Lines That Were Not Meant to Be Double Entendres at the Time
I was watching one of the Christmas episodes of the old "Dick Van Dyke" show today, and there's a scene (see clip) where Rob and Laura are playing street corner Santas. Rob comments that Laura isn't doing well because she doesn't "ho-ho-ho" enough. Here's the next line:
[quote]Rob: I don't believe I've seen you do one "ho" all day.
So in the intervening 50 years or so, the meanings of both "do" and "ho" have changed, so that this sentence has an alternative meaning that is miles away from what the author intended.
Any other examples? Obviously, a very common one would be any use of the word "gay" before the mid-'70s. Also the term "making love" meant something far milder before the sexual revolution.
"Ward, weren't you a little rough on the Beaver last night?"
Not a double entendre, just a change in word usage:
Agatha Christie's characters frequently described older women, including Miss Marple, as "old pussies."
It sounds vaguely obscene from a 21st-century perspective.
Also common: any use of one of the nicknames for "Richard."
Personally, I think the comic book writers in the link at r5 knew exactly what they were doing.
"AYDS helps you lose weight!"
"The appetite suppressant in AYDS is NOT a stimulant!"
"Why take diet pills when you can enjoy AYDS!"
R8, for those too lazy to click the YouTube link.
R8 is a classic.
I used to always chuckle when I'd hear the line in the Nat King Cole song about "gay places, come what may places" can't remember sing title.
Adding to R11's post, "Lush Life" was written by Billy Strayhorn who was openly gay. He was certainly aware of what he was writing, and that just adds to the piquancy of the song. Whether his audiences knew what he was writing is another question. Many were, of course, but many more had no idea.
All that Heaven Allows, starring Jane Wyman (Reagan) as Cary Scott and Rock Hudson as Ron Kirby:
Ron Kirby: Mick discovered for himself that he had to make his own decisions, that he had to be a man.
Cary Scott: And you want *me* to be a man?
Ron Kirby: [Giving her a knowing smile] Only in that one way.
In "The Women", when Paulette Goddard's character advises Norma Shearer's character
regarding Joan Crawford's character . . . "You should have licked that girl where she licked you . . .".
Elsa Lanchester used to do a song in the 1940s about "Linda and her Londonerry Air" (London Derriere)
"Bye Bye Birdie" "One boy to laugh with/to joke with/have Coke with.
When Cary Grant jumps up and down in Bringing Up Baby, wearing a woman's robe (plot thing), he shreaks "I just went GAY all of a sudden!" That line always confused me. Was gay used back then EVER to mean what it does now? It always ONLY meant "happy" or lighthearted in decades past, I thought. But as used in this 1938 movie, it makes sense in context. And that was not something censors would likely have passed.
Mae knew what she was doing. Flew right over the heads of most people:
Mae: "I like sophisticated men to take me out."
He: "I'm not really sophisticated!"
Mae: "You aint really out yet, either."
I'M NO ANGEL
R17, you need a history lesson! "Gay" has a long history of having multiple meanings. Yes, in polite (and naïve) company it used to mean "happy", but its use as slang with a double meaning has been around for centuries.
[quote]The term was originally used to refer to feelings of being "carefree", "happy", or "bright and showy"; it had also come to acquire some connotations of "immorality" as early as 1637. The term's use as a reference to homosexuality may date as early as the late 19th century, but its use gradually increased in the 20th century.
[quote]The word had started to acquire associations of immorality by 1637 and was used in the late 17th century with the meaning "addicted to pleasures and dissipations." This was by extension from the primary meaning of "carefree": implying "uninhibited by moral constraints." A gay woman was a prostitute, a gay man a womanizer and a gay house a brothel.
Lucy hoping to make Ricky jealous by having Charles Boyer "make love" to her right in front of Ricky.
In "Kate & Leopold," Liev Schrieber's character (forget the name) goes back to the 1980s, to the christening of the Brooklyn Bridge, with the designer repeatedly referring to it as an "erection" while he's the only one cracking up.
"Ethel, I'm revolting!"
R17, by the 30's, "gay" meant what it does today. In 42, Cole Porter wrote "don't inquire of Georgie Raft why his cow has never calfed; George's bull is beautiful, but he's gay."
OP, the verb "to do" has had the other connotation for centuries; Shakespeare used it in exactly that way in "Titus Andronicus," when a man exclaims, "he has undone our mother!" and Titus Andronicus replies, "I have DONE your mother."
Of course, some people do go both ways.
"Alice, you're like one of the family!"
"Making love" was confusing in pre-code movies because it often referred to characters being flirty with another rather than the actual act of intercourse. There was an old Constance Bennett movie on TCM the other night and there were many lines like "Are you making love to me?"