Here are the first appearances of 12 immortal TV catchphrases, props and more

When was the first Vulcan salute? Or Kojak's first lollipop?

We know the catchphrases by heart. Our phones now have emojis of the hand gestures. There are certain props we always associate with characters. Our favorite television shows were filled with familiar moments. In hindsight, it's rather fascinating to see just how rare some of these iconic moments were, or how long it took before a series delivered them. 

While David Banner says, "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry" in the very first episode of The Incredible Hulk, other classic catchphrases came out of the writing rooms well after the premiere. Here are some lasting lines, tropes, props and more from TV history, and where you can spot their first appearance.


1. The first time Kojak sucked a lollipop.

"Dark Sunday"
Season one, episode eight

Poor Kojak had to go a full seven episodes without his trademark Tootsie. When asked about his new candy obsession, the cool bald cop says, "I'm looking to close the generation gap."

2. The first time Maxwell Smart says, "Missed it by that much!"

"The Day Smart Turned Chicken"
Season one, episode eight

Hey, another episode eight introduction! Smart had to wait that much to utter his classic catchphrase.

3. The first time Wonder Woman wears her blue wetsuit.

"The Bermuda Triangle Crisis"
Season two, episode four

Lynda Carter will never be topped as Wonder Woman — and her costume has yet to be bested, as well. Well, costumes. Diana Prince rocked a variety of looks between 1975 and 1979. Her formal cape get-up was sharp, but the blue jumpsuit remains a fan favorite. It was her preferred style for ocean dives and motorcycle rides.


4. The first time Barney says "Nip it in the bud."

"One-Punch Opie"
Season three, episode fourteen

In the book Mayberry 101, writer Harvey Bullock is quoted as saying, "There's a strange history to 'Nip it in the bud.' It appeared almost simultaneously in several scripts… I'm sure 'nipping' was first written in 'One-Punch'…"

5. The first time Spock gives his Vulcan nerve pinch.

"The Naked Time"
Season one, episode four

This is where Trekkies tend to get technical. "The Naked Time" (stardate 1704.2) marks the pinch's first appearance on screen, when Spock subdues a wild Sulu. Yet, "The Naked Time" was the seventh episode filmed in production order. "The Enemy Within" (shot earlier, stardate 1672.1) was the first time Nimoy performed the action as an actor. But we go with the audience and the television timeline.

6. The first time Spock gives his Vulcan salute.

"Amok Time"
Season two, episode one

It's fascinating that Star Trek went an entire year without its most familiar symbol, one that is now on all our smartphones. This is also the first time we hear the phrase "Live long and prosper."

7. The first time the Robot says "Danger, Will Robinson!"

"Deadliest of the Species"
Season three, episode eleven

To call this a "catchphrase" is a bit of a misnomer. Oddly, Robot B-9 utters this exact line just once, quite late in the series run.

8. The first time 'Happy Days' filmed before a live studio audience.

"Fonzie's Getting Married"
Season two, episode thirteen

There are many jarring elements from the early episodes of Happy Days — Fonzie's windbreaker, Chuck Cunningham, etc. Though nothing sets the first two seasons apart quite like the production style. In season three, the sitcom would shift to the more familiar three-camera, live-before-a-studio look so common with the genre. However, the series gave the filming technique a practice run in season two, making this outing a noticeable outlier in that second year.

9. The first time Festus comes to Dodge City on 'Gunsmoke.'

"Us Haggens"
Season eight, episode thirteen

When a show is on the air for 20 seasons, it is bound to shift through many phases — from half-hour episodes to hour, from black & white to color. Characters came and went, too. The beloved Festus shows up well into the run, in season eight. In his first appearance, he is a little more hard-boiled.

10. The first time a celebrity pops out of a window on 'Batman.'

"The Bookworm Turns"
Season one, episode 29

Over three seasons of Batman, 14 celebrities would pop their heads out the window of a skyscraper, everyone from Santa Claus to carpet kingpins. Jerry Lewis was the first. The comedian would meet the Caped Crusader in comic books, too.  by

11. The first time Jan says "Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!"

"Vote for Brady"
Season one, episode 11

A quote so popular it now sells Snickers. 

12. The first time someone says "Up your nose with a rubber hose" on 'Welcome Back, Kotter.'

"Welcome Back"
Season one, episode three

There is an interesting history for America's favorite insult of the 1970s. Barbarino delivers the classic line in the pilot episode — which would become the third episode aired. Oddly, in the first episode aired, "The Great Debate," the comeback was phrased as "Up your nose with a garden hose." The network thought that was somehow less offensive, so the tale goes. Nevertheless, there would be Up Your Nose with a Rubber Hose board games and novelty pop singles in little time.  

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