Anachronistic words in the Rifleman.

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Anachronistic words in the Rifleman.

Post by cowgirl » Thu May 18, 2017 12:27 pm

mikecom:49957 wrote:In the very first episode when Lucas calls Vernon a 'punk'. Was that used in 1881?

Also, there is an episode in the early seasons where Mark uses the word 'swell'.

IMO, I think these words were not used in the late 19th century. I could be wrong. Any thoughts fellow fans? Any other instances of language you've picked up on that you don't feel quite belong?
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Re: Anachronistic words in the Rifleman.

Post by cowgirl » Thu May 18, 2017 12:27 pm

Western Gal:49964 wrote:Asbestos was used in "The Pitchman". Even though it's been around for a very long time, it didn't seem to belong in that time or place.
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Re: Anachronistic words in the Rifleman.

Post by cowgirl » Thu May 18, 2017 12:28 pm

Ronny G:49965 wrote:I seem to recall a similar discussion over at one of the Little House on the prairie boards where one of the phrases, "see you later," was deemed inappropriate for the times.
I don't know if it was ever said on The Rifleman, but I'll be on the lookout for any other anachronistic words
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Re: Anachronistic words in the Rifleman.

Post by cowgirl » Thu May 18, 2017 12:28 pm

markisddg:49969 wrote:This is a great topic....I remember my great aunt used the word "swell" but that was back in the 1920's. She said so and so was a swell girl.

I can't think of any words off hand but I would think punk was out of place for the time. He should have said rascal? LOL

Just looked up some western slang and found one for Mark in Season 5.
Between hay and grass ~ neither man nor boy, half-grown.

Also in Dead Eye Kid Don asks Mark what's the nearest burg and Mark doesn't know what he means and he says town. Well it says that word, burg, was what they called a town in the west.

Here's another one Mudsill ~ low-life, thoroughly disreputable person. So we could say that Earl Bantry was a mudsill.
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Re: Anachronistic words in the Rifleman.

Post by cowgirl » Thu May 18, 2017 12:29 pm

mikecom:49973 wrote:'Rascal' would have worked.
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Re: Anachronistic words in the Rifleman.

Post by cowgirl » Thu May 18, 2017 12:29 pm

TVFan:49980 wrote:Great topic!  According to this, punk wasn't used in the context of young criminal or worthless person until 1917.  The word existed as far back as the 1590s, but it referred to a prostitute.
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Re: Anachronistic words in the Rifleman.

Post by cowgirl » Thu May 18, 2017 12:30 pm

mikecom:49983 wrote:Yeah, I looked up Sod Buster and the internet said that term wasn't used until 1913. Sod Buster is used quite liberally in TR and in many other westerns.

I imagine the writers may have had to walk a fine line in dialogue for a mid 20th century audience so they would understand certain things.

I thought 'weasel' might have been a good 19th century word that Lucas coulda called Vernon but thinking about it later, the viewing audience may have laughed at that word during a serious moment and it may have taken away from the story. However, I still think 'punk' was inappropriate.

I think I remember John Wayne explaining that his film was titled The Shootist because that's what gun slingers were called in the 19 century. He claimed the gun slingers term wasn't used but that's what 20th century western movies and TV called those kind of men.
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Re: Anachronistic words in the Rifleman.

Post by cowgirl » Thu May 18, 2017 12:37 pm

mikecom:49984 wrote:
Western Gal:49964 wrote:Asbestos was used in "The Pitchman". Even though it's been around for a very long time, it didn't seem to belong in that time or place.
I agree. I thought that the con man with his house model was so 20th century. Asbestos shingles in 1882? Even on a doll house?
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Re: Anachronistic words in the Rifleman.

Post by cowgirl » Thu May 18, 2017 12:37 pm

Howard:49985 wrote:But don't you think, that some of these words mentioned,
make more sense to the current viewing audience.

When they used the words like "punk", we knew exactly what they meant.
So while literally incorrect (perhaps), they were currently correct.

My grandmother used to use the word gay, to describe certain people.
They were not "gay" they were "happy/pleasant" people.
So I would not like to be considered "gay" today, by her, telling people
what type of guy I was.
(not that there is anything wrong with that) -Seinfeld

So for the sake of being understood, I think the writers used words, that
we would recognize in certain situations, and added continuity/clarity to the script.

Dan
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Re: Anachronistic words in the Rifleman.

Post by cowgirl » Thu May 18, 2017 12:38 pm

mikecom:49991 wrote:
Howard:49985 wrote:But don't you think, that some of these words mentioned,
make more sense to the current viewing audience.

When they used the words like "punk", we knew exactly what they meant.
So while literally incorrect (perhaps), they were currently correct.

My grandmother used to use the word gay, to describe certain people.
They were not "gay" they were "happy/pleasant" people.
So I would not like to be considered "gay" today, by her, telling people
what type of guy I was.
(not that there is anything wrong with that) -Seinfeld

So for the sake of being understood, I think the writers used words, that
we would recognize in certain situations, and added continuity/clarity to the script.

Dan
Yeah. I agree and said as much in my previous post. With these shows I guess one cannot be too nit picky over lottsa things because it's fiction and entertainment. The audience is mid 20th century so artistic license to make the story believable and understood by the audience will trump exactness.

Let's face it, the biggest anachronism in the show was Lucas' rifle which wasn't produced until ten years after 1881 from what I read.

I started the thread just to see if other people agreed with me about certain things I picked out that seem out of place and to see if they picked out other things I didn't see.

As for the 'gay' word, my nieces and nephews let out huge laughs if they watch a moldy oldie movie where it's used to describe someone who is happy.
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