By Jiminy

‘scuse my French…

There I was, watching the 1939 Wizard of Oz, and suddenly Dorothy exclaims “Jiminy Cricket”!

Was I watching the right film? Had there been yet another random tv channel switching incident? (A frequent occurrence in a household with teenage girls, where I am only allowed ‘the gadget‘ after others have gone to bed.) Isn’t Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio? And which came first? Oz, or Pinocchio?

Jiminy Cricket

Jiminy Cricket

Which came first – what here is chicken, and what is egg? A quick glance on Wiki, and the slightly surprising answer is that Oz was out the year before the 1940 Pinocchio. But even that was not the first, as Judy Garland herself had used the same phrase in the 1938 film ‘Listen, Darling‘. Suddenly, I seem to be in to film textual criticism. Even earlier references apparently include the 1930 film Anna Christie.

Is it possible this expression ended up in the final edit through the casual use of the phrase by a teenage actress, and the director says ‘Yes, keep it in!”?

I had either forgotten, or maybe never really knew, that Jiminy Cricket was coined as an alternative ‘euphemistic expletive’ for that other JC. Not sure one should use a euphemism for his name. He seems happy enough for us to use it, with respect, as it is. Jesus.

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