I saw Forbidden Planet wherein the incredibly beautiful and equally naïve Altaira (played by the exactly as beautiful Anne Francis) is swimming and asks, "What's a bathing suit?") and the starship's captain says to himself, "Ho, ho, murder!"
I understand this to mean something that I can't quite translate — it's obviously an expression of excitement/amazement. It might be close to, "You're killing me!" which is used when someone says something unbelievable, very close I think to "You're kidding me! You don't expect me to believe you don't know that!"
I recall a song sung by IIRC a 1940s actress in which she complains about her boyfriend using the term.
I am pretty sure I know what it means but my specific questions are:
When was it current? I grew up in the 1960s but not once did I hear this term used in this way. My bet is it arose during ww2 and faded by mid 1960s.
Is it a variant on "You're killing me!"?