Instructions: Words: The words in this dictionary are arranged chronologically, the order in which they appear in the script.
Characters: Next to each word are the names of the characters that either speak the word or are impacted by the word and its meaning. Please note that some words impact everyone.
Page Numbers: The page number corresponding to each word references the first time the word is spoken. If a word is spoken multiple times it will only be define/notated once in this dictionary.
Definitions: The definitions are intended to give you a complete understanding of the words. However, please ask questions or do additional research if you feel a word’s meaning remains unclear.
Pictures: Pictures are located in the back section of the dictionary and are numbered as to be easily located.
Word (Characters Applicable – Script Page Number)
You can locate the words that apply to your character more quickly if accessing this document from a computer. Holding down the Control Key then click the F Key. From the Find and Replace application that appears type in your characters name. The application will take you directly to the words that apply to your character.
- Hairspray: a liquid in an aerosol or other spray container, designed to hold hair in place. Spray directly onto hair.
- Ultra Clutch: a hairspray company created specifically to be used in the musical Hairspray. Ultra Clutch was not a real hairspray company operating in the 1960’s.
Laundry/Ironing(Edna/Prudy – 5) See Picture 1
- Washing Machine: Since their introduction in the late 1930s/mid 1940s, automatic washing machines have relied on mechanical timers to sequence the washing and extraction process. On the early mechanical timers the motor ran at a constant speed throughout the wash cycle. However, by the 1950s demand for greater flexibility in the wash cycle led to the introduction of electronic timers to supplement the mechanical timer. These electronic timers enable greater variation in such functions as the wash time. The early electric washers were single tub, wringer-type machines, automatic washing machines being extremely expensive. During the 1960s, twin tub machines briefly became very popular, helped by the low price of the Rolls Razor washers. Automatic washing machines did not become extremely popular until well into the 1970s and by then were almost exclusively of the front-loader design.
- Ironing: to smooth or press with a heated iron, as clothes or linens.
- Laundromat: The first Laundromat opened in Fort Worth, Texas in 1934. Patrons used coin-in-the-slot facilities to rent washing machines. The term Laundromat can be found in newspapers as early as 1884 and they were widespread during the depression.
Pettipants(Edna/Prudy – 5) See Pictures 2 and 3
- Close-fitting, dress-length panties, sometimes trimmed with lace or ruffles on the legs. Pettipants are meant to be worn as an undergarment.
- Petticoats: also called pettiskirt are an underskirt, especially one that is full and often trimmed, ruffled and of a decorative fabric. Petticoats give skirts a fuller, lifted look.
Detention (Edna/Tracy/Principal/African American Ensemble – 5)
- Punishment involving being detained. Often used in public schools for when students act out against the rules or teachers. It requires the student to remain in school during a specified time on a school day such as lunch, recess or after school.
Miss Teenage Hairspray (Everyone – 9)
- Similar to a beauty or talent pageant/contest. Miss Teenage Hairspray was chosen from among the female council member on the Corny Collins show. These ladies competed with one another in hopes of winning the votes of fans who would call in and vote for their favorite. Often times the winner was the best dancer, the most beautiful or simply the most popular.
- Beauty Pageant: A beauty contest, or beauty pageant, is a competition based mainly, though not always entirely, on the physical beauty of its contestants. It all began in 1952 when a local "bathing beauty" competition transformed into an international annual tradition. These women are savvy, goal-oriented and aware. These individuals compete with hope of advancing their careers, personal and humanitarian goals, and as women who seek to improve the lives of others.
Detroit Sound (Velma/Corny/Nicest Kids – 8)
- Detroit Sound is referring to music of Detroit in the 1960’s. During this time Motown was originated and African American music was gaining influence and integration through music began.
- Motown: was a record label originally founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. and incorporated as Motown Record Corporation in Detroit, Michigan, USA, on April 14, 1960. The name, a portmanteau of motor and town, is also a nickname for Detroit.
- Motown Sound: an upbeat, often pop-influenced style of rhythm and blues associated with the city of Detroit and with numerous black vocalists and vocal groups since the 1950s and characterized by compact, danceable arrangements. Music combining rhythm and blues and pop, or gospel rhythms and modern ballad harmony
Connie Francis (Velma/Corny – 8) See Picture 4
- Born December 12, 1938. She is an American pop singer, and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1950s and 1960s. She is best known for her downbeat ballads delivered in her trademark sobbing, emotive style. Francis also recorded several albums of country music standards during her pop career. Francis has been married four times. Although Connie Francis had had a string of hits by mid-1959, the official turning point of her career was when she made an appearance on The Perry Como Show. She sang the song "Mama", in both Italian and English. It was from this point where Francis now appealed to not just teenagers but also to adults.
