Cast Spotlight: Elizabeth Rose Morris

elizabeth-rose-morriss-headshotElizabeth Rose Morriss plays uptight Gertrude Baldwin in His Girl Friday. You may remember Liz from her role as Miss Kentley in Rope and as a performer in our Vaudeville Revue, as well as numerous Retro Radio Hours. She is also currently on the Bygone Theatre Board of Directors.

Bio: Elizabeth Rose Morriss most recently performed as Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music (Confidential Musical Theatre Project), as Adella in The Little Mermaid (Lower Ossington Theatre), and as Margot Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank (Plain Stage Theatre Company). Previous Bygone Theatre roles include Miss Kentley in Rope, singer in the Vaudeville Revue, and a regular performer in their Retro Radio Hour shows.
She has degrees in Music Theatre (Acadia University) and Education (Nipissing University), is currently on the Board of Directors of Bygone Theatre, and does Marketing for the Toronto Confidential Musical Theatre Project. Keep up with Elizabeth online: Twitter and Instagram @lizrosemorriss, and facebook.com/elizabethrosemorriss.

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How did you hear about Bygone Theatre and this production of His Girl Friday?

Emily Dix directed a play I was in with Newborn Theatre, and I’ve been happy to be involved since the beginning of Bygone Theatre! I’m currently on the Board of Directors, and was intrigued from the first time Emily announced His Girl Friday as the next mainstage play.

What made you want to be involved?/ what do you love about the story?

I love the snappy, very stylized 1940s dialogue. The whole script is so witty and fast-paced, it’s a lot of fun!

What’s your favourite old movie?

I love a lot of old movies, mostly musicals, but my favourite has to be Singin’ in the Rain.

Have you been in a show like this before? What else might people have seen you in recently?

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Ian McGarret as Mr. Kentley and Elizabeth Rose Morriss as Miss Kentley in Rope, 2014.

In 2014, I played Miss Kentley in Bygone Theatre’s production of Rope—different decade and not a comedy, but also a period piece, and also a play with a classic movie version. Most recently I played Anne Egerman in A Little Night Music (Confidential Musical Theatre Project), Adella in The Little Mermaid (Lower Ossington Theatre), and was a singer in Bygone’s Vaudeville Revue.

Why should people come and see the show?

For fun, entertaining vintage comedy!

See Liz live onstage this March in His Girl Friday – tickets available online.

Performer Spotlight: Anuka

Early 20th century Americans (and Canadians) had a taste for the “exotic”, and so bellydancing was a popular act of the Vaudeville stage. While some performers were true bellydancers, hailing from the middle East and other foreign regions, many were simply flappers who realized the audience’s interest in revealing costumes and (at the time) scandalous dance moves. One of the most famous of the era was Margaretha Zelle, better known by her stage name, Mata Hari; she’s one to look up if you like scandal, mystery and intrigue.

Mata-Hari (2)

Mata Hari

As for our Vaudeville Revue, we are lucky to have the very talented, Anuka.

Anuka is a Toronto-based bellydancer. She performs as a soloist and is also the choreographer for her troupe Mirage, creating original dances every year for a variety of shows which have included the International Bellydance Conference of Canada, Ad Astra, Fan Expo, Steam on Queen, and her own productions (Moonlight Mirage in 2014, Twilight Mirage in 2011, Midnight Mirage in 2010 , and Winter Mirage in 2009). 

Tonight Anuka will perform Vintage Oriental Style bellydance. North America developed a unique style of bellydance which mixed influences from many different Middle Eastern countries and the dancers’ own creativity. This style, known as Vintage Oriental Stye or American Cabaret, includes movements drawn from variety of regional dances. The music was mix of popular and traditional melodies from different cultures, including Middle Eastern, Persian, Turkish, and Armenian songs. Some distinctive elements of a Vintage Oriental show are veil dances, floorwork, sword dances, and finger cymbals.

www.anukadance.net

Want to see Anuka onstage? Get your tickets to Vaudeville Revue today.

