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Have A Gay Old Time: Film

Traditional:

  • The word "cenobite" originally referred to a monastic living as part of a religious community. Since the release of Hellraiser and its sequels, however, the word now brings to mind pain-loving demons.
  • Fun In Balloonland: The narrator during the 1965 Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade uses the word "gay" to mean happy, and apparently has no other synonyms for it because she uses it about 50 times in the 35 minute segment.
  • Gay Purr-ee is an animated film musical produced by United Productions of America and released by Warner Bros. in 1962. It's about cats in Paris. Nothing about homosexuals in a blender.
  • The Gay Divorcee
    • While it has a twist ending, it had nothing to do with homosexuality.
    • The Hays Code did object to the title. When it was called The Gay Divorce because a divorce should never be happy. The censors agreed to a compromise solution that it was possible for a divorcee to be happy. Boy, the Hays office sure managed to avoid pulling a boner with that one!
  • From Disney's The Three Caballeros (try hard not to think about this one in conjunction with Donald Duck not wearing pants ... uh, oops): ''We're three caballeros, three gay caballeros. They say we are birds of a feather!"
  • The Three Caballeros was a follow-up to Saludos Amigos, described on the poster as Walt Disney's "gayest musical Technicolor feature".
  • Angels with Dirty Faces: Where the word "boner" simply means an embarrassing and/or major blunder.
    • "We tried to hook you? What a boner!"
    • 'If anyone ever pulled a boner, you did."
  • Giselle uses the "happy" definition of "gay" in Enchanted's "Happy Working Song." It's a PG-rated Disney movie, and so the discrepancy with the current meaning is never referenced explicitly. This is interesting, because at another point in the movie a joke is made about a character being Mistaken for Gay. This trope is invoked deliberately in this case. It's to show you that Giselle is old fashioned and innocent. Since the movie is an Affectionate Parody of the old Disney movies.
  • Midge's line in Vertigo about "the gay old Bohemian days of gay old San Francisco'' seems rather on-the-nose these days.
  • Hitchcock example can be found in North By Northwest, during the scene where Vandamm meets with Thornhill at the Mount Rushmore cafeteria:
    Vandamm: And now, what little drama are we here for today? I really don't for a moment believe that you've invited me to these gay surroundings to come to a business arrangement.
  • Try watching High Society without knowing that up until the latter half of the twentieth century, 'making love' to someone could mean having an intimate conversation, such as flirtatious or seductive sweet talk, with no physical contact involved. You can't help but blush when Frank Sinatra sings You're Sensational to Grace Kelly, and uses the line, "Making love is quite an art". And again, after Sinatra and Kelly get drunk and leave the party early... during the dance scene by the pool, he sings, "Mind if I make love to you?"
  • "Making violent love" once referred to nothing more "violent" than an overly emotional courtship, and was often used to describe a man ardently proposing marriage. Hence the scene in Its A Wonderful Life: "He's making violent love to me, mother!"
  • The 1939 Fleischer cartoon Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp had Popeye utter this immortal line to Olive Oyl: "I don't know what to say... I've never made love in Technicolor before!" Definitely not something you could say in a cartoon in this day and age...
    • The term also comes up a few times in the original E.C. Segar strips.
  • In Singin' in the Rain, Lina Lamont has trouble adjusting to sound films. She complains of having to speak toward a microphone hidden in the scenery. "Well, I can't make love to a bush!"
  • In the Danish film Operation Lovebirds, Frede calls the gun Schmidt gives him a "bøsse", a Danish term for gun that is today almost exclusively used in its other meaning, a gay man. Could be a case of Getting Crap Past the Radar, since Schmidt is very insistent that it is a "pistol", not a "bøsse".
  • In the film A Man for All Seasons, Sir Thomas More's daughter says "And you're very gay."
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Jeannie responds to an offer of drugs with "I'm straight."
    • Straight is still sometimes used to mean drug-free, admittedly clean is a more common term.
    • Straight is also used in some places to mean "okay", as in "I'm okay."
  • In the 1961 version of West Side Story, the song "I Feel Pretty" has the line "I feel pretty and witty and gay". (This line was never in the stage version, which used 'bright' to rhyme with 'tonight'. The movie version needed lyrics with a rhyme for 'today' because the song was moved to an earlier scene.)
    • Naturally, the "today" version is used in Anger Management when the main character is forced to sing the song in public. His intonation makes it clear that he realizes the double meaning, and that it applies perfectly to how emasculated he feels.
    • Same thing occurs in Analyze That. (complete with mocking: "I've been singing West Side Story songs for three fuckin' days, I'm half a fag already! ")
    • In Friends, this is used when Chandler and Monica visit Chandler's dad in "The One with Chandler's Dad". He headlines at a drag show and sings "I Feel Pretty", making the audience join him on the word "gay".
