Can you translate all this 1950s slang heard in Perry Mason?

Are you a true hepcat, baby?

"The Case of the Jaded Joker" is one of our favorite Perry Mason episodes, perhaps just for the moment alone when Della Street blurts, "Dig the hipster!" To which the aged Lt. Tragg, holding a smoke, says, "Don't bug me, granny."

Yep, this case is about beatniks. But that is not all. The plot centers around a wash-up "chuckleman" named Danny Ross (Frankie Laine), who peppers his lines with Yiddish. His two hangers-on, Freddie (Walter Burke, giving a wonderful Willem Dafoe-esque performance) and Buzzie (Bobby Troupe, the jazz pianist who wrote the song "Route 66") become the main suspects, and stuff each scene with gobs of beatnik and hard-boiled slang.

You get lines like, "The cool ones take the tail out of their faces," "I'm beat, daddy," and "I don't dig slick chicks tryin' to goof me up."

Let's see how well you can understand all the slang in one wonderful Perry Mason episode!

Watch Perry Mason on MeTV!

Weekdays at 9 AM
Weeknights at 11:30 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
  1. What's a "square"?
  2. Della asks Perry, "What's a schnook?" How does Perry define it?
  3. Throughout the episode they keep talking about how the body was found in a "kneehole." What's a kneehole?
  4. What are "hot mitts"?
  5. Is "boffo" good or bad?
  6. What does it mean to "go for a snort"?
  7. Buzzie says, "Slobs go for smash." What is smash?
  8. What is Tragg talking about when he says "tea"?
  9. What is the "island"?
  10. What is a "ganef"?
  11. What is Freddie talking about when he talks about "jostlin'"?
  12. What best defines a "megillah"?

Can you translate all this 1950s slang heard in Perry Mason?

Your Result...

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Pellentesque nec ante ipsum. Mauris viverra, urna et porta sagittis, lorem diam dapibus diam, et lacinia libero quam id risus.
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DerekBird 4 months ago
You got 11 out of 12
So, are you a hepcat or a square?

Missed #7.
RedjacArbez 4 months ago
Can you translate all this 1950s slang heard in Perry Mason?
You got 12 out of 12
So, are you a hepcat or a square?

frances3agape 13 months ago
WOW - 5 of 10.
Only knew 4, correctly guessed 1.
Never heard of rest.
More into 40s film noire than 50s
faunafan1 16 months ago
Got 12 out of 12. I watch too much TV.
Jeffrey 17 months ago
''You got 10 out of 12'' -------------So, are you a hepcat or a square? I'm a hepcat.
MarkSpeck 24 months ago
10 out of 12. Missed the last two.
Pacificsun 24 months ago
MeTV's "Search" feature no longer works. So I could not isolate stories about the show "Perry Mason" and Raymond Burr. So I will leave this little gem here in case any fans come across it anyway.

Here's a VERY rare clip (introduced by Barbara Hale) of Raymond Burr auditioning (screen testing) for the Hamilton Burger role, opposite another actor playing Perry Mason. You can thank your lucky stars that Mr. Burr failed the screen test. Apparently.
frances3agape Pacificsun 13 months ago
Keen !
Thanks for sharing
srrainwater 24 months ago
8/12. It’s the cats pajamas......Daddy O
Wiseguy 24 months ago
"Wash-up" should be "washed-up."
JerseyMike178 24 months ago
Whoever did these questions is strictly from the Land of Cube. You boys are lighting up the tilt sign to think this has anything to do with the Beats. MeTV had the most famous, coolest Beat of all time in Kookie from 77 Sunset Strip and you canceled the show!
He was the inspiration for Fonzie, he became such a rage that at one point he was on the cover of more magazines and the subject of more newspaper stories than any other star in the world!
Every male teen wanted to dress like and be him and repeated whatever beat/slang words he used on the latest episode. 77 Sunset Strip also had without a doubt the greatest collection of guest starlets in the history of TV. Donna Douglas never looked better, in fact she was astoundingly beautiful in her stint on the series. Even Sherry Jackson paled next to Donna. And MeTv blew it big time by NEVER promoting this series, and running it at 4 AM. It had style, great music, the coolest("ginchiest")
patter ever, and Victor Buono as Bongo Benny was the most stylish Beat ever.
If you guys had promoted it properly you might have had a retro hit on your hands. But no, you instead put on cookie cutter crappola like Barnaby Jones(Buddy Ebsen sleep walking thru his part) and Cannon. 77 Sunset Strip even featured on 3 episodes the legendary Beatnik Cafe Chez Paulette and its host Max. Bring back 77 Sunset Strip!
HEYYYY!!!! CANNON IS HOT!!! Don't diss my WC! Such a stud.
Oh, and Kookie is a dork, by the way. What a wimp. Always combing his greasy hair.
I saw Victor Buono on some Johnny Carson reruns.
Man could he do long monologues
jholton30062 24 months ago
You got 11 out of 12. Missed "jostlin'".
ChapSchoon 24 months ago
Like do ya think I'm Meshuga? I don't dig those dweebs that do all the hatin' when da show brings such unhip vibes that make ya wanna scat when every slick chick and daddio split da scene.
MrBill 24 months ago
5/12; I never was very good at understanding slang. I have seen all the episodes of PM but it did not help me much with this quiz.
daDoctah 24 months ago
My mother, who went to high school in the early '50s, said there was one slang term of the time even she couldn't figure out: "zorch". She said she was never sure if it was something good or bad.
RobCertSDSCascap daDoctah 24 months ago
I believe it's Yiddish for vagina.
frances3agape daDoctah 13 months ago
daDoctah, was your mom in Illinois?
The New Hacker's Dictionary definition:

1. [TMRC] v. To attack with an inverse heat sink. 2. [TMRC] v. To travel, with v approaching c [that is, with velocity approaching lightspeed —ESR]. 3. [MIT] v. To propel something very quickly. “The new comm software is very fast; it really zorches files through the network.” 4. [MIT] n. Influence. Brownie points. Good karma. The intangible and fuzzy currency in which favors are measured. “I'd rather not ask him for that just yet; I think I've used up my quota of zorch with him for the week.” 5. [MIT] n. Energy, drive, or ability. “I think I'll punt that change for now; I've been up for 30 hours and I've run out of zorch.” 6. [MIT] v. To flunk an exam or course.A track called Zorch was the B-side of a single called Captain Hideous, released by novelty artist Nervous Norvous in 1955. Norvous was heavily influemced by a radio comedian named Red Blanchard; the word “zorch” appears to have been coined on Blanchard's show in the early 1950s. The word itself had no meaning, but there where compounds using it that did — “zorch cow”, for example, was a variant of the Chicago-area slang “black cow” for a root beer float.
catbow 24 months ago
9 out of 12. Not bad for someone who's only seen a few episodes since this past summer. So I'd say I'm more hepcat than square. Lol
AgingDisgracefully 24 months ago
Perry was always out there, Daddy.
boogerdogger 24 months ago
Thank God for my Yiddisha Mama!
littledebbie 24 months ago
I got 11 out of 12. Half of them were wild guesses
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