So, Ya Wanna Be In Vaudeville? CASTING CALL

Hey you! Ya, you! Have you ever dreamed of playing the circuit? Making it big on stage? Think you got what it takes to be a star of Vaudeville? Well then you’re in luck – forget those critics, Vaudeville ain’t dead! We’re breathing new life into it this June with Bygone Theatre’s…

VAUDEVILLE REVUE
Alumnae Theatre Mainstage
June 22-24, 2016

We are currently accepting proposals for acts and are looking for the following;

  • Singers
  • Dancers (tap, ragtime), solo or group
  • Comedians (think more sketches than stand-up)
  • Acrobats/gymnasts
  • Magicians
  • Musicians
  • Jugglers
  • Clowns
  • Unique acts

Acts should be 3-8 minutes long and family friendly (keep it PG). We are looking for period appropriate, which for Vaudeville means 1890s-1930s, so keep that in mind when it comes to material, style and music – don’t worry about costumes, we’ll take care of those. Please note, only scripts and songs written before 1935 will be accepted.

At the moment we are looking for people with specific acts in mind; they don’t need to be completely polished, but we want to know what your source material is and your general concept. There may be an open casting call at a later date for those who want to be involved, but that will depend on this round of submissions.

How to apply:

  • Email director Emily Dix at emily@bygonetheatre.com with the following;
    • A copy of your source material (ie. a link to or pdf of the script, sheet music etc.)
    • A description of your proposed act that highlights, a. the number of performers, b. any specific materials required (props, set, costumes etc.), c. the approximate length, and, d. a breakdown of what the performance will include (if it’s something like a dance that need explanation, for sketches the script will suffice).
    • Any support materials you may have (video footage of a previous performance, or a self-tape is ideal)

What Else You Need To Know:

  • This is likely to remain a non-union production, but at this stage Equity members are welcome to apply, as we are still working on funding
  • This will be a profit-share production
  • All performers will receive a high-quality, professionally filmed copy of their performance
  • Rehearsals will be in June 2016, with a load-in/dress on June 21, and evening performances June 22-24; matinees TBD

Deadline for this first round of submissions is Friday February 12, 2016, at 5:00pm. 

Spread the word and spread the love – Vaudeville is back!

-E.

Retro Christmas Countdown – Xmas in the 20th Century

While Christmas dates back hundreds of years before, it was the start of the 20th century that saw the turn towards the lavish and very commercial holiday that we all know today. Here’s a very brief history of Christmas traditions from the last century.

1900s

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The first Christmas card was created in 1843 by John Horsley, and by the turn of the century the Victorian’s love of sentimental greetings had made this a popular tradition.

The Victorian styles of decorating carried into the start of the 20th century, with gilded nuts, candles and paper ornaments adorning trees.

This decade also saw the creation of what was to become one of the most popular children’s toys of the century; the Teddy Bear. Named after President Roosevelt, the charming story of the origin of this toy and its name can be read here.

1910s

frenchfamily1910_tincans_on_tree

As Christmas rapidly became a highly commercialized holiday, more and more companies used it as a means of selling their products, and the image of Santa Claus began to morph into the one we are familiar with today. It was in the 1910s that Santa’s now unmistakable look, with red suit and pants trimmed in white fur, matching cap and long white beard, began to become the norm.

While a legend has grown that claims Coca Cola invented the modern-day image of Santa, that is not quite the case. Prior to the famous Coca Cola Santa (who was created in 1931), the jolly elf had been portrayed as anything from tall and lanky to a munchkin-sized man. Norman Rockwell had painted a Santa who is strikingly similar to the 30s Coke version all the way back in 1911, however it wasn’t until Coke began regularly producing consistent looking Christmas ads that the current version of St. Nick really began to stick.

For an interesting pictorial history of Santa, check out this link.

1920s

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By the 1920s the upper class had traded-in their candles for electric Christmas lights, and trees were as lavish and daring as the fashions of the decades.

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With the rising popularity of the wireless (radio), the 1920s also saw the first Christmas radio broadcast when, in 1922, Arthur Burrow presented “The Truth About Father Christmas”.

