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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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GOOD LUCK IN THEATRE: "BREAK A LEG."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FORMULA SPEECH

Subject headings: DRAMA -- Secular
BELIEF -- Good luck Activities
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 11-30-1967

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TRUTH

DON'T TAKE ANY WOODEN NICKELS.

Submitter comment: HIS GRANDFATHER SAID THIS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; YPSILANTI

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: NEGATIVE ; GULLIBILITY ; LEAVETAKING FORMULA

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula
PROVERB -- Proverbial Apothegm Maxim

Date learned: 10-15-1967

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THE FOLLOWING IS A VERSE THE RESPONDENT LEARNED FROM A CUSTOMER WHO
SAID IT WAS AN OLD MEXICAN SAYING:
"HE WHO DRINKS GETS DRUNK;
HE WHO GETS DRUNK GOES TO SLEEP;
HE WHO GOES TO SLEEP DOES NOT SIN;
HE WHO DOES NOT SIN GOES TO HEAVEN;
SO LETS ALL DRINK AND GO TO HEAVEN."

Where learned: DETROIT ; PAT SULLIVANS TAVERN

James Callow Keyword(s): ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ; CUMULATIVE FORMULA ; RATIONALIZATION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Verse without Music
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Food Drink C855.447

Date learned: 10-00-1975

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TELEPHONE CATCHES

MY GIRLFRIEND AND I USED TO PLAY TRICKS ON PEOPLE AND
CALL UP ON THE PHONE AND ASK, "IS YOUR REFRIGERATOR
RUNNING?" WHEN SOMEONE WOULD ANSWER OR GRUNT, WE'D
THEN ADD, "YOU'D BETTER CATCH IT!"

Where learned: MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; SAGINAW

James Callow Keyword(s): FORMULA SPEECH

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 03-27-1971

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When my family and friends are sitting around the
house watching television, we have a saying when
you get up to go to the bathroom or get something
from the refrigerator. The saying is "Place back."
Saying "Place back" means that when you come back
you get your seat back. If you don't say "Place
back," anyone can take your seat from you. When
you come back and see that your seat is gone,
the person sitting in your chair must say,
"Move your meat, lose your seat" before you say
"Place back."

Submitter comment: The game came about from not having enough
comfortable seats in the house. We were always
arguing who got to sit in the best chair.

Where learned: MICHIGAN

James Callow Keyword(s): Reservation formula

Subject headings: Favorites
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Speech Speech
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 00-00-1978

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THOSE IN THE THEATER, WHEN THEY WANT TO WISH AN
ACTOR OR AN ACTRESS GOOD LUCK, SAY: "BREAK A LEG."

Submitter comment: THOSE CONNECTED WITH THE THEATER FEEL IT IS BAD
LUCK TO WISH SOMEONE GOOD LUCK BEFORE THEY GO ON
STAGE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FORMULA SPEECH

Subject headings: DRAMA -- Secular
BELIEF -- Conversions Activities
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 11-24-1968

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WHEN SOMEONE MENTIONS SOMETHING THAT HE HAS HAD
GOOD LUCK WITH IN HIS LIFE, HE PROMPTLY KNOCKS
ON WOOD AND/OR SAYS, "KNOCK ON WOOD" IN ORDER
TO KEEP HIS LUCK FROM CHANGING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FORMULA SPEECH

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Conversions Activities
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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WHEN TWO PEOPLE WOULD SAY THE SAME THING AT THE SAME
TIME, THE FIRST PERSON TO SAY "OWE ME A COKE" WOULD
RECEIVE SOME SORT OF GOOD LUCK.
(SUPPOSEDLY IN THE FORM OF A FREE COKE (COCA-COLA,
A SOFT DRINK).

Submitter comment: THE WAY I LEARNED IT, THE PERSON SAYING "OWE ME A
COKE" WOULD HAVE TO SLUG THE OTHER GUY ON THE
SHOULDER IN ORDER TO VALIDATE THE CUSTOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): FORMULA SPEECH

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Conversions Activities
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 00-00-1960

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THIS WAS COLLECTED APRIL 11, 1967 FROM MY SISTER. SHE
HEARD IT FROM HER CLASSMATES; SHE IS IN JUNIOR HIGH
SCHOOL.
WHEN TWO PEOPLE TALK AT THE SAME TIME, ONE MUST SAY
"NEEDLES AND PINS" IN ORDER TO PREVENT BAD LUCK.

Where learned: JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; WYANDOTTE

James Callow Keyword(s): FORMULA SPEECH

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Conversions Activities
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 04-11-1967

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"LUCKY AT CARDS, UNLUCKY AT LOVE."

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; CHICAGO

James Callow Keyword(s): FORMULA SPEECH

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement
BELIEF -- Conversions Games Pastimes Sports
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 08-00-1967

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Verse

The Wind:

When the wind is in the East,

'Tis good for neither man nor feast;

When the wind is in the North,

The skillful fisher goes not forth;

When the wind is in the South,

It blows the bait in the fishes' mouth;

When the wind is in the West,

Then 'tis at its very best.

Submitter comment:

Discovered in a paper placement, printed in Rhode Island. Paper then discovered at Audio's Pizzaria in Detroit.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs added by TRD

James Callow comment:

Dup. of WPP

Where learned: Rhode Island

Keyword(s): Bait ; DIRECTION ; East ; FISH ; Fisherman ; FOOD ; Formula ; North ; Ocean ; PREDICTION ; RHYME ; Sailor ; SEA ; Sky ; SONG ; South ; Sport ; VERSE ; WARNING ; West ; Wind

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Proverb C880.890

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Verse in Formula

I was told to cheer up;
"Things could be worse"
So I cheered up,
And sure'nuff, things got worse.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs Added by TRD

Keyword(s): ; Cheer UP ; Formula ; Language ; PLAY ON WORDS ; PUN ; RHYME ; VERSE ; Worse

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Speech Speech

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PETE AND REPEAT WERE SITTING ON A FENCE. PETE FELL OFF,
WHO WAS LEFT?

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROCHESTER HILLS

Keyword(s): CHAIN TALE ; Circle ; Endless ; Formula Tale ; JOKE ; Repeat ; RHYME

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Formula tale

Date learned: 00-00-1980

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showing 13 items

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