So what does Heavens to Murgatroyd mean? I didn’t know about it until some time back.
It is an exclamation of surprise. Much like Cappn Haddock in Tintin had “Thundering typhoons” etc.
Now lets trace the origin of this term. ‘Heavens to Murgatroyd’ is as American as hot dogs and landscaping. Heavens to Murgatroyd dates from the mid 20th century. The expression was popularized by the cartoon character Snagglepuss – a regular on the Yogi Bear Show in the 1960s, and is a variant of the earlier ‘heavens to Betsy’.
The first use of the phrase wasn’t by Snagglepuss but comes from the 1944 film Meet the People. It was spoken by Bert Lahr, best remembered for his role as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. Snagglepuss’s voice was patterned on Lahr’s, along with the ‘heavens to Murgatroyd’ line.
Daws Butler’s vocal portrayal of the character was so accurate that when the cartoon was used to promote Kellogg Cereals, Lahr sued and made the company distance him from the campaign by giving a prominent credit to Butler.
So where did you hear it for the first time?