1930s

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Rockefeller Centre, 1931

In the midst of the Great Depression few had money to spend on food and clothing, let alone Christmas gifts and decorations. Still, the tradition of putting up a tree hung on, with many families owning decorations they had purchased in the more prosperous 1920s. Homemade ornaments also adorned the tree, made out of things like the foil paper saved from cigarette packs. As previously mentioned, Coca Cola started to advertise with their own version of Santa, and upbeat Christmas songs were enjoyed on the radio. Advertisements still bombarded shoppers with ideas for the perfect Christmas gift, only their tactics had changed; a focus on the practical and sometimes financing options were promoted.

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The popular character Rudolph, everyone’s favourite red-nosed reindeer, was created in 1939 by Montgomery Ward. Although it wasn’t until a decade later when Gene Autry released the song that we’ve all learned as kids.

rudolph

1940s

The 1940s saw the Second World War, and with that came rations and a reminder that the war effort should be supported above all else. Sales in non-necessities like Christmas lights dropped dramatically as many companies changed their focus to assist in the war effort. War bonds were promoted as a perfect gift for any family member or friend, and Santa himself switched his classic red & white outfit to don army duds and support the cause.

With many families missing fathers, brothers and sons overseas, Christmas could have been a bittersweet time. However, back home the masses were reminded to keep their spirits up while fighting the good fight, so many Christmas celebrations resumed some of the splendour they had seen before the Depression.

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1950s

The post-war boom made the Christmas of the 1950s one of the biggest and gaudiest yet. The Baby Boom meant there were lots of families with youngsters, and so the toy market was buzzing. Wide-spread prosperity meant most were lucky enough to be able to afford Christmas celebrations, and women’s magazines, eager to encourage them to return to the home, now that the war was over, pushed for the ideal Christmas season, full of elaborate recipes and decor.

Television was also becoming popular and with it came a host of Christmas specials. Stars like Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby recorded Christmas songs and popular shows like I Love Lucy recorded special Christmas episodes.

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1960s

By the 1960s, the fads of the 50s were firmly cemented; every toy imaginable was available on the market and they were advertised directly to children in between the cartoons they watched on tv. The Christmas shows we still see today – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Frosty the Snowman – first appeared on the airwaves and decorations were more colourful and outlandish than ever before.

There was significant variety now as well. Christmas trees could be anything from your traditional green pine, to the popular aluminum trees that came in silver, aqua and even pink! And don’t forget the fake snow! The concept of “Kitschmas” was truly born in the 1960s.

What’s your favourite Christmas decade? Tweet your replies to @BygoneTheatre #RetroXmas 

-E.

Retro Radio Hour – Spring Fling!

On Thursday May 14, 2015, Bygone will be presenting the 5th show in the retro radio series, Retro Radio Hour – Spring Fling. We are back at the SoCap and as always, tickets are only $5 cash at the door. This week’s show features; Emily Dix, Matt McGrath, Elizabeth Rose Morriss, Ian McGarrett, Mikey Zahorak, Peter Grant Mackechnie, Nicole Byblow, Astrid Atherly and Joseph Vita with magic by Leigh Beadon.

Rope: Opening Weekend

On Friday Rope opened to a packed audience; our Opening Night Gala was a hit and the show was a smashing success. I’m so proud of all those who have been involved and it was wonderful to finally see everything fall into place onstage. This Saturday November 22nd we have two performances; a 2:00pm matinee, which as of late Friday night is 78% sold out and a 7:30pm evening show, which is currently 93% sold out. It’s great to have such full houses and we open the show is received well!

If you would like to get tickets to this weekend’s performance, check out TOtix.ca. Tickets can be purchased online up to 2 hours before the event. After that, tickets can only be purchased at the door; cash only, please.

If you are unable to join us for opening weekend, not to fear! Next Friday November 28th we have a 2:00pm PWYC matinee for Arts Workers and a 7:30pm performance. On Saturday November 29th we have a 2:00pm matinee and we close that evening at 7:30pm.

All photos courtesy of the talented Danielle Son; check out her website here: http://www.logosphotography.org/.

To see the rest of the production stills check out our facebook page.

