Thanks to Will Friedwald for pointing this out — courtesy of “Letters of Note” (http://www.lettersofnote.com/search?updated-max=2010-09-28T14:18:00%2B01:00&max-results=6).   (Will told me that Nancy Franklin of THE NEW YORKER brought it to his attention, so thanks, Nancy!)

The original source was a Sotheby’s auction (http://www.sothebys.com/app/live/lot/LotDetail.jsp?lot_id=47TQW) where this and four other latters to the singer Gina Gardner sold for  £1440. 

‘Yea Man’ . . . . . . . . !


  1. Hi once again, Michael – possible explanation for the origin of “Forty” as an expression of approval: could it be from “Forte” , as in ‘High notes were Maynard Ferguson’s forte’ ? Be interested in anyone else’s ideas! Also, as you probably know, a (mature) Bob Barnard recorded this tune under the title “Fifty and Fat”….. whereas I once issued it on a WJRK cassette (remember them?) as “Sixty and Slack”. Ah well…..

    Mike D.

  2. I thought it was more a reference to a woman’s body measurement, but didn’t want to emphasize that too much in the original posting. What’s next? “Seventy and Sighing?” Cheers, MS

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