A posting on the Linguist List indicates that muldoon was at one time American slang for a policeman.
BTW it’s a fascinating post, concerning an ex New York City Poilce Commissioner called George Washington Matsell, who turned lexicographer and published a glossary of thieves’ slang, Vocabulum, 1859.
“Experience has taught me that any man engaged in police business cannot excel without understanding the rogues’ language.” He has a point.
How the term wound up being used in Texas for a dolt I have no idea.
Muldoon The Solid Man was a vaudeville sketch in the 1870s to 1890s. The character Muldoon was an Irish immigrant “ward heeler” (political boss in the Tammany Hall sense), and the musical sketch pokes affectionate fun at his pomposity. It was written by Harrigan and Hart, the Rodgers and Hammerstein of the day. Another of H&H’s hits was “The Mulligan Guard”, about a bumbling patriotic-immigrant society that marched on parade in NYC. The shows and their songs were know to Rudyard Kipling and James Joyce, and filtered “backward” into Irish folk music (that is, the tune was an authentic folk song, and many people today connect the song not with vaudeville but with Mick Moloney, the great folk singer who died this past July.)
So I’m guessing that Scrambledeggs’ old officer may have been Irish and/or was referring to the vaudeville characters (some of whom were pseudo-military).
Ain’tcha glad y’ast?
A “Muldoon” was a slang word for Police foot patrolmen primarily East Coast big cities as well as Chicago. In the British Army any infantryman in a Irish regiment might be referred to as a Muldoon (possible connection between the USA cities and prior use in UK?). Until WW@ many Irish Catholics joined the British Military as there was no economic opportunities for Irish Catholics in their own country (not a nation until the Irish Free State in the 1920s).
I’m surprised no one has yet mentioned the supposed derivation of “hoodlum” from “muldoon”. It’s folk etymology; the actual origin of “hoodlum” is unknown, except it arose in San Francisco around 1870, probably from the name of a local gang. There are a variety of implausible folk etymological origins proposed, one of which is that it’s a (faulty) reversal of the name “Muldoon”.
Muldoon is also the name of a road and a neighborhood in east Anchorage, AK. In the past, at least, it’s been considered a seedier part of town, with a number of trailer parks, etc. Coincidentally, it’s also the closest neighborhood to the military bases. In this case, however, it was named after early settler Arnold Muldoon.