More updates coming soon!
-E

Rope – Cast Spotlight – Chelsey MacLean

While Rope is Chelsey MacLean’s first Bygone Theatre production, she and director Emily Dix met each other in high school and first worked on a play together in 2007! Chelsey plays the dim-witted Leila Arden.

1. What first attracted you to  Bygone Theatre and this production of Rope?
I had actually been directed by Emily Dix before, for my first play! I had always looked up to Emily and she inspired me to try my hand at directing the following year. I was eager to work with Emily’s professional and artistic skills once again with the added benefit of us bringing our new training to the table. I was also excited for this project as I am a big Patrick Hamilton fan (Let’s do Gaslight next!).

 

2. What is your favourite part of working on a site-specific play that runs in real time?
My favourite part of working in a site specific play is that both actor and audience can build a relationship with their environment, which I think brings both parties closer together; the actor endows the very setting the audience sits in while the audience has the advantage of not only watching a reality unfold, but find themselves immersed in it. I believe the real time aspect furthers the suspension of disbelief as the audience does not feel interrupted, and the actor can have the treasure of experiencing the minutia of their character’s moment to moment thought process.
3. What have you done to prepare for your role?
To prepare for Rope, I read a few of Patrick Hamilton’s works to familiarize myself with his style, researched the history and setting of the play, then the history and setting of where our production places Rope to find connections/ contrasts; understanding the norms for women at this time in history was quite helpful. As I further explored Leila Arden and her film buff nature, I have happily taken up watching movies from the 1920’s as an additional step to understanding her influences.
4. What has been your favourite part of the rehearsal process so far?
I really value the cast of Rope. Every rehearsal I have the gift of learning a little something from each member of this diverse group of actors and those pieces add up to creating a fantastic experience.
5. Why should everyone come and see Rope?
Everyone should come see Rope and support local theatre because its a provocative mix of terror, comedy, and psychological intrigue set in our very own Toronto with a timeless story that entertains and questions! Why watch another Whodunnit, when you can be in the room to witness what unfolds once “it” is done? Besides, Leila Arden saw it once, and she thought it was good, dear; why absolutely marvelous!

Want to see Chelsey grace the stage as the lovely Leila Arden? Get tickets through TO Tix, show runs November 21-29, 2014 at the Gibson House Museum

Rope – Cast Spotlight – Nicholas Arnold

Time for another cast spotlight! Nicholas Arnold plays James Kelly in our upcoming production of Rope – check out his thoughts on the show.
1. What first attracted you to  Bygone Theatre and this production of Rope?
Since seeing Hitchcock’s “Rope” way back in the day, I promised myself that if I ever saw a production of Rope happening I would jump at the opportunity to be in it and low-and-behold, I see Bygone Theatre’s posting for it back in September. It was a no-brainer. I had to audition. And I was gunning for one of the killers from the very beginning. To me the play is an exciting an opportunity and challenge as an actor, taking place in one location with a very tense and gradual build to its climax. It was clear from previous works listed on their website that Bygone Theatre loved tackling plays that pose these sort of challenges for both the cast and their audiences. All of this convinced me that I had to audition.
2. What challenges have you faced/OR/ what is your favourite part of working on a site-specific play that runs in real time?
I think we’re starting to face these challenges now as a cast. It’s a complicated play with a lot of logistical planning required. When you are on the entire time, that can be a challenge in and of itself, but add drinking and eating to that as well as creating the natural atmosphere of a 1920s party and it becomes very complicated. It’s a delicate dance that we do and so pacing ourselves throughout that is something we are working hard to master. I definitely have my own personal challenges with my role as well, getting considerably more intoxicated as the evening progresses and losing my nerve to the point of insanity. It’s a work-out really. You leave rehearsals feeling like you just spent an hour or two in the boxing ring. Physically, you feel the effects that playing those scenes have on you. So it takes a bit of endurance.
3. What have you done to prepare for your role?
I researched the real of case of Leopold and Loeb extensively upon learning that I received the part. As well as general info about the 20s – what was going on at the time, politically and in and around the general setting. Aside from that, most of my preparation – if not all of it – comes from diligent reading and studying of the script. It’s all there in the lines. Everything I need to know about my character and everything my character needs to know about the others. So it just comes down to reading and reading and reading. I’ve read and studied my script more times than I can count and will continue to do so right up until opening night, and likely even during the run.
4. What has been your favourite part of the rehearsal process so far?
I’m enjoying getting to know the other cast members. They are an extremely talented bunch and its really enjoyable playing these scenes with them. They all fit into their roles so well. It’s fun to watch from the shadows – where I spend most of my time in the play 😉

