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Have A Gay Old Time / Film

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  • A 1926 film about a dumb country yokel who runs afoul of dangerous bootleggers was titled The Boob.
  • Grand Hotel: The Baron tells Kringelein that his creed is "a short life and a gay one", to which Kringelein responds: "A short life, Baron? And a gay one? That's very true in my case.".
  • 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, not homosexuals in a blender.
  • The Gay Divorcee:
    • While the film has a twist ending, it had nothing to do with homosexuality. The Hays Code did object to the title of the play it was based on, The Gay Divorce, because they said 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! Interestingly, the masculine version of that word in French (which is hardly ever used in English) is spelled "divorce" if you leave off the accent mark.
    • Also, it includes the song "Night and Day," which ends with these lines:
    And my torment won't be through
    Till you let me spend the rest of my life making love to you
    Day and night, night and day!
  • The Pre-Code film Sin Takes a Holiday has a character named Gaylord. Granted, it's an actual name, but no one would ever name their child that anymore.
  • In Shall We Dance? (1937), when Linda asks Peter what he will do after they go their separate ways, he answers, "I've got to get back to being a bachelor again. Sort of catch up with my usual gay life."
  • 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 hilarious tagline for Death Takes a Holiday: “No one can die - while he makes love!”
  • 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."
  • Midge's line in Vertigo about "the gay old Bohemian days of gay old San Francisco'' seems rather on-the-nose these days.
  • In It's a Wonderful World, the main character is frustrated that he’s lost time running away from the police, and that there’s probably a lot of “dicks” on his tail now. Of course, dick/dicks being the old term for a detective or policeman.
  • 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 It's 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. The 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 42nd 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 ’50s and The '80s; 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.)
  • There is a Kung Fu movie called 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.
  • Yellow Submarine:
    • The film features a character named Jeremy Hilary Boob, Ph.D. note 
    • Also, in one scene, a police Constable 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 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." In the UK, "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 title of the lost Orson Welles film Too Much Johnson might make a modern reader think of Biggus Dickus.
  • 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 UK the legal term of art "serving at Her Majesty's Pleasure" has no such connotation; that said, it's less likely to refer to the indeterminate tenure of some public officials and more likely to be used as a euphemism for saying that someone has been locked up for who knows how long.
  • In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931), Muriel (Dr. Jekyll's fiancée) 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."
  • It Happened One Night:
    • "Dyke's Auto Camp" might elicit a few snickers today.
    • Near the end of the film, the leading lady tells her fiancé "I want our life to be full of excitement… never a dull moment… we'll get on a merry-go-round and never get off! Promise me you'll never let me get off!" The sexual (or generic "having fun") sense of get off didn't exist at the time, but now it's a seeming self-contradiction. (Oddly appropriate, because she is saying that to cover up for no longer loving him.)
  • 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 executed 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.
  • Line from the movie version of You Can't Take It with You (1938): "It's certainly going to be gay around here when you leave, Grandpa?"
  • In Dodsworth (1936), one European says "I'm making love to you" to Fran; another invites the Dodsworths to "a very gay restaurant".
  • The 1930s documentary short "Catching Trouble" features animal trapper Ross Allen, who narrator Ted Husing keeps referring to as "my boy-friend", to the amusement of Joel and the 'bots watching on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (who have a low opinion of Ross).
  • Being a silent film, Tess of the Storm Country (1914) uses Funetik Aksent titles to render the dialogue of the uneducated poor folk characters. It leads to this bit from Tess's sister, who upbraids villain Ben Letts for not paying attention to their son.
    "Yer ain't never kissed our baby since he cum."
  • Only Angels Have Wings: "I hate to pull a boner on you." ("I hate to burst your bubble.")
  • In Three Wise Girls, Cassie's decision to Rage Quit her modeling gig is explained thusly: "Yeah, she upchucked a good job."
  • Martha's aunt refers to her single night theatrical performances as "one night stands" in The Children's Hour.
  • In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Doc, who's prone to Spoonerisms, asks "What are you and who are you doing?" It was meant to just be a nonsense phrase, but now it sounds like he's asking Snow White who she has sex with.
  • One of the lyrics in the song "What's This?" from The Nightmare Before Christmas has "In here, they've got a little tree! How queer!"
  • A Southern Pacific Railroad 1937 documentary "Daylighting the Padres'" about its luxury passenger liner rolls around California, can be viewed at and has a part at 17:36 in the video where the announcer says, "Yes, all this is San Francisco, a gay metropolis of fashionable shops, fine hotels." I wonder how prescient the announcer was.
  • Duchess sings "If you want to turn me on/Play your horn/Don't spare the tone/And blow a little soul into the tune" in the "Everybody Wants To Be A Cat" sequence of The Aristocats. Despite her tone and the tom cats gawking over her, the lyrics aren't meant to seem sexual.
  • The Wedding March: "If you think you can touch me, forget it," says Ottokar to his son. No, they don't have some weird gay incest thing going. In those times "touch" or "put the touch on" was slang for asking to borrow money.
  • In the bizarre 1934 film Maniac, a policeman interviews a neighbor of the titular Maniac. She makes a point of calling him a "queer" fellow (as in the word's original meaning of "odd" or "unusual"). She uses the word repeatedly to describe him and his doings and the people who come and go from his home. They're all so queer. They get queer in that house, and just keep doing queer things. The whole thing is just queer, really...
  • Tramp from Lady and the Tramp Really Gets Around, but his name refers to his vagabond nature as a scruffy stray dog.
  • The Terror of Tiny Town: During her song, Diamond Dolly sings to a midget cowpoke that he is "going to make love to her".
  • The 1980s special Ace Hits The Big Time contains a song with the lyrics "Last year we caught a bimbo who looked a lot like you. We used his head for pinball, the rest for barbecue". The term "bimbo" has since become near-exclusively used for ditzy women.
  • In the 1929 film The Valiant, the character assumes the Line-of-Sight Name James Dyke by looking at a calendar with an advertisement for Dyke Boilers.
  • In Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times (1936) Tramp's girlfriend writes on his sleeve the lyrics of a song he's supposed to sing and it starts as "A pretty girl and a gay old man flirted on the boulevard. He was a fat old thing but his diamond ring caught her eye".

  • The meaning of "gay" became an Overly Long Gag in A Very Brady Sequel.
  • Used in The Nice Guys to underscore Healy's view that kids know too much these days: a class of children watches a video that describes a towel as having 'gay colors' and they all burst out laughing.
  • 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 & 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 Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, 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.
  • In Billy Madison, Veronica Vaughn has to teach her 3rd grade class with a short story called "My Sister Fanny", and just lets them all giggle a bit and get it out of their system first. Billy doesn't get it, but then it turns out the story is on page 69 of their book, and he laughs by himself.
  • In Three Men and a Little Lady, Fiona Shaw's character compliments Peter's "mighty erections" (meaning the buildings he architected).
  • 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 to show that Giselle is old fashioned and innocent, since the movie is an Affectionate Parody of the old Disney movies.


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