Rhythm and Blues [R&B](Crony/Velma – 8)
- A folk-based but urbanized form of black popular music that is marked by strong, repetitious rhythms and simple melodies and was developed, in a commercialized form, into rock-'n'-roll.
- Motown Sound: an upbeat, often pop-influenced style of rhythm and blues associated with the city of Detroit and with numerous black vocalists and vocal groups since the 1950s and characterized by compact, danceable arrangements. Music combining rhythm and blues and pop, or gospel rhythms and modern ballad harmony. This new Motown Sound was dubbed by producer Berry Gordy as the Sound of Young America, and took hold of American listeners. Funky and sophisticated all at once, the Motown sound, which included such artists as Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Mary Wells, the Supremes, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, came to define much of R&B music during this period.
Eventorium (Everyone – 9) See Picture 5, 6, 7 and 8
- A local event center used for town meetings, gatherings, dances and other large events. While shooting the Corny Collins show the Eventorium would be set up similarly to a modern day Television Studio. The Eventorium was however smaller than a modern day event center. During the shooting of the Corny Collins show the Eventorium would be pack to the gills.
Council Ring(Tracy/Nicest Kids – 10) See Picture 9
- Going steady meant that the guy gave the girl his class ring or council ring. If her parents approved, she could wear it. But if they didn't approve, she put in on a chain around her neck and kept it under her blouse. If she wore it, it was usually too large and we used to wrap adhesive tape around the ring part in order to make it fit the finger. A lot of people would trade rings when they decided to go steady. It was a constant reminder of the person you care for, and a symbol to others that you aren’t available for dating. For some people, it helped make the commitment more real, both to themselves and to others around them.
Freewheeling(Corny/Nicest Kids – 10)
- Moving about freely, independently, irresponsibly or unrestrained.
WZZT (Corny/Velma/Spritzer – 10)
- A local affiliate to a national news station. Today WZZT would be similar to KIRO 7 or King 5 news. Both are local news stations connected with a national news station. WZZT was created specifically to be used in the musical Hairspray. This station is not real and was not operating in the 1960’s.
Exploding Bubble Gum (Wilbur – 11) See Picture 10 and 11
- While exploding was not real, normal bubble gum was popular. Post World War II gum became very popular. Bazooka Bubble Gum, the bestselling bubble gum of all time, included a comic in the wrapping of each piece of gum. In the 1950's, as consumers became more health conscious and Sugarless gum was introduced. Wrigley Company created some of the best-loved chewing gums and in 1975 they introduced Wrigley's Freedent Gum then a year later, Wrigley's Big Red. In 1979, they introduced Hubba Bubble Bubble Gum and in 1980, they introduced Big League Chew.
Ratted [Hair](Everyone – 11) See Picture 12
- For extra fullness, women used a process called back-combing, teasing or ratting. It's the art of tangling the hair to create a cushion to lift the hairstyle and then smooth over the top. The effect should be that of naturally thick hair or hair that has lots of body.
1. Apply hairspray to add more texture to hair.
2. Choose the section of hair you want lifted. Hold it up firmly with one hand. Insert comb about half way between the roots and the ends and then push the comb down toward the roots. Be aware that it will take many hairs with it. Do this several times, until there is a nice cushion at the bottom of this section of hair.
3. Spray each section with hairspray after the "cushion" has been created.
4. When you have back-combed/ratted as much of your hair as is necessary for the style you choose, start smoothing it. Brush or comb over the top of your newly-created and sprayed cushions. Make sure that you are not brushing through your back-combing. You will be working with a thin layer of hair over the top.
Jezebel (Edna/Tracy – 11)
- A wicked, shameless or scheming woman
Jackie B. Kennedy (Edna/Tracy – 11) See Picture 12 and 13
(July 28, 1929 - May 19, 1994)
- She was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and served as First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. She is remembered for her contributions to the arts and preservation of historic architecture, her style, elegance, and grace. A fashion icon, her famous pink Chanel suit has become a symbol of her husband's assassination and one of the lasting images of the 1960s.
Hair-Hopper (Tracy/Edna – 11)
- Tracy is what Baltimore calls a hair-hopper, a nickname for teenagers who favor mile- high hair styles that are kept towering with hairspray (thus the title).
Orange Crush (Wilbur – 12) See Picture 14
- Crush is a carbonated soft drink brand, originally sold as an orange soda, which was invented by California beverage and extract chemist Neil C. Ward. Ward perfected the process of blending ingredients to create the exclusive formula that yielded the zesty, all-natural orange flavor of Orange Crush.