5. Why should everyone come and see Rope?
What’s better than seeing an intense murder mystery play out in real time in a real 1920s house? This particular production of Rope is going to offer an intense sense of realism that you won’t find on any other stage. And this cast brings it, firing with guns blazing. They are intense and gritty with their delivery and I truly think the audience will love watching it as much as I love being in it. So come see it!

Dressing “Rope” – Costume Design Boards

Accurate period-appropriate costumes are an important thing to me, and to Bygone Theatre. I spend a considerable amount of time researching vintage fashion, and then even more time trying to figure out how to make it work on a budget. For a simple breakdown of what I’m looking for in terms of costumes for Rope I’ve created these costume boards.

Colour Scheme:
I am a fan of very specific colour schemes. While I could easily do the show with all the actors wearing any colour that suits them, when I first start planning a production, one of the first things that pops into my head is the overall design and the colours that I want to use. For Rope, I decided to go with what I’ve been describing as a “bruise” palette; dark blues, purples and greys, along with accents of green.

rope colour palette

Bruises typically have some yellow in them too, but I am avoiding warm colours in the costumes. Instead, I will have gold and brass accents, bringing in some warmth along with the metallics that were popular in the decade. I am keeping the actors mostly monochromatic, so to add interest I am using a lot of texture; wool, tweed, velvet, satin and detailed bead work will keep things visually interesting and stop them from looking too “flat”.

Brandon Wyndham
Leete Stetson stars as Brandon Wyndham; dashing, devilish and debonair. Brandon is described as not being “dressed”, ie. he is in casual attire. However, he still needs to look fashionable and expensively dressed. I am planning on putting Brandon in the very trendy Oxford Bags, along with a thick wool sweater and a bow tie.

Rope - Brandonw Wyndham Costume BoardJames Kelly
Nicholas Arnold plays the quiet, anxious, gifted but shy James Kelly. Like Brandon, James is wearing a more casual outfit at home, so I am planning on putting him in a vest without a jacket. The script gives me a few specifics to work with; he needs a waistcoat with pockets and a tie pin, which means he will be wearing a neck tie.

Rope - James Kelly Costume BoardRupert Cadell
Jamieson Child plays the crippled poet, Rupert Cadell. While Rupert comes to the party “dressed” in formal attire, he is not the type to be overly concerned with fashion, and so I picture him in slightly out-dated, less expensive clothes. Also, being a writer, I can’t help but picture Ernest Hemingway when I think of him.

Rope - Rupert Cadell Costume BoardLeila Arden
Chelsey MacLean plays party-girl Leila Arden. Leila is celebrity obsessed, superficial, and overly concerned with her looks. I see her in a typical flapper style; lots of jewels, lush fabrics, and a stylish cloche hat.

Rope - Leila Arden Costume Board

Kenneth Raglan
Producer Matt McGrath is playing boy-next-door, Kenneth Raglan. Kenneth is young, college educated, preppy and well-off. He is embarrassed by showing up to the party “dressed”, which means he is in more formal clothes than Brandon and James. I want him in blue as well, but whereas James has a lighter blue with browns and Rupert has blue and black, Kenneth will likely have matching suit, vest and pants, all in a dark greyish blue.

Rope - Kenneth Raglan Costume Board

Miss Kentley
Is played by Elizabeth Rose Morriss. Miss K is a little older and considerably more conservative than Leila, so I’ve chosen a less-flashy dress style for her. Rather than cover her in beading and fringe, I am looking for a fabric with a simple pattern; likely something floral. I think she may wear a wider-brimmed hat.

