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  #1  
Old 04-13-2012, 08:58 AM
frubes frubes is offline
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The opera ain't over ...

I've always believed this was attributed to the great, late Casey Stengal, the long time manager of the New Yawk Yankees.
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2012, 09:52 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frubes View Post
I've always believed this was attributed to the great, late Casey Stengal, the long time manager of the New Yawk Yankees.
Would you be referring to this column?
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:05 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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According to The Phrase Finder,
Quote:
Cook was preceded however by US sports presenter Ralph Carpenter, in a broadcast, reported in The Dallas Morning News, March 1976:

Bill Morgan (Southwest Conference Information Director): "Hey, Ralph, this... is going to be a tight one after all."
Ralph Carpenter (Texas Tech Sports Information Director): Right. The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings."
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:17 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
According to The Phrase Finder,
This info is backed up by The Yale Book Of Quotations, which gives the date it was in the paper as March 10, 1976.
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2012, 10:19 AM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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"It ain't over 'til it's over" is often attributed to Yogi Berra. I don't find anything about a fat lady from either Berra or Stengel.

One of my favorite Casey Stengel quotes is "Good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa."
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2012, 04:16 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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There are also claims that it is an offshoot of of an old Southern saying, "Church ain't over 'til the fat lady sings", but I haven't run that one to ground yet.
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:30 PM
Zeldar Zeldar is offline
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Whether there's any validity to my memory, I always thought it applied to the character of Brunhilde in one of the Wagner operas. Either that or Kate Smith. I also realized Yogi was shooting for the "fat lady" thing and did your basic Yogi misfire on it. The "Church ain't over 'til the fat lady sings" would be (in my estimation) similar to the miscue from Yogi, since skinny ladies also sing in church.

Kate Smith's sign-off tune was IIRC "When the moon comes over the mountain" or something like that, and Kate rarely pushed away from the table too soon.
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:32 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeldar View Post
Whether there's any validity to my memory, I always thought it applied to the character of Brunhilde in one of the Wagner operas. Either that or Kate Smith. I also realized Yogi was shooting for the "fat lady" thing and did your basic Yogi misfire on it. The "Church ain't over 'til the fat lady sings" would be (in my estimation) similar to the miscue from Yogi, since skinny ladies also sing in church.
The trouble is that there is no record of Yogi ever saying anything close to the phrase in question.
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Old 04-13-2012, 04:48 PM
Zeldar Zeldar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
The trouble is that there is no record of Yogi ever saying anything close to the phrase in question.
Be that as it may, you do find "it ain't over till it's over" among those things attributed to Yogi. For instance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogi_Berra
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:28 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
There are also claims that it is an offshoot of of an old Southern saying, "Church ain't over 'til the fat lady sings", but I haven't run that one to ground yet.
The book Southern Words And Sayings(January 1976), by Fabia Rue Smith and Charles Rayford Smith, has in it the saying "Church ain't over till the fat lady sings". Even if this was something they made up instead of a real Southern saying, it still predates the March 10th 1976 reference by at least 3 months.

Last edited by Czarcasm; 04-14-2012 at 03:29 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-14-2012, 08:26 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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Czarcasm, I've brought this to Cecil's attention. He may amend the column, I can never predict how he'll react. One of the joys of etymology is, of course, that words/phrases are in use before they're written down, so there's (almost) always a chance of finding an earlier mention.
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  #12  
Old 04-14-2012, 08:56 PM
Quasimodem Quasimodem is offline
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I love Yogi Berra (I'm old enough to have seen him catch for the Yankees), and my favorite quote of his (as he arrived late for something): "This is the earliest I've ever been late."
=========================

And the "It ain't over till it's over" quote was taken a step further by (excuse the expression) O.J. Simpson who said, "It ain't over till it's over, and even then it's not over."

Sorry everyone. No cite, just memory (faulty as it is).

