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What is a 'Blockbuster' ?!

Discussion in 'TV Show Forum' started by dc007, Sep 18, 2003.

  1. dc007

    dc007
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    .... by which I mean, why are 'Blockbusters' called 'Blockbusters' ?!

    Who's 'Block' do they 'Bust' ?!

    Whats the origin of the term ?

    Any ideas ?!
     
  2. mikeq

    mikeq
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    The word detective site is great for this kind of thing (http://www.word-detective.com/)

    "Dear Word Detective: My son (age 6) and I were discussing where the word "blockbuster" came from because he and his mother were making a similar inquiry about grapefruit earlier in the day. I told him that I thought it was when the movie industry had a movie that was a smash, a great many people would gather at the movie houses and would crowd the sidewalks and maybe encompass an entire "block" around the theater. Would you please help us with this? -- Louis Inderbitzen, via the internet.

    Ok, although I'm not entirely clear on the status of that grapefruit business. Did your son and his mother ever get an answer to their question? If not, tell them that grapefruit are called that because they grow in bunches, like grapes. If you went ahead and made up some other answer, you're on your own.

    Your theory about "blockbuster" does make a certain amount of sense, since the term is almost always used today to describe a motion picture (or, less frequently, a novel or play) that becomes a "hot ticket." And movie fans certainly do line up around the block (or worse, camp out on the sidewalk for days) in search of tickets to such "blockbusters" as the new "Star Wars" film that opened recently. (And no, I have no plans to see it, though I would sit through it for a reasonable fee, say, $10 grand in small bills. In advance. Plus popcorn.)

    The actual origin of "blockbuster," however, is a bit grimmer than just another lame Hollywood schlockfest. The term arose during World War II as Royal Air Force slang for an extremely large (as much as 8000 pounds) type of bomb, so powerful that it was capable of destroying an entire city block of buildings. After the war ended, "blockbuster" was appropriated by the advertising industry in the 1950s, who added it to their arsenal of superlatives alongside "astounding," "incredible" and "revolutionary."
    "

    http://www.word-detective.com/072999.html#blockbuster
     
  3. dc007

    dc007
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    .... so now we know.... ! :cool:
     

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