Rope - Miss Kentley Costume Board

Miss Jefferies, The Maid
Caitlin Robson is playing Miss Jefferies, the maid, who will be wearing the traditional uniform. Black dress with sleeves, a white apron, decorated with lace, and a white, ruffled headpiece.

Rope - Maid Costume Board

Ladies and Fellas, Grab a Sinker & a Joe – It’s Time to Learn Some Swell Slang!

It’s funny how much slang changes from generation to generation; sometimes in listening to my 19 year old sister, I already find myself feeling out of touch. When working on a period show like Rope it is important to have a sense of the slang from the time, both to understand the text and to help with improvising. I came across an amazing list of 1920s & 30s slang and couldn’t resist sharing it here; I think it’s time we bring some of these back, they really are the bee’s knees.

*Original post found at http://www.1929anupperclassaffair.com/Flapperspeak.pdf
Flapperspeak: Dictionary of Words From the 1920’s and 1930’s
From the AACA Potpourri website and Mark McCutcheon’s Writer’s Guide To Everyday Life From Prohibition Through World War II

Ab-so-lute-ly – affirmative
All six, hit on – to hit on all six cylinders, 100% percent performance
All wet – describes an erroneous idea or individual, as in, “he’s all wet.”
And how – I strongly agree!
And howl – emphatic response like, “You said it!”
Applesauce – an expletive same as horsefeathers, As in “Ah applesauce!”
Attaboy – well done!; also Attagirl!
Baby – sweetheart. Also denotes something of high value or respect.
Baby vamp – attractive female usually used by college boys – other terms include: angel, thrill, bird, liveone, peach, choice bit of calico, sweet patootie, panic
Balled Up – confused, messed up
Baloney – nonsense!
Bank’s Closed – no kissing or making out – i.e. – “Sorry, Mac, the bank’s closed.”
Barb – college student that was not part of a fraternity
Barleycorn, John – popular personification of bootleg alcohol – this term was used throughout Prohibition
Barrel House – illegal alcohol distillation plant
Bearcat – a hot-blooded or fiery girl
Beat it – scram or get lost
Beat one’s gums – idle chatter
Bee’s knees – extraordinary person, thing, idea; the ultimate also “Cat’s Meow”
Beef – a complaint or to complain
Beeswax – business, i.e. None of your beeswax.”
Bell bottom – a sailor
Bent – drunk, ossified
Berries – That which is attractive or pleasing; similar to bee’s knees, as in “It’s the berries.”
Bible Belt – Area in the South and Midwest where Fundamentalism flourishes
Big six – a strong man; from auto advertising, for the new and powerful; six cylinder engines
Bimbo – a tough guy
Bird – general term for a man or woman, sometimes meaning strange or odd
Blind Pig – place where illegal alcohol was served, like a speakeasy. Blind Pigs had deceptive or “blank” fronts –often were in basements, behind peep-holed doors or in the back of legitimate businesses
Blocker –Southern term for moonshiner or bootlegger
Blotto – drunk, ossified, bent
Bluenose – An excessively puritanical person, a prude
Bohunk – derogatory term to describe a central European immigrant (used from 1900-1930)
Bootleg – illegal liquor also called busthead
Breezer – a convertible car
Brown – Bootlegger’s term for whiskey
Brown plaid – bootlegger’s term for Scotch
Bubs – women’s breasts (used as description from 1900 on)
Bug-eyed Betty – unattractive or unpopular girl, often this term was used by college boys – other 1920’s slang include: pig’s coattail, washout, mess, flat tire, chunk of lead, crumb
Bull – (1) a policeman or law-enforcement officer including FBI (2) nonsense (3) to chat idly, to exaggerate
Bull Session – Male talkfest, gossip, stories of sexual exploits
Bum’s Rush – ejection by force from an establishment
Bump Off – to murder or kill
Bunny- term that conveys sympathy and endearment for lost or confused person
Bus – old, worn out big vehicle (used from 1915 onwards)
Bushwa – softer version of bull shit also spelled booshwash
Butterfly’s boots, the – anyone or anything that is great or dreamy like the cat’s meow
Cake-eater – a ladies’ man
Canned – drunk, ossified, bent
Caper – a criminal act or robbery
Carry a torch – To have a crush on someone
Cash – a kiss
Cash or check? – Do you kiss now or later?
Cast a kitten – to have a fit
Cat’s meow – Something splendid or stylish, similar to bee’s knees; the best or greatest, wonderful.
Cat’s pajamas – Same as cat’s meow or cat’s whiskers or gnat’s eyebrows
Chase yourself, go -get lost (from 1900 onwards)
Chassis – the female body from 1930
Cheaters – Eyeglasses
Check – kiss me later
Chewing gum – double talk
Copacetic – Wonderful, fine, all right
Coffin varnish – bootleg or homemade alcohol, also called horse liniment, stuff, and tarantula juice
Crush – An infatuation
Daddy – a young woman’s boyfriend or lover, especially if he’s rich
Dame – a female (term used since 1900, gained wide use in the 1930’s and 1940’s)
Dapper – a Flapper’s dad
Darb – An excellent person or thing (as in “the Darb” – a person with money who can be relied on to pay the check)
Dead soldier – an empty beer bottle
Deb – a debutante
Dick – a private investigator
Doll – an attractive woman
Dolled up – dressed up
Dope – drugs
Double-cross – to cheat, stab in the back
Dough – money
Drag – college dance
Dry – person who is against drinking and for Prohibition
Dry up – shut up, get lost
Dumb Dora – a stupid female also called Dumbbell
Earful – enough
Eel’s hips – variation of cat’s meow
Edge – intoxication, a buzz
Egg – a person who lives the big life

