23 Skidoo

1: A slang phrase

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Postcard via.

skidoo, v. N. Amer. slang. (ski’du:) Also skiddoo. [Orig. uncertain, perh. f. skedaddle v.]

2. In catch-phrases. a. Used as an exclamation of disrespect (for a person). Esp. in nonsense association with twenty-three. (temporary.)

1906 J. F. Kelly Man with Grip (ed. 2) 99 As for Belmont and Ryan and the rest of that bunch, Skidoo for that crowd when we pass. Ibid. 118 ‘I can see a reason for ‘skidoo’,’ said one, ‘and for ‘23’ also. Skidoo from skids and ‘23’ from 23rd Street that has ferries and depots for 80 per cent. of the railroads leaving New York.’ 1911 Maclean’s Mag. Oct. 348/1 Surrounded by this conglomerate procession as I went on my way, the urchins would yell ‘Skidoo,’ ‘23 for you!’

b. spec. as twenty-three skidoo: formerly, an exclamation of uncertain meaning; later used imp., go away, ‘scram’.

1926 C. T. Ryan in Amer. Speech II. 92/1, I really do not recall which appeared first in my vocabulary, the use of ‘some’ for emphasis or that effective but horrible ‘23-Skiddoo’—perhaps they were simultaneous. 1929 Amer. Speech IV. 430 Among the terms which the daily press credits Mr. Dorgan with inventing are:…twenty-three skiddoo (go away). 1957 W. Faulkner Town iii. 56 Almost any time now Father would walk in rubbing his hands and saying ‘oh you kid’ or ‘twenty-three skidoo’. 1978 D. Bagley Flyaway xi. 80 This elderly, profane woman…used an antique American slang… I expected her to come out with ‘twenty-three, skidoo’.

From the Oxford English Dictionary

2: An esoteric poem by Aleister Crowley

23

SKIDOO

What man is at ease in his Inn?
Get out.
Wide is the world and cold.
Get out.
Thou hast become an in-itiate.
Get out.
But thou canst not get out by the way thou camest in. The Way out is THE WAY.
Get out.
For OUT is Love and Wisdom and Power.
Get OUT.
If thou hast T already, first get UT.
Then get O.
And so at last get OUT.

From The Book of Lies (1912/13)

3: A film by Julian Biggs

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23 Skidoo (1964).

If you erase the people of downtown America, the effect is bizarre, not to say disturbing. That is what this film does. It shows the familiar urban scene without a soul in sight: streets empty, buildings empty, yet everywhere there is evidence of recent life and activity. At the end of the film we learn what has happened.

4: 23 Skidoo Eristic Elite by William Burroughs

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International Times, issue 18, Aug 31–Sept 13, 1967.

From Burroughs proceed to Illuminatus! (1975) by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, and many subsequent derivations.

Continue reading “23 Skidoo”

The Last Words of Dutch Schultz, a film by Gerrit van Dijk

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Gerrit van Dijk’s combination of live-action sequences and rotoscoped animation is tangentially related to William Burroughs, it being Burroughs who popularised the deathbed ramblings of New York gangster Arthur “Dutch Schulz” Flegenheimer with a “fiction in the form of a film script” also entitled The Last Words of Dutch Schultz (1970).

Flegenheimer was gunned down in the toilet of the Palace Chop House in Newark, New Jersey, in October 1935. Three of his associates had also been shot but he survived, and he spent two days muttering in his hospital bed while a police stenographer took notes. Burroughs was fascinated by the dissociated stream-of-conscious nature of the transcript which revealed little about his assailants but drifted feverishly through memories and hallucinations. The shooting and the deathbed ramblings were further popularised in 1975 by the publication of the Illuminatus! trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson in which some of Flegenheimer’s more surreal pronouncements—”A boy has never wept nor dashed a thousand kim”—acquire occult significance. Flegenheimer and his last words also turn up in Exterminator! (1973), and Burroughs further fragmented the transcript in at least one of his own recordings where he reads out the equally strange phrases from transcripts of so-called electronic voice phenomena over an earlier reading of Flegenheimer’s words; the voices of the (supposed) dead wiping out the voice of the dying.

Burroughs’ Last Words of Dutch Schultz is nicely presented in its original form, the pages being laid out like a screenplay interposed with crime-scene photos from the period, Flegenheimer’s mug-shots and Art Deco graphics. The scene descriptions range through Flegenheimer’s life and mob history; whether they would make a good film or not would no doubt depend on the director. A film based on the script would be feature-length, and the narrative is a very fragmented one. Gerrit van Dijk’s film runs for 23 minutes and takes a similar approach, dramatising the shooting from different angles while juxtaposing the live action with animated sequences that are often anachronistic. Rutger Hauer supplies Flegenheimer’s dying voice. The anachronistic moments don’t contribute much unless we’re meant to regard Flegenheimer’s fever as being some kind of precognitive vision. Given the nature of the material—Depression-era gangsters, hallucinations, the Burroughs connection—I’m sure this won’t be the last film we see on the subject.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Burroughs at 100
Nova Express, a film by Andre Perkowski
Decoder, a film by Jürgen Muschalek
The Burroughs Century
Interzone: A William Burroughs Mix
Sine Fiction
The Ticket That Exploded: An Ongoing Opera
Burroughs: The Movie revisited
Zimbu Xolotl Time
Ah Pook Is Here
Jarek Piotrowski’s Soft Machine
Looking for the Wild Boys
Wroblewski covers Burroughs
Mugwump jism
Brion Gysin’s walk, 1966
Burroughs in Paris
William Burroughs interviews
Soft machines
Burroughs: The Movie
William S Burroughs: A Man Within
The Final Academy
William Burroughs book covers
Towers Open Fire