Thursday, October 7, 2010
When I began my research on the bowie knife, I learned that, like many people, I had been mispronouncing the name of this iconic American weapon most of my life. “Bowie” rhymes with Louie, not with Joey. I suspect the confusion began in the mid 1960s, when an up-and-coming pop singer named David Jones had to give himself a stage name so as not to be confused with the lead singer of the Monkees. He was a fan of Mick Jagger, and, having heard that a Jagger (or Jaeger) was a type of knife, he decided to name himself after a knife as well. David Jones became David Bowie. He just didn't bother to find out how his new name should be pronounced.
The proper pronunciation of the name was not in doubt in the late 1950s, when the short-lived television series “The Adventures of Jim Bowie” had the theme song, “Jim Boo-ie, Jim Boo-ie, he was a bold adventurin' man. . . ”
(BTW, notice that the opening shot of a thrown knife hitting a door was obviously faked: the knife travels straight across the screen, not turning an iota. The shot must have been matted together as a special effect, with a photograph of the knife being slid across the background. )