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Old 10-17-2009, 08:54 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Take me to your leader

I don't know when I first heard the phrase 'Take me to your leader.' I watched a lot of bad science fiction and horror movies on the local station when I was a kid, and maybe I heard it there. Or perhaps it was in a cartoon, or a TV show. In the '80s I picked up a copy of Bob Stevens's There I Was..., which featured his cartoons from the '50s or '60s, and he used the line in one.

Does anyone know the origin of the phrase? When did it become a meme?
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Old 10-18-2009, 02:54 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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This Time Magazine story from December 1958 indicates it was a joke craze a few months earlier. I recall the phrase being current in the late 50s or early 60s.

I specifically remember seeing some comedian on TV tell the "Take me to your Liederkranz" joke, and asking my father to explain it, since I had never heard of the cheese.

Last edited by Colibri; 10-18-2009 at 02:57 AM..
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Old 10-18-2009, 04:43 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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I think we used to say it in the late 50s. There was a lot of space/alien-related stuff around then.
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Old 10-18-2009, 08:55 AM
samclem samclem is offline
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The earliest found so far is by Fred Shapiro--he found a cartoon in the New Yorker in 1953 which showed two aliens(with space ship behind them) approaching a horse and saying "kindly take us to your President." Yeah, not the same exact, but it probably/possibly helped to originate it.

The first instance he found of the exact thing you want is in a 1955 column by Walter Winchell which said "take us to your leader."
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Old 10-18-2009, 09:02 AM
samclem samclem is offline
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Very definitely a meme by late 1957, early 1958.
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Old 10-18-2009, 12:08 PM
F. U. Shakespeare F. U. Shakespeare is online now
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I was born in 1959, and when I was very young, people would tell jokes involving spacemen landing on earth which ended with 'take me to your leader'.

As in the Time article, they often involved puns on the word 'leader', or the aliens' mistaking earth animals or machines as earth people. (A variant I remember from an old Bennett Cerf collection: An alien lands, gets out of his flying saucer, and sees a car signaling a turn. "Oh no you don't", the alien says to the car "My mom warned me about dames like you!")

I don't remember the date, but a Mad magazine compilation from that era had an article poking fun at highly-specialized insurance policies. One proposed 'joke insurance' policy agreed to pay the policy holder some sum of money in the event that the policy holder forgot the punchline "to a good joke" while telling it to friends. A footnote next to the words "good joke" stated that the policy "(does) not cover 'take me to your leader' gags", indicating that the whole thing had become passe.
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