  • In Disney's Pinocchio, Honest John sings "Hi-diddley-day, an actor's life is gay!"
    • This one is especially amusing once you know that the use of the word "gay" to mean "homosexual" originated in theatrical slang well before it migrated to the mainstream vernacular
  • The title song of Forty Second Street refers to girls from "the fifties" and "the eighties" — as in the streets of Manhattan. By remarkable coincidence the former's description as "innocent and sweet" and the latter being "sexy" and "indiscreet" matches up too perfectly with stereotypes of The Fifties and The Eighties; the Screen-to-Stage Adaptation ran on Broadway throughout the latter decade.
  • In the musical Oliver! there is a song called "Who will buy" sporting the line "I'm so high, I swear I could fly." (He's just happy.)
  • Classic Kung Fu movie Dirty Ho. Yeah.
  • In the 1953 Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedy The Caddy, Jerry crashes a party where he identifies himself in song as "The Gay Continental".
    • In the same movie he teases his boss by calling him a 'skinhead', a term that has taken on implications above and beyond just making fun of a person's baldness.
  • Auntie Mame: "Pipe down, boy. The old man's hung," (meaning "hung over").
  • One The Three Stooges short is called Boobs In Arms. No, they do not meet a woman with Gag Boobs.
  • The Beatles movie Yellow Submarine features a character named Jeremy Hilary Boob, Ph.D. note 
    • Also, in one scene, a British guy calls out to a cat by the call of "Puss, puss... pussy, pussy... Here, pussy."
      • Which may or may not be an actual example of this trope, since the term "pussy" already had risque connotations even then. (See Main/Goldfinger, for example.)
  • In the 1959 film The Hanging Tree, a trio of amateur prospectors discover a huge deposit of gold beneath a tree stump, a sort of shallow mineral-rich trench or pit known as a...glory hole. Following which event we are treated to the scene of these people running back to town screaming "It's a glory hole!" over and over, and thousands of townsfolk swarming into the streets in a rapturous riot at the news.
  • Disney's Fun and Fancy Free with lines like Jiminy Cricket's "Life is a song - happy, gay" and the lyrics "What a very merry day/All the world is gay."
  • The Last Airbender: UK audiences were amused by the line "I always knew you were a bender." Here, "bender" means "Male homosexual."
    • Nicely pointed out by Rifftrax: "Do you think she means 'bender' the way British people use it? Google it, folks!"
    • The Italian version of the movie isn't better, as they translated 'bending' with 'dominio', resulting in a female bender being a 'dominatrice', or a dominatrix.
  • Black Sabbath features Boris Karloff delivering the line "Can't I fondle my own grandson?"
  • Bambi: Let's Sing A Gay Little Spring Song
  • The lost Orson Welles film Too Much Johnson. Tell me you don't think of Biggus Dickus from reading the title.
  • In Friendly Persuasion, a film set among Quakers in the 1860s, characters frequently tell each other how "pleasured" they are. Nowadays, the word "pleased" is used in that particular context. To be "pleasured" is something else altogether.
    • The phrase "serve at one's pleasure" is still used formally in political and business contexts. Nowadays, though, it's nearly impossible to hear the term and not think of oral sex.
  • In the 1931 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Miriam (Dr Jekyll's fiance) says that she does not believe Dr Jekyll loves her seriously. He responds with "oh, I love you better than that. I love you gayly!"
  • A movie poster for the 1956 film adaptation of George Orwell's 1984 rhetorically asked "Will ecstasy be a crime?" They obviously meant "happiness," but anyone who came of age in the 1990s or later is bound to think otherwise.
  • A borderline example in The Seven Year Itch, with Marilyn Monroe's character exclaiming "That sounds cool!" Since the word "cool" had its dual meaning by the mid-1950s, and she's referring to a glass of fancy liquor, it's hard to say.
  • In Laurel and Hardy's The Music Box, Stan kicks a nursemaid for laughing at his and Ollie's misfortune. She tells a passing police officer that Stan "molested" her.
  • Alice in Wonderland used this in "The Caucus-Race," where everybody feels "fancy-free and gay."
  • When the title character of Sabrina learns how to make a souffle, the teacher tells her and the other students, "The souffle, it must be gay. Gay like...two butterflies dancing the waltz in the summer breeze."
  • "Dyke's Auto Camp" in It Happened One Night might elicit a few snickers today.
  • In Dirty Harry, Harry wants to go after the Scorpio killer after he hijacks a bus full of children. The mayor reminds Harry that he gave his word that the killer wouldn't be "molested" in any way. Now of course, in this context he means "molest" in the context of "to bother", but...
  • It even turns up in The Mummy (1932). When the archaeologists find that Imhotep went unwillingly to his death and speculate he may have been execusted for treason, one of them says "Maybe he got too gay with the vestal virgins in the temple." Obviously he means flirty or licentious.
  • In The Lady Vanishes, when Gilbert realizes Iris is not hallucinating, he says "there's something definitely queer here," obviously meaning something is rotten in Denmark. Well, in Bandrika.

