"Good day, sir. . ."

I said good day."

This line, usually said by an indignant character who has just told someone off, seems to pop up every now and then in comedies. Does anyone know it’s origins? The first time I can recall hearing it is Dustin Hoffman’s character saying it in Tootsie. Was it taken from some previous, famous work?I mean, I love the movie but I find it hard to believe that anyone would be riffing on a line from Tootsie today. Anybody got a clue (or even know what I’m talking about?)?

That’s the only place I’ve seen it. Can you give some other examples?

I’ve seen it elsewhere, but I can’t think of anyplace specific. I assume it’s a class thing. That is, the person saying ‘Good day!’ is showing his class superiority by A) dismissing the other person, and B) doing it in a way that allows him to claim that he was not vulgar.

The two places I know it from are “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (“You lose! You get nothing! Good day, sir!”) and, more prominently, Fez from “That 70s Show.”

Well, Helen Slater sort of does it to Michael J. Fox in Secret of My Success, but she just says, “Good morning” (in dismissal, which always strikes me as a bit odd).

Was the OP thinking of the exact line he quoted, or just similar ones like this?

Jon Stewart uses it all the time on The Daily Show…

I’ve always thought that the classic was Willy Wonka and the others are all references to that. Here’s an example from Myster Men:


And here’s the Willy Wonka:


It’s from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. That’s the origin.

Fez used it as a catch phrase in That 70s Show. It was never that funny, but after he used it incessantly it was annoying.

I see it pretty often in sitcoms now and view it as lazy writing. When the writers need a cheap and easy gag they fall back on this. Two times I have seen it made me smile. Once in How I Met Your Mother Barney says it and no one responds, so he says it a few more times and then Ted says something like: Barney, you are only going to… and Barney interrupts with I Said Good Day.

On The Big Bang Theory Sheldon does it and Leonard mumbles to himself: Who says good day?

I’m thinking of that exact quote said in a specific way which to me indicates it’s an intentional imitation of something else. Diogenes probably nailed it, though I didn’t recall it from Willy Wonka until he mentioned it.

The real question is…why is this said in our heads (and on The Daily Show) in a crotchety old English accent, when Willy Wonka was played by Gene Wilder with an American accent? :confused:

Ebenezer Scrooge says it to his nephew in A Christmas Carol, although, to be sure, he says “Good morning!”

Maybe Stewart just found that a fake Brit accent worked for his delivery - a stereotypical British formality and condescension suits the phrase…

Wow - I’ma gonna need to do me some searching, 'cause it would really surprise me if this were so recent. I had always assumed it dated back at least to 19th century England.

Well, that was quick. This guy at least says it was from Foghorn Leghorn, aping someone earlier.

I’ve got a little bit of a problem with that. The responder is apparently conflating two similar, but distinct remarks.

The remark asked about in the OP has the speaker saying “Good day, sir” as a dismissal, followed by his interlocutor attempting to advance the conversation with yet another point. The speaker then emphasizes that the audience is at an end, by saying: “I said ‘Good DAY’!”

The Foghorn Leghorn version is more of a verbal puntcuator in a monologue that the speaker is giving. And it doesn’t have to be “Good day” that is being punctuated. You will just as likely hear Foghorn Leghorn saying “That boy is, Isay that boy is about as sharp as a bowlin’ ball.” Or “That dog, Isay that dog is about as stupid as a sack of cement at the bottom of a well.”

I’m going with Dickens. I make no claims as to the first time the peremptory dismissal was given as “Good day” as opposed to “Good morning.”

The Willie Wonka scene was not a quote or allusion to Foghorn Leghorn. It had no irony in it. It was not a movie that made pop culture references like that at all. It was just the character being the character.

Anyway, Foghorn said “I say…” not “I said,” and the pattern in question involves a dismissive “good day,” followed by a more emphatic, “I said good day, sir,” after the other person starts to speak. That’s Willie Wonka, man.

ETA I acknowledge it could be a subtle reference to Dickens. What is the exact quote from Scrooge?

I’m going to bet a lot of money it was not the Willy Wonka movie. As suggested upthread, this is pretty much how you would say “goodbye” to someone in formal English of the Victorian period – and saying “goodbye” with a particularly dismissive tone that makes it far from a pleasantry is hardly an idea that first sprung to mind in 1974 or whenever. Was it in the book? If not, I would imagine some searching of Conan Doyle or Wodehouse would turn up examples of haughty dismissals phrased thusly.

I agree that whenever I hear the quote, I think of Tootsie, although Willy Wonka… and even Christmas Carol (or other Dickens) wouldn’t surprise me.

Another TV show that used it often was NewsRadio, courtesy of Bill McNeal at least twice – and possibly Matthew Brock and one of Jon Lovitz’s characters too. Bill was wont to use hifalutin’ or graceful language; I mean, the guy said “unhand me, good sir!” when enraged and it sounded perfectly natural for him! (Then again, he also used ‘booty call’ and it worked just as well. Oh Phil.)

My bad. It was afternoon, not morning.

From an online e-book (bottom of page 11):

It’s more specific than just “good day,” though, since it’s a full two to three lines of dialogue. It fits the movie version of the Wonka character, and it also makes sense that Stewart and the other TV writers would make a reference to something they saw in their childhoods. (Stewart would have been about 12 when Willy Wonka was released.)

I’m pretty sure it isn’t.