The phrase 'watch the birdie' was originally used in conjunction with a spring-loaded bird toy by early photographers, to draw the subject's eye to the camera. When I was taking altogether too many Polaroid izone photos with modified cameras I thought it would be fun to try and bring back.
Using a telescoping antenna as the handle, I removed the head from a rubber chicken key-chain and mounted it upside-down. The parrot and cannon were pulled from an action figure and affixed by melting a bit of the chicken and the plastic of the cannon-base and pressing them together until they solidified.
As the cameras I was using at the time had sometimes been modified, it struck me that it wasn't immediately apparent that I was taking a photo of someone. The appearance of this might have confused them further, but I think the phrase retains familiarity due to its use in cartoons.
I'd originally mounted the chicken's head in the barrel of the cannon, but failed to affix it properly at the time. It's in with a box of parts, awaiting repair, but on further reflection it may be more fun to find another bird's head to mount there.
Have you any favorite old-time expressions that don't seem to apply anymore? Revitalize them with a bizarre prop!