Steve Eighinger

Some of those catchy catchphrases catch on -- for a long time

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Nov. 13, 2017 8:35 am

Some of the catchiest catchphrases from our favorite TV programs often become a part of our vernacular, and eventually an integral part of our pop culture.

While most of these overused and abused expressions will eventually run their course and are never heard again, some pass the test of time and remain a part of our conversations decades later.

Here are some of my all-time favorites that have enjoyed a long life and, for the most part, show no signs of declining in popularity:

º "Yada, Yada, Yada," first spoken by Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) on a 1997 episode of "Seinfeld." The Paley Center for Media in New York City, formerly the Museum of Television and Radio, named "Yada Yada Yada" the No. 1 all-time funniest TV phrase.

º "The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat," was first voiced by the late Jim McKay of ABC Sports. Those words became famous as part of the melodramatic introduction to "ABC Wide World of Sports" and eventually became a national catchphrase that is still heard to this day -- more than 50 years later.

º "Who loves ya, baby?" is what actor Telly Savalas would ask us on a weekly basis as detective "Kojak." Savalas coined the phrase in 1973 and it remains a popular comeback all these years later.

º A case could be made that "Aaaaay!" is the most popular catchphrase to ever emerge from a TV show. First spoken by Fonzie on "Happy Days" in 1974, it mushroomed out of control for years, maybe decades, buoyed by that program's long-running popularity. Fonzie was the fictional character portrayed by Henry Winkler during the show's 1974-84 run, and his tough-guy image (with a heart of gold, of course) was cemented by that phrase.

º "Heeeere's Johnny!" is how announcer and longtime pal Ed McMahon would introduce Johnny Carson at the beginning of NBC's "The Tonight Show." We heard that for 30 years (1962-92). How many of your friends have ever said to you, "Heeeere's Tom!" (or Bob, Don, Jason, etc.) when you enter a room? You can thank "The Tonight Show" every time you have heard that greeting uttered.

º "Norm!" originated on NBC sitcom "Cheers" in 1982. Whenever regular Norm Peterson (played by George Wendt) would enter the bar, he was typically greeted in that fashion by the regulars. How many of us have had our name yelled in similar fashion when entering a room? For the most part, we can all thank Norm for that. (Or Ed McMahon.)

º "Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!" comes from "The Adventures of Superman" in 1952. This phrase remains popular, in some form, and is used by many who probably have no idea how it originated. Fans of that show might also remember the follow-up phrasing included "Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!"