I was watching the great DUCK SOUP tonight, and I was struck by one of Groucho's funnier lines; the spy Chicolini (played by Chico Marx) is on trial for treason. Groucho recommends that he get "ten years in Leavenworth or eleven years in Twelveworth. Or five and ten in Woolworth's."
That sort of wordplay was commonplace in a Marx Brothers movie, but I have to explain almost all the references to my children; in the case of that one, because Woolworth's went out of business, or at least declined in the 80s, then changed itself into a sporting goods company renamed Venator.
The whole notion of a five and dime seems like a 19th century concept to my children, but of course I remember them--and we had not only a Woolworths in my town, but a Ben Franklin. Remember Ben Franklins?
I wonder what phenomena my sons will have to explain to their own children?