Tag Archives: Iowa

Iowa-isms: Scatological Phrases that are native to my home state.

  1. “That would make a good rudder in a duck’s ass.” Response when confronted with an odd object, usually something small, a part that came out of something that has no apparent purpose. I credit this to my grandfather. I’ve never heard it repeated anywhere else.Father & Sons ~ 1950s
  2. “You may as well wish in one hand and shit in the other.”  Hoping for something that isn’t going to happen.
  3. “He’s too dumb to pound shit down a rat hole.” Obviously pounding shit down a rat hole denotes great intelligence in the backwoods of Iowa.
  4. “He don’t know shit from shinola.” A classic that needs no explanation. Not necessarily indigenous to Iowa, but a favorite nonetheless.

  • From Wikipedia: A colloquialism which dates back to the early 1940s in the United States. Shinola was a once-popular brand of shoe polish, which had a color and texture not unlike feces.


Gravesend Manor – Ames Iowa’s Late Night Creature Feature Movie In The 1960s

The Mummy 1933 Starring Boris Karloff

Here’s something you’re never going to find mentioned anywhere, Ames Iowa’s Late Night Horror Movie Show from the mid 1960s, Gravesend Manor. The host was a bald headed wack job called Malcolm who had a mute named Claude for a sidekick. They were joined by a vampire named the Duke of Dezmodat at one point. Claude also had a girlfriend named Esmeralda. They worked for a mysterious fellow named The Master. Hmm, I wonder if it was L. Ron Hubbard… I’m pretty sure it aired on Saturday nights, though it could have been Fridays on Ames WOI Channel 5.

It was a fun show and it introduced my older brother and me to the classic horror films of the 1930s and 1940s. Grave’s End Manor was where I first saw Universal’s classic Frankenstein, the Wolfman, Dracula and the Mummy starring Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. in all their permutations and sequels. I also remember a traumatizing European cheapie called Burn Witch Burn in which the witch has a mask with iron spikes on the inside driven into her face. That one gave me nightmares and wasn’t much fun at all.

Two episodes featuring the local casts’ in-between the movie shenanigans stick in my mind even after nearly fifty years. The first was the one where the Duke of Dezmodat came to rent a room at Grave’s End Manor. The Master had instructed Malcolm only to rent to someone ‘normal’, so they were appalled that a vampire had arrived on their doorstep. Another episode my eight year old self found especially amusing was when The Master and his friends had arrived for a feast, which of course Malcolm had botched so as the night ended they laid Malcolm on the table and were clamoring for ‘Malcolm meat’. The productions values were of course wonderfully cheesy. I came across this wonderful video clip of Gravesend Manor on YouTube.

~ Growing Up In Iowa In The 1960s ~