for the main
XML feed for this blog.



Column only



Side links only



Quotes only

 

I'm Listening To

see more at Last.fm

MetaBlogs

AboutBlogs

Clients

Humor

Journalism

Los Angeles

Mac

News

Personal 1

Personal 2

Photos

Politics

Other A-F

Other G-Q

Other R-Z

SocialNetworking

Tech 1

Tech 2

Travel

Vancouver 1

Vancouver 2

Vancouver 3

Vancouver 4

BizBlogs

Back to Main

 

Powered by
Expression Engine

 

Copyright 1995 - 2014 Aug 27

 

 

Want Column?

Enter your email address:


It will NEVER be shared.
Unsubscribe

You can scroll right easily by holding down the SHIFT key and using your scroll wheel. (Firefox users trying this will end up jumping to old Web pages until a) Firefox releases a fix, b) they change their settings like so.)