Jul 27, 2014

"Double Sugar Double Cream"

"How do you take your coffee officer Gannon?"
"Double sugar double cream".

I heard actor Harry Morgan utter this phrase when I was a young boy watching Dragnet reruns. The words boldly and eloquently rolled off of his tongue, almost quickly with no pause. His pronunciation made it seem as if all four words were joined as one.

It was then at the tender age of twelve, that I vowed to take my coffee with double sugar and double cream when I grew up. In the 1970's and 80's, a lot of parents would not allow kids to drink coffee, out of fear that it would stunt their growth. My how times have changed.  My teenage daughters and their friends all love their mocha latte's and cappuccino's, both of which I never tasted until I was well into my twenties.

The phrase "Double sugar double cream" has stuck with me all of my life. As a kid, I thought it was so cool, that I immediately started repeating my newly learned catch phrase whenever the opportunity arose.  For instance, whenever I was at a friends or relatives house for breakfast and was asked how I liked my eggs, I'd say in my best Officer Bill Gannon tough guy voice.. "Double sugar double cream", and waited for the laughs to ensue.  The comment would usually result in blank stares or half cocked grins from everyone in the room. No one ever got it, or even knew what the reference was related to, but that didn't curb me from using it.

When I was an adult and my bride and I started socializing with other married couples, the opportunities to fire off my signature retro catch phrase increased ten fold!  It was usually after an evening of socializing or playing cards when our hosts would start brewing a pot of coffee.  I'd sit back and patiently await the question, "Darrin, how do you take your coffee?" and then BOOM! I'd deliver those four words with a finesse and style that would make officer Bill Gannon proud. No one ever recognized the phrase, or offered as much as a giggle. I eventually dropped the impersonation and simply asked for double sugar double cream. Twenty years later, my hopes of anyone recognizing this obscure phrase ingrained in a minuscule corner of pop culture, had all but burnt out. But not for long..

I only drink brewed coffee, and don't care for cappuccino, machiatto's, latte's, etc. Therefore, the birth of drive through coffee houses, and fast food drive-thrus that offer to add sugar and cream to your coffee, resurrected my hopes of someone recognizing this phrase. Every time I get asked the question "Would you like cream and sugar?" I quickly pop off.. "Double sugar double cream". Doing so catches most folks off guard and I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe they're expecting a specific number of sugar and cream packets, or maybe I'm just too quick on the draw. Maybe I'm subconsciously impersonating officer Bill Gannon, and it freaks them out.. I dunno.

I'm laying in wait hoping that somewhere, someday, when I utter the phrase "Double sugar double cream", someone on the other end of the intercom, table, or counter will say "Ahhh.. just like the way officer Bill Gannon drank it". When that happens.. I'm not only buying that person lunch, but will share a lighthearted story with them that will hopefully make them smile.


  1. I kinda know what you mean. there are some pop things that [I think] a lot of people would like, If they'd just try them.
    Like I tell people to [please, just try watching the 1970s [?] movie, "Attack of The Killer Tomatoes", its great B-movie fun! But no one that I've asked to try it, has tried it. *shrugs* We can only get so many people to try the Tomatoes or Dragnet classical-type arts. : )

    1. I mean: I guess we can only get so many people to try some things. etc.etc..

    2. I hear ya! I've tried to get friends to watch stuff even more recent than that. I don't know how many people I've tried to get interested in Mystery Science Theater 3000 with no avail. I'd love to have a MST3K marathon/party but the only ones who would show up would be my son and I.


What say you?