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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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LEGEND

IF YOU WERE A BAD BOY WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG AND YOUR PARENTS
COULDN'T CONTROL YOU THEY WOULD SEND YOU AWAY TO THIS OLD
MAN'S HOUSE WHERE HE WOULD BEAT YOU TO MAKE YOU LISTEN. YOUR
PARENTS COULD ALSO CALL HIM ON THE PHONE AND TELL HIM YOU WERE
BAD AND HE WOULD COME TO YOUR HOUSE IF YOUR PARENTS WANTED HIM.
HIS NAME WAS MR. SKEEZIX. TO GET YOU TO OBEY YOUR PARENTS WOULD
SAY: "DO YOU WANT ME TO CALL MR. SKEEZIX?"
THAT WAS ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU LISTEN.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HARPER WOODS

Keyword(s): Behave ; Boogeyman ; CHILD ; CHILDREN ; Misbehaving ; Mr. Skeezix ; Parent ; Punish ; THREAT ; Threaten

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 11-12-1971

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FOOLS HANDS SCRIBBLE ON THE TABLE AND WALL.

Submitter comment: GERMAN PROVERB

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; HAZEL PARK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

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ITALIAN GESTURE

ITALIANS CUPPING HAND UPWARDS MEANS GOODBYE.
CUPPING THE HAND DOWNWARD AS THOUGH TO
GRAB SOMETHING BECKONS TO SOMEONE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
SPEECH -- Greetings Salutations
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 01-29-1968

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FORMULA SPEECH AND GESTURES

WHENEVER THERE IS A KICK-OFF AT A FOOTBALL GAME,
AT DENBY HIGH SCHOOL {DETROIT, MICHIGAN ASSUMED}
IT WAS TRADITION TO RAISE YOUR ARMS AND INTERLOCK
LITTLE FINGERS WITH THE PERSON NEXT TO YOU AND SAY
GOOOOOO UNTIL THE BALL WAS KICKED. AT NOTRE DAME
HIGH SCHOOL {DETROIT, MICHIGAN ASSUMED} IT WAS
TRADITION TO RAISE YOUR RIGHT ARM AND CIRCLE IT WHILE
YOU SAID GOOO UNTIL THE BALL WAS KICKED.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Athletic sport and exercise Gymnastics
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
SPEECH -- Formula
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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WHEN ITALIANS WANT TO MOTION YOU TO COME HERE--
THEY WAVE THEIR HAND IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION
AS AMERICANS (FROM BODY OUTWARDS).

Where learned: GRAND RAPIDS ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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GAME

IN ENGLAND THEY STILL HAVE CONTESTS TO SEE WHO CAN
MAKE THE UGLIEST FACES. IT IS PERMISSABLE TO
USE YOUR HANDS. THIS SPORT IS CALLED "GUNERING."
IT FIRST BEGAN IN 1267. THE CHAMPION TODAY IS
ALBERT BENNION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Favorites
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Bodily Activity
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

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WHEN PLAYING A GAME ALL OF THE PLAYERS PUT THEIR HANDS
ON TOP OF EACH OTHER AND ONE PERSON SMACKS THE TOP
OF THE PILE AND SAYS GAME LOCKED. NO ONE ELSE CAN
JOIN THE GAME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Pastime
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Verse Game Verse
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 10-00-1971

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A CIRCULAR MOTION OF THE HAND WITH THE INDEX FINGER POINTED
STRAIGHT OUT TURNING TO THE RIGHT MEANS "TO PICK IT UP,"
OR "YOU'RE TOO SLOW."

Submitter comment: INFORMANT USES THIS WHEN HE'S ENGAGED IN A SPORT ACTIVITY
SUCH AS BOWLING, BASEBALL, OR RUNNING TRACK. THE
INFORMANT IS VERY ACTIVE IN ATHLETICS AND HAS USED AND SEEN
OTHERS USE THIS GESTURE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Bodily Activity
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 10-31-1971

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ONE HAND HELD HORIZONTALLY FLAT, WITH FINGERS CLOSE
TOGETHER AND OTHER HAND HELD VERTICAL AND PERPENDICULARLY
UNDER THE OTHER HAND FORMING A "T" SIGNAL FOR "TIME OUT."

Submitter comment: FROM FIRST PARTICIPATION IN SPORTS IN ABOUT 4TH GRADE.

Where learned: BIRMINGHAM ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 10-04-1967

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DIVERS' GESTURES

THUMB AND INDEX FINGER CLOSED IN A CIRCLE, OTHER FINGERS
STRAIGHT: ALL RIGHT? AND ALL RIGHT.
HIT CHEST WITH CLOSED FIST: LOW ON AIR.
MAKE CUTTING MOTION ACROSS THROAT WITH INDEX FINGER:
OUT OF AIR.
TAKE MOUTHPIECE OUT OF MOUTH: GIVE ME AIR.
CLOSED FIST WITH THUMB POINTING UP/DOWN: LET'S
GO UP/DOWN.

