Saturday, April 05, 2008


This one is all from Mrs. G.

Did you see Chris Matthews ask Barack Obama what’s going to happen after the primaries are over? And Obama saying then “the poobahs will have to decide?” I hooted.

Of course, since it’s a word I learned in family conversation, I hadn’t ever looked it up, and Trilby and Endub wanted more information. Thus:

Grand Poobah is a term derived from the name of the haughty character Pooh-Bah in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. In this comic opera, Pooh-Bah holds numerous exalted offices, including Lord Chief Justice, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Master of the Buckhounds, Lord High Auditor, Groom of the Back Stairs, and Lord High Everything Else. The name has come to be used as a mocking title for someone self-important or high-ranking and who either exhibits an inflated self-regard, who acts in several capacities at once, or who has limited authority while taking impressive titles.

The expression "The Grand PooBah" was first introduced on the television show "The Flintstones." Fred Flintstone and his friend Barney Rubble were members of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes Lodge No. 26. A high ranking elected position within this organization is Grand Poobah or Grand Imperial Poobah.

The character Howard Cunningham on the TV series "Happy Days" was a Grand Poobah of Leopard Lodge No. 462 in Milwaukee.

In the "Darkwing Duck" episode "The Secret Origins of Darkwing Duck", the title character's nefarious uncle attempts to blackmail his planet into making him "Grand Poo-bah of the World" with a giant laser.

Mokey, a primary character in the Jim Henson TV series "Fraggle Rock," wishes to join "The Secret Society of Poobahs" in an episode of the same title.

Any time you’re linking superdelegates to Gilbert and Sullivan, Fred Flintstone, Howard Cunningham, Darkwing Duck’s nefarious uncle, and Mokey the Muppet, you may not have thrown a punch, but you’ve thrown one hell of a pie.


Anonymous said...

Is that the same poobah that Paul Butterfield means with his "song":Thank you Mr.Poobah??
It,s without any text only instrumental.
I was wondering who Mr.Poobah was.(or is)

Gruntled said...

This is all I can find on "Thank you Mr. Poobah."

"The band was in the studio working on the first Elektra album," he remembers, "and I came by one of the sessions, hoping to sit in. Paul and Elvin knew me a little and had heard me play -- I used to pound it out on an unamplified acoustic piano when they played at U. of C. twist parties, and that summer I had sat in, or played along, with the band, once again on unamplified acoustic piano, for a couple of sets at the Cafe au Go-Go in the Village. On this particular day Elvin wasn't around as the session began, so they put the organ on his track and tried one with me playing. This was 'Thank You Mr. Poobah.' The band seemed to like the sound with the organ, and Paul asked me to keep playing. Elvin arrived, and we shared his track. During the course of the session Paul invited me to join the band and to go on the road with them to Philadelphia that weekend. I accepted." Eight of the 11 songs on the first album, including "Thank You Mr. Poobah," were recorded at that session.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for youre answer.

P.s sorry about the misspellings.

Allan-The Netherlands

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