An esteemed throwback to vaudevillian show business days, "the hook" (typically appearing most like an endlessly-long shepherd's crook snaking horizontally) is employed to ensnare performers and yank them off to backstage should the audience begin to weary of them without their awareness (or acknowledgement) or if they begin incorporating "forbidden" topics into their stage show.

If its silent approach is anticipated, the hook can be sidestepped, but hook operators (who are -never- seen even in part) are very good at what they do and should the hook's attentions be evaded for too long it will be replaced shortly with "the Guido" and his friend "the blackjack."

In traditional (especially Warner Brothers) animation, the hook's efficiency is such that the unwanted on-stage presence usually keeps singing and dancing, briefly, even as the hook carries them off in a gust of wind. Some moments later, the erstwhile performer's hat and baton will clatter to the ground as the MC is already introducing the next act.

My mother had a few stories about the hook that she used to tell me as a small child, and I'd like to relate my favorite of these to you. You see, it seems one time my great-uncle, who wa-- URK! --

Also a football reference of sorts.

In his 1979 autobiography "They Call Me Assassin", Raiders safety Jack Tatum explains in some detail his methods, which many described as "dirty". One of his most common techniques, he called The Hook.

As he describes: "The Hook is simply flexing your biceps and trying to catch the receiver's head in the joint between the forearm and the upper arm. It's like hitting with the biceps by using a headlock type of action. The purpose of the Hook was to strip the receiver of the ball, his helmet, his head, and his courage."

This was one of many reasons why Tatum was universally disliked, except by Raiders fans. Such a "technique" is now illegal in the NFL (and just about anywhere else).

And by the way, the book is a chilling look into football and is a good read. I found it at a garage sale for 50 cents a few weeks ago.

The alpha male of all scary/cheesy urban legends. Here's how it goes...

"So like, this really happened to a cousin or something of a girl I know at school. It was right after Homecoming, and she and her boyfriend had gone up to Lookout Point to look at the stars, right? So they're up there and they're kissing a little, and they've only got to second base so far. So they've got the radio on and like, they break in on the music and the DJ says he's got a news bulletin. There's been a break-out at the insane asylum just outside town, and this crazy lunatic guy has gotten out and they can't find him. They say, look out for him, 'cause he's totally nuts, and the way to recognize him is that one of his hands has gotten chopped off, and he's got a big meathook in place of his hand. I know! That's like so -- EEWWWW! So anyway, the DJ says for everyone to be careful, and he puts some music on. And this girl gets really creeped out, and she's like, hey, let's get outta here. 'Cause it's dark, and they're miles away from anyone, and it's pretty spooky up there. But the guy is like, aww, come on, we're having fun, there's no crazy people up here, let's do it, I love you, baby. But she's like, Nuh-uh! I don't want to get killed by some weirdo hook killer! You take me home right now, or you're never gettin' any! And so he's all pissed and goes, fine, whatever. And he starts the car fast and really spins out real hard when they pull out. You know how they do, spinning their wheels real fast like it's showing what big dicks they got? So anyway, they're both pissed at each other, and they give each other the silent treatment all the way home. Anyway, they get to her house, and he gets out and goes around to open her door for her, 'cause like, her dad might be watching, right? So he gets over to her side of the car, and he just stares at the car for a minute, and then he falls over in a dead faint! And the girl gets out of the car to see what's wrong and if he's okay, and when she closes the car door, she sees it: a great big bloody meathook, hanging off the door handle. And they never caught that maniac killer, ever."

I always wondered if the Hook also distributed Blue Star Acid to schoolchildren.

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