The thing that’s really interesting about the Beat slang 1950s era is that of all the various times when slang was popular, then died out, it’s in this particular epoch that so much of the jargon is still in current use.
You sure can’t say that about the lingo of any other decade, all the way from the 1920s (“23 skidoo) to the 1960s (“groovy!”)
The Beat generation harkens back to the late 1940s. A generation sick of war and stunned by the sudden entry into the atomic age had no place to go, and nothing from which to draw hope. They were the predecessors of the “turn on and tune out” hippies of the 1960s (although, it can be argued, the Beatniks - the followers of the Beat lifestyle - did it with more aplomb than the hippies.)
In some ways, the Beatniks’ music was way “cooler” (a very Beat word.)
Let’s say you’re interested in a girl. The first looks translate into “eyeballing a doll” (that is, giving the potential date a good lookover.)
You envision what’d it be like to take her out. You anticipate it being an incredible amount of fun; or in Beat-speak, “a gas.”
But if the chick nixes the “back seat bingo” (a phrase devoted to the fine art of kissing, or making out, with a girl in a car), she’d be “bad news.” It’s important to note that it’s not the act of rejection, but the person themselves, who is the “bad news.”
But how serious is this chick? Does she really have to be home early to “Big Daddy,” or is she just “copping a bit”?
In this usage, Big Daddy may indeed be the potential date’s father. But more likely, it’s an older person who isn’t hep to the Beat Scene (and wants to put a damper on Beatnik fun.)
Such a person is known as a “square” in Beat slang 1950s. The date herself may very well be a closet square; that’s why she’s “copping a bit” (making up an act to delude the Beatnik.)
Squares are an abundant source for Beatniks of “the big tickle” (a laugh at the expense of the victim.) But hey, it’s not like they were cool to begin with! No big loss in Beat society.
Beat culture had many ways of describing the ultimate amazing experience. Did you cats have a blast? That’s like saying the Daddy-o Beatniks were cookin’!
Both phrases have similar meanings. “Cats” and “Daddy-o” are variation on the Beatnik self-descriptive “hipster” word to describe, well, themselves! Beatniks are nothing if not self-referential.
A blast and cooking? No, it’s not the prelude to a Beatnik barbecue. A blast to the Beats is pretty much the same as it is to modern day partiers: a fun time. If you were cookin’, it’s a high compliment, indeed. It merely meant you were doing something well (as in a jazz musician, favorites of the Beats, playing a hot horn so much so that the patrons said he was “cooking.”)
If you dig it, man, that’s crazy! (This is all a good thing among Beats.)
“Digging” is getting, or understanding, something, just like being “in orbit”; and “crazy,” like “boss!”, are both euphemisms for something that’s just plain old good.
Just don’t “go ape,” especially at “the flicks,” or your fellow movie patrons are apt to get “wigged out.” (That means don’t yell at the movies, or it’s apt to annoy the rest of the audience.)
Are you out to get your “kicks” by “making the scene”? The kicks is the thrill you get by doing something fun or incredible; and if you’re “making the scene,” you’re in the right place at the right time.
As you can see, there’s an art to Beat slang 1950s. It’s worth the effort to make the language scene, especially if your goal is to a real hipster!