Solid Potato Salad – Why There’s No Reason A Scene In A Movie Has To Have Anything To Do With The Movie Itself
Have you ever heard of a movie called Broadway Rhythm, or a group of performers called The Ross Sisters? No? Well, me neither up until a few days ago. Then this video popped up on my Facebook feed. The caption said “You won’t believe what these girls do next!”
Normally when I click on something with a caption like that, I can pretty much guess what’s going to happen next. This one completely blindsided me though. It started off like a typical scene in any 1940s “screwball comedy”. Then, a couple of minutes in, it got really freaky. Here’s the video if you think I’m exaggerating:
If you were a cinema-goer watching this in 1944- the year of the movie’s release- you might think that somebody had spiked your popcorn with peyote or something. Some of the things these girls do seem physically impossible. You can’t see any wires either, and back in 1944 if you couldn’t see any wires that meant that there weren’t any wires. There’s one bit where it looks like they might have reversed the film, but other than that I can’t see any trickery.
And what the fuck does “Solid Potato Salad” mean anyway? I scoured the internet for hours and nobody seems to know. The closest I got to an answer was that “solid” meant “really good” back then, much as it does now. A lot of slang words are older than you think.
The song’s lyrics aren’t much help in figuring the mystery out. The bits that are in normal English, accompanied by The Ross Sisters’ miming, would appear to suggest that “Solid Potato Salad” means literally what it says. Really good potato salad. And that can’t be it.
All the rest of the lyrics- and there aren’t that many- are of the “Shooby-dooby-skiddly-wap” variety. I don’t speak “hep” or “jive” or whatever they called that sort of thing back then, so I haven’t figured out very much from those either.
One thing’s for certain though. The Ross Sisters weren’t hired primarily for their singing voices. And I don’t think their performance shaped the dramatic arc of the movie to any significant extent. If indeed the movie even had a dramatic arc.
So my guess is that “Solid Potato Salad” was a kind clumsy sexual metaphor. For “Solid Potato Salad” substitute “Loose Women”. Loose in more than one sense, too.
Bear in mind the release date of the movie. 1944. I think it was aimed at the American soldiers who were just about to invade on D-Day. “Look boys” the movie said, “you’re all about to risk your lives. But while you’ve been training over in England, we’ve been teaching the girls back home to this. So if you make it back home as a hero, you will be greeted as such by scantily clad women. Really fucking bendy ones. They’re Solid Potato Salad, Jack. Take your plate, fill it up and bring it right back”.
I can’t think of a better reason to put a scene in a movie, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with the movie itself. Even if this particular example had a few of the more gullible D-Day heroes slightly disappointed by the lack of pretty contortionists greeting them on their return Stateside.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2015
Tags: 1944, Bendy, Bendy Girls, Broadway Rhythm, Cinema, Contortionists, D-Day, England, facebook, freaky, Hep, Jive, Loose Women, Metaphor, Movies, Peyote, Popcorn, Slang, Solid Potato Salad, Stateside, The 1940s, The Ross Sisters
About thedailygrimeAt that awkward age - too young to be a grumpy old man, but just acerbic and downtrodden enough to have an opinion. Read it here.
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