Ethel – effeminate man

Fag – before 1920, a cigarette, after 1920, a cigarette or effeminate man
Fella – guy
Fire extinguisher – a chaperone
Fish -(1) a college freshman also can be a first timer in prison
Flapper –free-spirited young woman
Flat tire – a dull, insipid, disappointing date. Also known as a pill, pickle, drag, rag, oil can
Flivver – a Model T; after 1928, could mean any old broken down car
Flapper – A stylish, brash, hedonistic young woman with short skirts & shorter hair
Fly boy – a glamorous term for an aviator
Fried – drunk, ossified, bent
Frosh –first year student at college
Gay – happy
Giggle water – an intoxicating beverage; alcohol
Gin mill – An establishment where hard liquor is sold; bar
Glad rags – “going out on the town” clothes
Gold digger – A woman who associates with or marries a man for his wealth
Goods, the – the desired material
Goof – stupid bumbling person
Goon – hoodlum
Hair of the dog – a shot of alcohol
Half seas over – thoroughly drunk also known as “half under”
Heel – scoundrel
He-man – a masculine man
Hayburner – (1) a gas guzzling car (2) a horse one loses money on
Heebie-jeebies – The jitters, anxiety
High-hat – To snub or a snob
Hip – savvy –used since 1915
Hip flask – small container used to carry alcohol, hidden by the hip or in a big pocket –fad item in 1920’s
Hit on all sixes – to perform 100 per cent; as “hitting on all six cyclinders”
Hokey-Pokey – inexpensive candy or ice cream for children
Hooch – Bootleg liquor
Hooey – nonsense
Hoofer – Dancer
Horsefeathers – an expletive; same usage as applesauce
Hotsy – totsy – pleasing
Hurdy-gurdy – a hand organ often played in the streets
It – sex appeal
Iron – a motorcycle
Jack – money
Jake – all is is okay, as in, “Everything is Jake.”
Jalopy – Old car
Jane – any female
Java – coffee
Jitney – a car employed as a private bus. Fare was usually five cents; also called a “nickel”

