Saturday, June 26, 2010

The View from the Street 13

“Dog my cats!”

“Dog my cats!” David Mamet had Susan Ricci (Rebecca Pidgeon) use the phrase in the excellent The Spanish Prisoner. Mark Twain used the phrase three times in Huckleberry Finn but with the feline in singular. Melvyn Douglas uses a variation in Theodora Goes Wild. And I am told, but have not verified, that Mantan Moreland uses the phrase “Well, dog my cat” in Crime Smasher or Cosmo Jones, Crime Smasher, Monogram, 1943.

I do not recall the phrase being used in the New York region in my youth (the Forties) or thereafter. What little looking into the phrase that I have done indicates it is of southern United States origin (nineteenth century).

Click here to see the “dog my cats” exchange between Rebecca Pidgeon and Campbell Scott in David Mamet’s intriguing The Spanish Prisoner.

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