Occidental (Edna/Wildur – 12)
- Pertaining to the West; the countries of Europe and America. “Edna’s American Laundry.” Possibly meant rather to be a play Accidental Laundry”on words, “Edna’s
Twist and Shout (Tracy/Amber/Penny – 15)
- "Twist and Shout" was a song written by Phil Medley and Bert Russell. It was originally titled "Shake It Up, Baby" and recorded by the Top Notes and then covered by The Isley Brothers. In 1961, a year after Phil Spector became a staff producer at Atlantic records, he was asked to produce a single by an up-and-coming vocal group, the Top Notes "Shake It Up, Baby."
Gidget and I gotta get to Rome(Tracy/Amber/Penny – 15) See Picture 15
- Gidget Goes to Rome (1963) was a movie starring Cindy Carol as the archetypal high school teen surfer girl originally created by Sandra Dee in the 1959 film Gidget. This film is the third of three Gidget films and expands upon Gidget's romance with boyfriend Moondoggie.
Arrivederci(Tracy/Amber/Penny – 15)
(Italian) Till we meet again or farewell.
Ciao (Tracy/Amber/Penny – 15)
Skags (Velma – 17)
(Skag = Skanky + Hag)
- An ugly woman that is also a slut.
Miss Baltimore Crabs (Velma – 17)
- Velma won a very small local beauty/talent pageant. Smaller than winning Miss Baltimore. Definitely not equivalent to Miss USA or Miss America.
Example: Miss Issaquah Salmon Days
Rock Hudson (Link – 18) See Picture 16
- Rock Hudson, was an American film and television actor, recognized as a romantic leading man during the 1950s and 1960s, most notably in several romantic comedies with Doris Day. Hudson was voted "Star of the Year", "Favorite Leading Man", and similar titles by numerous movie magazines. The 6’ 5’’ tall actor was one of the most popular and well-known movie stars of the time. He completed nearly 70 motion pictures and starred in several television productions during a career that spanned over four decades.
Reeling(Tracy – 20)
- Spinning. To wind or unwind. To pull or draw a reel of thread.
45’s (Everyone) See Picture 17
- Often, these are the most popular songs from albums that are released separately for promotional uses such as commercial radio airplay, and in other cases a recording released as a single does not appear on an album. 45 rpm records are played on a record player or turntable and spin at 45 revolutions per minute. They can be played one at a time, with the records changed manually after they finish, or a stacking spindle could be used to play up to six in succession without manually changing them.
Shirley Temple(Velma – 22) See Picture 18
- She was an American film and television actress, singer, dancer, autobiographer, and former U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She began her film career in 1932 at the age of three, and in 1934 quickly skyrocketed to superstardoms. Licensed merchandise that capitalized on her wholesome image included dolls, dishes, and clothing. She was the top box-office draw four years in a row (1935–38).
Temple returned to show business in 1958 with a two-season television series. She sat on the boards of many corporations and organizations including The Walt Disney Company, Del Monte Foods, and the National Wildlife Federation. Temple is the recipient of many awards and honors including Kennedy Center Honors, a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award and an Academy Award.
Cheese Soufflés(Velma – 22) See Picture 19
- Light fluffy dish of egg yolks and stiffly beaten egg whites mixed with cheese.
Allen Funt (Velma – 23) See Picture 20
(September 16, 1914 – September 5, 1999)
- He was an American television producer, director and writer, best known as the creator and host of Candid Camera from the 1940s to 1980s, as either a regular show or a series of specials. Its most notable run was from 1960 to 1967 on CBS.
Teasing (Tracy – 24)
- Previously define by the word ratted.
Peyton’s Place After Midnight
(Motormouth/African American Ensemble – 26)
- Peyton Place: A 1956 novel by Grace Metalious. It sold 60,000 copies within the first ten days of its release and remained on the New York Timesbest seller list for 59 weeks. It was adapted as both a 1957 film and a 1964–69 television series. The term "Peyton Place" became a generic label for any community whose inhabitants have sordid secrets.