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Old 04-15-2012, 01:09 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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Czarcasm's cites are correct and the most up-to-date we have at this point.
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  #14  
Old 04-15-2012, 08:16 PM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
The trouble is that there is no record of Yogi ever saying anything close to the phrase in question.
I didn't say all the things I said. - Yogi Berra

Last edited by ZenBeam; 04-15-2012 at 08:17 PM..
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:49 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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The very last episode of St. Elsewhere had a fat female opera singer, in full Wagnerian armored breastplate and helmet with horns, being treated at the hospital for laryngitis. Moments before the end of the episode, she burst forth into song.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeldar View Post
...Kate rarely pushed away from the table too soon.
I like this phrase even more!

My favorite (attributed) Yogi-ism is when he noticed his son watching a Steve McQueen movie on TV. "Huh," said Yogi. "He must've made that one before he died."
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  #16  
Old 04-17-2012, 03:21 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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There was also a singing fat lady in the final episode of Cop Rock.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:46 PM
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Back in 1985 the Kansas City Royals played the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. The Royals lost the first two games, at home no less, won one game then lost another. So the standing was that they were down 3-1. During the fourth game I still remember a picture in the newspaper, of a St. Louis fan holding up a sign that read "The fat lady is humming!"

Of course Kansas City went on to win three games straight and take the Series 4-3. To this day they remain the only team to lose the first two AT HOME and still go on to take the title.
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  #18  
Old 04-19-2012, 08:21 PM
Quasimodem Quasimodem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Czarcasm's cites are correct and the most up-to-date we have at this point.
Don't know if that was directed at me, but of course they're correct. I was just veering off course as I am apt to do, Samclem.

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  #19  
Old 04-20-2012, 10:02 AM
Stormcrow Stormcrow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John W. Kennedy View Post
There was also a singing fat lady in the final episode of Cop Rock.
As well as at the end of the Marx Brother's Duck Soup, IIRC. EDIT: OK, she's not actually that fat, now that I find the movie on youtube. But she definitely ends the show.

Last edited by Stormcrow; 04-20-2012 at 10:04 AM..
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  #20  
Old 04-22-2012, 05:13 PM
colonial colonial is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker View Post
Back in 1985 the Kansas City Royals played the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. The Royals lost the first two games, at home no less, won one game then lost another. So the standing was that they were down 3-1. During the fourth game I still remember a picture in the newspaper, of a St. Louis fan holding up a sign that read "The fat lady is humming!"

Of course Kansas City went on to win three games straight and take the Series 4-3. To this day they remain the only team to lose the first two AT HOME and still go on to take the title.
In 1986 the Mets lost the 1st two at home and won the Series.
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  #21  
Old 04-22-2012, 09:29 PM
MikeFrumGeorgia MikeFrumGeorgia is offline
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This Thread Ain't Over

Cecil cited the first use of the phrase in sports, but he did not elucidate us on the phrase's meaning. To wit:

It's from Wagner's "Goetterdaemmerung", the fourth part of his "Ring" tetralogy, and *the* source of every opera parody from Lou Costello to Elmer Fudd for the past 100 years.

Goetterdaemmerung is a looong opera, even by Wagnerian standards, full of gods, giants, heroes, evil dwarves, and buxom maidens with spears, breastplates and horny helmets. The buxomest of all is Brunhilde, who is in love with beefcake tenor Siegfried, the hero's hero.

About three (in the abridged version) hours into the production, Siegfried gets killed, like any good opera hero. There is the usual drawn out death aria, followed by an over-the-top LOUD orgy of trumpet brass that comprises his funeral march. Anyone who doesn't know the story would reasonably assume the opera is over -- the hero is dead, and we just heard a song and saw a spectacle that has finale written all over it.

But not with Wagner! There's still another good 30 - 40 minutes wherein Brunhilde (usually played by, well, a fat lady) comes out and destroys not only the whole world, but heaven, hell, the stage, the other characters, and any audience member that might get too close, singing of course all the while.

If Dan Cook originated the phrase (hard to believe it's not older), THIS is what he was referring to.
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