How to create sfx

In a discussion on the radiodrama-digest list,

Jim Widner wrote: ...when the noise of an angry crowd was needed, actors in the studio would repeatedly
utter the word rhubarb, which provided the appropriate effect.

John Mayer added: Which reminds us that the word "barbarian" (and the name Barbara) was derived from the impression of Romans that the uncouth languages of savages (to the Romans basically anyone from anywhere else) sounded to them like the meaningless muttering of "bar bar bar bar."

Further, the word "rube" was used by carnival people to describe ignorant and naive bumpkins (more or less synonymous with "barbarian"). "Hey, Rube!" is the well known carny call to arms, summoning them to help defend one of their own against assault by one or more townies, or "rubes."

Thus "rube-barb"came to refer to the babble and, thence, the mob action of brawling "rubes" or "barabarians." Or, anyhow, that COULD have happened...

Well, further research by John turned up:

It seems the "barbarian" part really is part of the word, but in its usage meaning "foreign." I honestly hadn't seen this entry before, although I did try to look up the word's origins on the internet (finding only what had already been on the digest).

This definition doesn't elaborate on the use of the word to mean a donnybrook, but it does mention there are two plants called "rhubarb," one of them an asian plant with laxative properties. This suggests a new origin of the usage, along the lines of, "When the rhubarb hits the fan."

See also Walla.