Intentional:

  • The meaning of "gay" became an Overly Long Gag in A Very Brady Sequel.
  • In a deleted scene from Back to the Future (available on the DVD), Marty worries about hitting on his own mother:
    Marty: You know, this is the kind of thing that could screw me up permanently. What if I go back to the future and I end up bein'... gay?
    Doc: Why shouldn't you be happy?
    • Doc also thinks that "hitting on" means actual hitting.
  • The Marx Brothers:
    • Horse Feathers — the handsome young man is playing his ukulele and singing a love song to the lovely young girl; she looks up and says "Are you making love to me?"
    • A Day at the Races has Groucho telling the female lead, "For you, I'd make love to a crocodile." note 
  • The Player uses both meanings in the exchange between June and Griffin: "Are you making love to me?" "Yes. I guess I am. I want to make love to you."
  • Parodied in the Time Travel romantic comedy Kate and Leopold regarding the Brooklyn Bridge:
    Leopold: [of the Brooklyn Bridge] Good Lord, it still stands. The world has changed all around it, but Roebling's erection still stands! Ha, ha!
    • A modern time traveler's amusement at the speech in which the Bridge is repeatedly called "an erection" is what causes Leopold to notice him in the first place.
    • It's quite hard not to laugh at Roebling proclaiming proudly, "Behold, rising before you, the greatest erection on the continent... the greatest erection of the age... the greatest erection on the planet!" It doesn't get much better when he continually refers to it as "My great erection!"
  • Ghostbusters II: Dana Barrett and Peter Venkman are enjoying a date out together when the remainder of the Ghostbusters team bursts into the restaurant rambling about ectoplasm in the city's underground and covered in a viscous, sticky substance (although, thank God, it's purple rather than white...) Venkman's response? "Boys! Boys! You're scaring the straights!" In one country, this was straight-up subtitled as (translated back to English) "you're scaring the heterosexuals".
    • This is actually a local New York dialect. It's short for "Straight-laced," i.e. someone who's such a plum-perfect that they take great care to keep their bootlaces perfectly straight.
  • Invoked deliberately for the 1981 comedy Zorro The Gay Blade, in every line of dialogue throughout the movie.
  • In Blast from the Past, Dave Foley's character tells Brendan Fraser's he's gay. Having been in a bunker for thirty-five years, Brendan thinks he means happy.
  • Invoked in the second Ice Age movie, when Manny is telling the kids a story about a young burro:
    Elk Boy: Burro is a demeaning name. Technically it's called a wild ass.
    Manny: Fine. The wild ass boy went home to his wild ass mother.
    Children: *laughter*
    Manny: See, that's why I called it a burro!
  • Your Highness invokes this deliberately after playing up a good bit of Ho Yay between brothers Fabious and Thadeous, when Fabious asks his brother to "Stay here and be gay with father and me!"
  • Isaac Hayes deliberately plays with this in this theme for Shaft, describing him as a "black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks."
  • Parodied in the 1980s western spoof Rustlers Rhapsody in a scene where Big Bad Colonel Ticonderoga tells an underling to "throw a faggot on the fire." The underling gets up timidly, asking for clarification, to which Ticonderoga tells him to throw some wood on the fire, the original definition of the term. The underling is noticeably relieved.
  • From National Lampoon's Senior Trip:
    Miosky: I wanna do a Jap.
    Virus: Hey! How about Carla Morgan? I hear she's half Jewish!
    [Miosky slaps Virus across the face]
    Miosky: Not that kind of Jap. A real Jap from China. With silky soft skin, almond eyes and straight blonde hair.
    Dags: A blonde Japanese. Hmmmm.
    Miosky: They're a rare breed, but they're out there - and I'm gonna find one.
  • One might think this is what happens in Bringing Up Baby, when David ends up wearing Susan's nightgown and answers the door. "Why are you wearing those clothes?" "Because I just went gay all of a sudden!" It's actually one of the earliest uses of the modern definition on film (though mostly actors and other Hollywood types used it at that point).
  • The use of "boob" to mean "fool" in Horton Hears a Who! feels almost like a Defied Trope the way they repeatedly deliver it completely straight.
  • In Belle, much is made of Elizabeth "coming out" and Dido not "coming out." It did not mean "to announce one's sexual orientation" as it does today: "coming out" meant that one was officially on the marriage market and was looking for suitors.
  • An early scene in Your Highness has prince Fabious tell his brother Thaddeus he wants him to "be gay with me and father". As mentioned above, it means "be merry" in archaic terms; but since the movie's a raunchy Swords And Sorcery spoof, it's obviously intentional; and pairs great with Fabious and Thaddeous' Incest Subtext Running Gag.


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