- Summary: Peyton Place opens in 1937. With the introduction of the small New Hampshire town and its characters, the social strata are clearly defined. Most noted among the well-to-do are Leslie Harrington, owner of the mill, and his spoiled son Rodney, the good-hearted doctor Matthew Swain and upstanding Seth Buswell, owner of the newspaper. The town's middle class is represented by the book's two main characters, Constance MacKenzie and her daughter Allison. The impoverished of the town are represented by Selena Cross and her family. The town is a character itself, a seductively beautiful facade that hides a plethora of ills... Constance, who gave birth to Allison in New York after an affair with a married man and then returned to Peyton Place pretending to be a widow, lives in fear that the truth of Allison's illegitimacy will come out. Allison, who has few friends, dreams alternately about her wonderful father and about being a famous writer. Meanwhile, Peyton Place's power elite gather to discuss ways of manipulating zoning laws to rid the town of tar-paper shacks. And Lucas Cross, owner of one such shack, is abusive toward his stepdaughter Selena. Allison, who is desperate for a friend, grows close to Selena, who is equally desperate to escape Lucas and poverty. But the two girls have many differences. While Allison wants Selena to share her love of bucolic little spots like Road's End, Selena wants only to spend time at Allison's mother's dress shop and, increasingly, to talk with boys. Moreover, when Allison finally gets a look inside the shack where Selena lives, she is horrified by the squalor and the violence she sees in Lucas. Eventually, Allison and Selena grow distant because of Selena's closeness with Ted Carter. At the same time, a new high school principal arrives to catch the eye of Allison's mother, Constance, and to dredge up forbidden thoughts.
Wilt the Silt (Everyone – 29) See Picture 21
(August 21, 1936 – October 12, 1999)
- Wilt Chamberlain was an American professional NBA basketball player for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers; he also played for the Harlem Globetrotters prior to playing in the NBA. The 7’ 1’’ Chamberlain weighed 250 lbs as a rookie before bulking up to 275 lb. He played the center position and is considered by his contemporaries as one of the greatest and most dominant players in the history of the NBA.
Chamberlain holds numerous official NBA all-time records, setting records in many scoring, rebounding and durability categories. Among other notable accomplishments, he is the only player in NBA history to average more than 40 and 50 points in a season or score 100 points in a single NBA game. Chamberlain had a successful career, winning two NBA titles, earning four regular-season Most Valuable Player awards, the Rookie of the Year award, one NBA Finals MVP award, and being selected to 13 All-Star Games and ten All-NBAFirst and Second teams
Druid Hill (Corny – 29)
- Today Druid Hill is an urban park in northwest Baltimore, Maryland. Its boundaries are marked by Druid Park Drive (north), Swann Drive and Reisterstown Road (west and south), and the Jones Falls Expressway (east). Inaugurated in 1860, Druid Hill Park ranks with Central Park in New York and Fairmount Park in Philadelphia as the oldest landscaped public parks in the United States.
Jackie Gleason (Everyone – 29) See Picture 22
(February 26, 1916 – June 24, 1987)
- He was an American comedian, actor and musician. He was known for his brash visual and verbal comedy style, especially by his character Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners, a situation-comedy television series. The Honeymooners was really television's first spin-off. It first appeared in 1951 as a 12 minute sketch on "The Cavalcade of Stars”. The Honeymooner sketch was immediately popular and Gleason took it on the road in 1952 for live performances.
In 1952 CBS bought the show and renamed it the "Jackie Gleason Show." The "Jackie Gleason Show" was an hour long variety show of which the Honeymoners was but a sketch.
Buster Browns (Corny/Tracy – 29) See Picture 23
- Buster Brown was a comic strip character created in 1902 by Richard Felton Outcault which was known for his association with the Brown Shoe Company.
- In 1878, a young man named George Warren Brown believed St. Louis could become a manufacturing center for the shoe industry. He invested his life savings and founded his own company to manufacture and sell shoes even though most shoe companies were located in the Northeast. Brown thought he could change the face of the industry and he was right - his company thrived. Today, Brown Shoe is a leading $2.3 billion consumer- driven footwear company with global, integrated operations, delighting consumers with a portfolio of compelling brands. Many people mistakenly think Brown Shoe was named after the much-loved Buster Brown character. In fact, our Buster Brown shoe brand came 25 years earlier.
The Madison (Everyone)
- The Madison is a novelty dance that was popular in the late 1950s to mid 1960s. The Madison was created and first danced in Columbus, Ohio, in 1957. The local popularity of the dance in Baltimore, Maryland, came to the attention of the producers of The Buddy Deane Show in 1960. Picked up by dance shows across the country, it became widely popular.
Wistful (Corny/Nicest Kids – 33)
- Melancholy, longing or yearning.
Rockette (Tracy – 33) See Picture 24
- The Rockettes are a precision dance company performing out of the Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York City. For the past 77 years during the Christmas season, the Rockettes have performed five shows a day, seven days a week. Perhaps their best- known routine is an eye-high leg kick in perfect unison in a chorus line, which they include at the end of every performance.
Metrecal Diet (Amber/Tracy – 33) See Picture 25
- Metrecal was a brand of diet foods/drinks introduced in the early 1960s. Though its products were criticized for their taste, which newer varieties of flavor tried to improve upon later, it attained a niche in the popular culture of the time. Created and marketed initially by C. Joseph Genster of Mead Johnson & Company, it was eventually replaced in the market by competitors such as Slim Fast.