Curses, Foiled Again

Ed Newman
Ed Newman
Jun 28, 2018 · 2 min read

Our hearts went out to Cubs fans when they were thwarted in 2008 so I posted this lamentation in October of that year…

The origin of the line “Curses, foiled again!” is from the wonderful and hilariously popular cartoon show, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (1959–1964), also known for a time as Rocky and His Friends. If you’re too young to remember Rocky & Bullwinkle, you’re too young to rule the world…

“Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.”

Bullwinkle pulls out a hostile rhino face, or sometimes a roaring lion’s head, and pushes it back in.

“Wrong hat.”

OK, it was a kids show, but incredibly creative. Masterful. The format of the show had Rocky and Bullwinkle as hosts introducing the other cartoons, which were also set pieces like established regular acts on a variety show: Dudley Do-Right, Mr. Peabody, Fractured Fairy Tales and Mr. Know-It-All.

The phrase “Curses, foiled again” routinely emerged from the mouth of villain Snidely Whiplash whom our hero Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties had to defeat every week in order to rid the world of evildoers, thereby winning the heart of his fair Nell.

I love the names of these villains. Because this was the Cold War era, Rocky & Bullwinkle’s nemesis was Boris Badenov (bad enough), who with his assistant Natasha reminded us that not everything is innocence in this world of ours. The names are, of course, a dead giveaway as to who the “real” bad guys were at that time.

You can get a feel for both Bullwinkle’s and Boris’ characters in this little clip which is especially fun in these final weeks before the upcoming election.

But, that’s not really where today’s headline came from. Rather, the stimulus for this particular interconnected web of memories was…. well, I just feel bad for those Chicago Cubs fans who pinned so many hopes on this year’s team. In preparation for the World Series I created a little illustration which I’d hoped to post during Game One. But as is so often the case, Fate is a fickle mistress and the Cubs were eliminated in three games by the Dodgers. The real enemy, their arch nemesis perhaps once again, was themselves.

Two Cubs were reportedly injured after the game when they slipped and fell on a locker room floor made wet by manifold tears.

If I may, a line from the Beatles’ Abbey Road album comes to mind here. “Boy, you’re going to carry that weight, carry that weight a long time.”

Curses, foiled again.

# # # #

After posting this in 2008, I learned that the expression goes much further back than I’d realized. Alas and alack.What a happy day when the Cubs finally got the monkey off their backs.

Ed Newman

Written by

Ed Newman

Retired ad man, I’m an avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 https://pioneerproductions.blogspot.com/

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