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Old 03-31-2003, 01:03 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: NJ USA
Posts: 310

Ok it seems that while our Canuck correspondents were asleep on the job.
my ever alert wife Susan has found that the Toronto Star yesterday published a nice pic of our man and a well-known Toronto venue
try this nice short link (Char hint hint ) to see it
She asked me to post this as a little bit of inspiration in these uncertain times of no news from EMP (hint hint)

P.S.Just realised that the blurb lower down the page also alludes to our dear
Char. Yowsa!!
P.P.S. despite checking some of Google's 3100 links when I searched for the derivation or meaning of the word "yowsa" I could find nothing useful. Any ideas anyone??
John Fowles
Lightfoot webring at
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Old 03-31-2003, 02:20 PM   #2
Auburn Annie
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Location: Upstate New York
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RE: Yowsa/yowza (from a discussion forum on language):

This was the catchphrase of bandleader Ben Bernie (1893-1943).
From: John Henley <>

"Yowza, yowza, yowza": this phrase was actually popularized in the 1920s by an American band leader named Ben Bernie. He was a white man who affected a black accent, and would often pop out with the phrase between or even during the musical numbers.
From: (David Demery)

Does anyone remember the film They Shoot Horses Don't They? During the dance marathon section, I'm sure the MC (or whatever function this guy on the stage has) encourages the exhausted dancers on with the phrase, "Yowsa, yowsa, yowsa." Some of our older readers, who were around during the Depression, can, perhaps, clear this up for us.
From: John Henley <>

Ya gotta go back way farther. Yes, Dem, I remember those days well. "Yowza yowza yowza" was popularized by the American bandleader Ben Bernie who flourished in the 1920s/30s. He was one of the first nationally-popular radio artists, and his program began some-thing like this: "Yowza, yowza, yowza, lads and lassies, this is the Old Maestro speaking."
It's amazing how many old American pop culture references you can pick up from Warner Brothers cartoons. I believe they turned Ben Bernie into a tuxedo'd bird of some variety.
From: (Biffyshrew)

I believe "yowsah" was archaic black dialect (or at least exaggerated/fabricated black dialect, a la Amos & Andy/Thingfish), literally meaning "yes, sir," but possibly also used as an expression of amazement. More to the point, "Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah" was the vocal hook (and subtitle) of a big disco hit of the '70s: "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" by Chic (their first hit, released 1977). Certainly this is what FZ is referring to in the context of his disco parody.
From: (Michael Gushulak)

I heard "yowsa" times three in an old Warner Bros. cartoon, one of the early ones that feature caricatures of entertainers of the day. The phrase was uttered several times by a band leader named Ben Birdie, after Ben Bernie, a real band leader of the 1930s. I suppose "yowsa" was a catchphrase of the original B.B.

For more on Ben Bernie, see

[This message has been edited by Auburn Annie (edited March 31, 2003).]
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Old 03-31-2003, 03:49 PM   #3
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Location: Owosso and Houghton Lake, MI
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Thanks John for the link. Unfortunately, however, it is a file photo and not something current. Looks to be circa about 1990. When I first read your post I was hoping for something new!

Per Gord,
"Waiting for you to ask what's keeping me"
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