Joe – coffee

Joe Brooks – someone who is fashionably dressed
Joe Zilch – any male college student also known as Joe College or Joe Yale
John – a toilet
Joint – an establishment
Juice joint – a speakeasy
Joint – A club, usually selling alcohol, also called speakeasy, club, juice joint
Kale – money
Keen – Attractive or appealing
Knock-up – get pregnant not on purpose
Know One’s Onions – know what you are talking about
Lady legger – female bootlegger
Lam, on the – running away from the police
Lay off – knock it off
Level with me – be honest
Line – Insincere flattery
Live wire – a lively person – wild
Milquetoast – timid, mild person
Mind your own potatoes – mind your own business
Moonshine – bootleg alcohol
Neck – Kissing with passion
Nifty – great, excellent
Ofay – African American term to describe white people
Old Boy – male term to address other men also “Old man”
On the lam – fleeing from police
On the level – legitimate, honest
On the up and up – on the level
Ossified – a drunk person
Owl – a person who’s out late
Palooka – (1) a below-average or average boxer (2) a social outsider, from the comic strip character Joe Palooka
Pet – Same as neck, but more so
Piker – (1) a cheapskate (2) a coward
Pill – (1) a teacher (2) an unlikable person
Pin – announce an engagement or agreement to be serious by giving or receiving a sweetheart’s fraternity pin
Pinch – To arrest
Pinko – liberal
Pip – extraordinary person or thing, sometimes used sarcastically
Prom-trotter – gregarious student who attends school social functions and likes to dance
Putting on the Ritz – after the Ritz hotel in Paris; doing something in high style
Quiff – cheap prostitute
Rag-a-muffin – a dirty or disheveled individual
Razz – to make fun of or take the piss out of, heckle
Ritzy – Elegant (from the hotel)
Rub – student dance party
Rube – hick
Rummy – drunk, alcoholic
Rush – try to get into a fraternity
Sap – a fool
Says you – a reaction of disbelief
Scratch – money
See a man about a dog, have to – phrase to describe “I need to leave now”, often referring to going out and buying bootleg whiskey
Sheba – A woman with sex appeal (from the move Queen of Sheba) or (e.g. Clara Bow)
Sheik – A man with sex appeal (from the Valentino movies)
Shiv – a knife
Sinker – a doughnut
Sitting pretty – in a great position
Snake’s hips – cat’s whiskers or bee’s knees
Snoot full, have a – to be drunk
Snuggle pup – teenager term for a sweetheart who likes to cuddle
Sockdollager – knock out punch
So’s Your Old Man – reply showing irritation from 1915 onwards
Speakeasy – Irish word to describe an illicit, undercover bar selling bootleg liquor also called blind pig and scatter
Spifflicated – Drunk. The same as canned, corked, tanked, primed, scrooched, jazzed, zozzled, plastered,owled, embalmed, lit, potted, ossified or fried to the hat
Spoon – to neck, or at least talk of love
Stuck On – infatuated, in love with
Struggle buggy – the backseat of a car (where young couples made out)
Stuck On – Having a crush on
Swanky – Ritzy
Swell – Wonderful. Also: a rich man – more in later 1930’s
Talkies – movies with sound
Tin Pan Alley – the music industry in New York, located between 48th and 52nd street
Tomato – a female
Toot, on a – drinking spree
Up and up – on the level, legitimate
Wet – stupid, unsophisticated also can be someone who is against Prohibition and for the legalization of alcohol
Wet Blanket – a solemn person, a killjoy
Whisper Sister – female proprietor of a speakeasy
Whoopee – To have a good time
Wife – affectionate term to describe college dorm roommate
Wooden nickels, don’t take any – a fad expression of 1920, that meant “don’t do anything stupid – takecare of yourself.”
TERMS FOR DRUNKENNESS
Bleary-eyed, bent, blind, blotto, boiled, boiled as an owl, burning with a blue flame, canned, corked, corned, crocked, edged, embalmed, fried, four sheets in the wind, full, ginned, half-cocked, half seas over, half-screwed, half-shot, happy, high, hoary-eyed, jazzed, jingle, lathered, liquored, lit, lit up like a Christmas tree, lit up like a store window, lit up like the commonwealth, loaded, loaded for beer, loaded to the muzzle, lubricated, oiled, over the bay, ossified, owled, paralyzed, plastered, pie-eyed, pickled, piffed, piped, polluted, potted, primed, saturated, slopped, sloppy, stiff, stinko, soused, squiffy, stewed, sprung, tanked, tight, lit,under the table, wall-eyed, wet, woozy