Monday, 31 July 2006


Remember Frank Richard’s larger than life (and non-politically-correct) schoolboy, Billy Bunter - the so-called Fat Owl of Greyfriars - who was superbly portrayed on television by the late Gerald Campion?

I mention this because of a comment posted on yesterday's blog about the origin of the name ‘Jiminy Cricket' which, I suggested, was really a euphemistic alternative to the (possibly) blasphemous use of the name 'Jesus Christ'.

Now, if you ever read the comments on any of my blogs, you’ll know that the Diva of Deception is a regular poster of comments and is, herself, not easily deceived! Hence her remarks on the matter of Mr Cricket and Mr Christ...
Thanks for the insight into the origins of both the 'Pinocchio' story and the character and name of Jiminy - my favourite character in all of Disney.

My first visit to Disneyland resulted in my buying a Jiminy doll. Now I wonder if, due to the origins of the name, it's an appropriate 'doll' for a Jewish person? And is the exclamation 'Crikey!' from the same stable? Literally?
What can I say, Diva, except----

Oh, Lor'! Yes, I’m afraid it is it is! So too, are the exclamations (if you're ever tempted) Cripes! and Criminy! Hence my thinking back to the days when Master Billy Bunter used to say Crikey! and Oh, Lor! all the time without any of us ever giving it a second’s thought!

As for the religious question…

I have to say that I consider a Jiminy Cricket doll an entirely appropriate thing for ANYONE to have about the place, because he’s a “happy-go-lucky fella” (as he sings in his other feature film, Fun and Fancy Free) and because he most definitely knows RIGHT from WRONG, which is pretty important - whatever your religion!

In our house, I can happily reveal, Mr Cricket gets on terrifically well with my friend Buttons who happens to be a Non-Conformist --- and a rabbit which is, after all, only one letter longer than a rabbi…

So, when it comes to the issue of having or not having your own personal Jiminy Cricket, I’d say: “always let your conscience be your guide!”

[Image of Gerald Campion as Billy Bunter: The BBC Guide to Comedy]


Diva of Deception said...

So 'Crikey' isn't an expression for a Jewish girl - but Jiminy Cricket can reside happily beside Pinnochio here in my home? That's good to know....

You might also be interested to know that I have Button's brother lurking somewhere in this house so I know how your rabbit got his name! Problem with that family is that they will roam freely so I don't know where Brother Bunny has disappeared to at present.
I think he has an identity crisis as this place is so very full of bears....

Cafrine said...

Jiminy Cricket. I remember not liking that film as a kid because there was a bug, a cricket, and I'm not a big giant fan of bugs or crickets. But, suddenly, ol' Jiminy seems tremendously interesting. His name, at least.

Who knew there was so much to it?

Brian Sibley it seems!

Facinating stuff!

Disbob said...

Agree wholeheartedly about Jiminy Cricket being appropriate to keep in the house. I personally have any number of JC's in different guises. That way there's always someone with a conscience in any room, which save me the bother of worrying about it!


Brian Sibley said...

Does this apply to ALL rooms in your house, Bob? Must be a weight off your mind!! ;-)

disbob said...

With the temper of Donald, what do YOU think?

Anonymous said...


My wife, also being British, uses the saying "One over the eight". Do you know the origin of that? If you don't know, maybe buttons does.

Love you,

Allan & Toby

Brian Sibley said...

Yes, Allan (and Toby!), "one over the eight" means to have had one drink too many, and which of us (whether British or American) hasn't had THAT experience at some time in our lives?!

As to WHERE the phrase came from, Buttons did, of course, know the answer to that --- but only because he checked it out on a very useful site called The Phrase Finder.

This site quotes various definitions, such as:

"ONE OVER THE EIGHT: Heard more in England than in the US, this expression means to be drunk. It derives from the old superstition that one always becomes drunk after the eighth drink and not before."

- 'Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins' by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997)

And gives this fascinating little anecdote from one Marc Colson:

"I have a coin at home dated 1845. On the front is a picture of Dick Whittington and his cat. Around the engraving are the words Whittington & Cat Holloway 1845 John Colson. (My family name) On the back is a large figure 8.

"The story goes that two brothers lived in Holloway, London. One owned the public house and one owned a factory. In the wage packet of the workers in the factory the workers would receive this coin or token which would entitle them to 8 free pints of beer. They had to pay for 'one over the eight' hence its association with being drunk.

"Validity of this tale? It was passed down to me from my Grandmother and I have no reason to doubt it. I visited the public house in early '90s, but no one had heard the story..."

Well, that's hardly surprising - I don't know many British pubs where they'd stump up 8 pints of free beer on the basis of some deal involving a 150-year old coin!!