Talk:exit stage left

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Request for verification[edit]

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This is a stage direction. Etymology is tosh. But is it a proper definition? SemperBlotto 19:09, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

it might have an idiomatic meaning, unrelated to the meaning that was entered today.. I remember hearing this phrase used in old Warner Brothers cartoons (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc.. ) when I was a kid, usually when one of the characters had caused something bad to happen to another character and wanted to leave before he got whacked by his victim. --Versageek 19:48, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Ditto that. Exit, stage left: Damon just latest talent to depart city; Israel: Peres—Exit Stage Left "But like the career paths of so many Israeli politicians, his exit stage left was really a prelude to entering stage right...; Mike and Carrie, March 17, 1998 "Austin better exit stage left soon, and give Carrie and Mike a chance for love."; On Gaien Higashi Dori: The Bells "Bears are at their most dangerous when taken by surprise... If you do happen to come across one, you should exit stage left at normal pace (you won't outrun a bear) and without your picnic basket.". bd2412 T 21:06, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Oh, you see things like this in every Shakespeare play. It is telling the actors how to leave the stage when they have finished their speaking or acting. e.g. exeunt stage right = they all leave together to stage right. If we have one, we should have them all (perhaps not the one from Winters Tale). Παρατηρητής
I think its the coolest stage direction ever. "Exit, persued by a bear." Andrew massyn 11:02, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I added BD2412's cites as well as a couple more, split out into noun and verb senses, and replaced the tosh etymology with a reference to the stage direction. Changed the "log out" to an rfv-sense (as I didn't find any support for this usage.) Jeffqyzt 01:27, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Deleted the "log out" sense. rfvresult. Andrew massyn 11:21, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

Def = Verb (computing) the process of logging out and immediately logging back in. Usually to fix an inexplicable error.

  1. After I Exited Stage Left I was able to...
    Just Exit Stage Left and you should be able to...


Some research on oldest colloquial use[edit]

Using trusty Google Book Search (bypassing its horrid new Google Play interface), and poking around full-text webpages for plays, I found the following:

  • I haven't seen any Shakespeare text that actually says "exit, stage left". They typically say just "exit" or, in the case of A Winter's Tale, the infamous "Exit, pursued by a bear".
  • The earliest use of directional stage, er, directions, doesn't show up in GBS until the early 20th century, and is strictly instructive.
  • The earliest use as a stage whisper that I've found so far (1959) is indirect: a description/critique of John Wain's 1959 work A Travelling Woman, published in William White (editor?), Library Journal, volume 84, also 1959, page 2081:
    WAIN, John. A Travelling Woman. 208pp. 59-10162. St. Martin's Pr. May 25. $3.95. Wain's tale of middle-class adultery in London is told in a theatrical manner, with lengthy passages of dialogue and staged scenes in which the characters themselves may mutter, "Exit, stage left."
    (I had to combine the results of two separate GBS queries to get this complete citation, due to GBS's annoying excerpting and frequent failure to display in situ what it finds.)
    Note how tenuous this is. This is only a suggestion from the (unnamed) critic that the play actually includes this exact phrase uttered as a sardonic (distressed? fearful?) aside. It does imply that this use would be understood by the general population (or Wain's or even just Library Journal's readers) as an interjection rather than a direction.

I remember this best from Hanna-Babera's Snagglepuss cartoons, as this was the title character's most famous catch phrase (besides "Heavens to Murgatroyd!", which was originated by Bert Lahr in The Wizard of Oz, whose Cowardly Lion voice Snagglepuss's is based on). Like the play and the critique, Snagglepuss came out in 1959, so it was certainly popularized by then, but this is hardly conclusive. So I'm posting this here to assist future researches. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:14, 22 July 2012 (UTC)