Where learned: DEARBORN ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Game Pastime
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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BOOKIES GESTURES

IN ENGLAND THE BOOKIES AT RACETRACKS SET UP BLACK
BOARDS ON WHICH THEY WRITE THE ODDS ON DIFFERENT
HORSES. THERE ARE DIFFERENT LOCATIONS WHERE ONE
MIGHT PURCHASE A SEAT AND SO THE BOOKIES MUST MAKE
SURE THAT THE ODDS STAY THE SAME IN EACH SECTION.
TO DO THIS THEY HAVE HAND AND ARM SIGNALS WHICH THEY
SEND EACH OTHER TO KEEP AWARE OF THE CHANGING ODDS.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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CASINO WORKERS USE GESTURES: FINGERTIPS TOUCHING
TABLE MEANS "THERE'S A CHISLER HERE;" A FINGER BEHIND
THE EAR IS A DISTRESS CALL FOR THE HEAD MAN; CROSSED
INDEX AND THIRD FINGER MEANS "PLEASE TAKE OVER;"
PALM AND FINGERS EXTENDED DOWNWARD MEANS "THEY ARE
CLEANED OUT."

Where learned: BOOK

Keyword(s): SLANG: CLEANED OUT: OUT OF MONEY.

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business
SPEECH -- Underworld
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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IN NEW YORK CITY WHEN YOU ASK YOUR DOORMAN TO GET A
CAB, HE GOES OUT NEAR A BUSY STREET AND WAVES A
FLASHLIGHT UP AND DOWN. IN SOME PLACES THE DOORMAN
TURNS ON A RED LIGHT ON THE CORNER OF THE BUILDING
WHICH BRINGS A CAB.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Instructions Directions
SPEECH -- To Be Seen

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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BY WINDING ONE'S ARM AND HAND IN FRONT OF HIM IN A
FORWARD MOTION IS MEANT TO END A BROADCAST. (MEANS:
WIND IT UP).

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED FROM T. V. {TELEVISION}

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IN A RADIO OR TELEVISION STUDIO SITUATION ONE OR TWO
HANDS RAISED IN THE AIR WITH THE PALMS FACING THE
PERSON ON THE AIR INDICATES TO THAT PERSON TO GET
READY OR TO STAND BY FOR ANOTHER SIGNAL TO COME.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT IS IN THE FIELD OF COMMUNICATIONS AND
HAS USED THIS GESTURE AND HAS SEEN OTHERS USE A
GESTURE OF SIMILAR NATURE WHEN SPEAKING DURING AN
"AIR SITUATION" IS PROHIBITED.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): BROADCASTING

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 11-01-1971

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THE DRAWING APART OF TWO HANDS AS IF PULLING TAFFY MEANS
TO SLOW DOWN OR TO STRETCH OUT.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT USES THIS WHEN HE'S TALKING. HE USES THIS
WHEN HE IS TRYING TO PROLONG A MOMENT WHILE TRYING
TO FIND THE RIGHT WORDS TO SAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): BROADCASTING?

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 10-03-1971

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IN THE FIELD OF COMMUNICATIONS WHEN SPEAKING IS NOT
ALLOWED DURING AN "AIR SITUATION" THE INDEX FINGER
WHEN POINTED AT THAT PERSON GOING TO BE ON "THE AIR"
BY USE OF THE WHOLE FOREARM IN BENDING AT THE
ELBOW, MEANS THE PERSON CAN BEGIN, OR START.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT IS IN THE FIELD OF COMMUNICATIONS AND
HAS USED THIS SIGNAL TO INSTRUCT A PERSON WHO IS ON
THE AIR TO BEGIN.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): COMMUNICATIONS? CLEAR AS MUD.

James Callow Keyword(s): BROADCASTING

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 10-31-1971

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MUSIC GESTURE

IN MUSIC WHEN THE MAESTRO TAKES ONE HAND (OPPOSITE THE
HAND HOLDING THE BATON) WITH PALM UP AND MOVES THE
HAND IN AN UPWARD MOTION, HE IS SIGNALING THE
ORCHESTRA FOR MORE VOLUME.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT IS A CONDUCTOR OF THE WINDSOR SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRA. HE HAS USED THIS GESTURE REPEATEDLY
IN CONCERT PERFORMANCES.

Where learned: CANADA ; WINDSOR

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of quantity or weight
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 11-10-1971

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IN A CLEVELAND FOUNDRY THE MOTION WITH THE HANDS OF
BREAKING A SMALL STICK AND POINTING UP OR DOWN THE
LINE MEANT A BREAKDOWN UP OR DOWN THE LINE.

Where learned: OHIO ; CLEVELAND

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IN A CLEVELAND FOUNDRY THE MOTION WITH THE HANDS
OF BREAKING A SMALL STICK AND POINTING TOWARD
YOU MEANT TAKE A BREAK.

Where learned: OHIO ; CLEVELAND

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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