[Ads-l] go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess (UNCLASSIFIED)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sun Aug 16 01:18:53 UTC 2015


Michael Quinion has an analysis on the World Wide Words website that
provides useful background information, e.g., outlines of several
proposed origin stories.

Gone for a Burton
http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-gon1.htm

One explanation offered concerns a U.K. advertising campaign with
featuring a missing person. I have found evidence of a campaign of
this type in the late 1930s, but it was not for Burton's beer; it was
for a restaurant. See further below and click on the link to see the
cartoon advertisements in LIFE magazine.

[Begin excerpt from Michael Quinion ]
It is said that there was a series of advertisements for beer in the
inter-war years, each of which featured a group of people with one
obviously missing (a football team with a gap in the line-up, a dinner
party with one chair empty). The tagline suggested the missing person
had just popped out for a beer — had gone for a Burton. The slogan was
then taken up by RAF pilots for one of their number missing in action
as a typical example of wartime sick humour.
[End excerpt]

The LIFE magazine presented three one-panel cartoons featuring missing
individuals that appeared as part of an advertising campaign.

Date: May 9, 1938
Periodical: LIFE
Article: Life's Party: Sir Isidore Salmon sells 400,000 meals a day
Quote Page 68

Short link: http://bit.ly/1Psq7YZ

https://books.google.com/books?id=0koEAAAAMBAJ&q=lyonch#v=snippet&

[Begin excerpt]
The biggest restaurant company in the world is Sir Isidore Salmon's J.
Lyons & Co. which not only operates 257 teashops and four large
hotels, but provides sandwiches and claret cup for Buckingham Palace
garden parties.
[End excerpt]

[Begin excerpt]
WHERE'S GEORGE?
gone to LYONCH!
[End excerpt]

Garson

On Sat, Aug 15, 2015 at 8:06 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess (UNCLASSIFIED)
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> There is a subtle difference between "gone for a Burton" and "gone for a
> Burton's". A Burton is a kind of beer that travelled well, which was
> important in a global empire. It may have the most popular kind of beer in
> Britain in the 19th C.
>
> Burton's was a brand that tried and failed to play off Burton. It had gone
> bankrupt before WWII ever started.
> On Aug 15, 2015 10:53 AM, "Bonnie Taylor-Blake" <b.taylorblake at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Bonnie Taylor-Blake <b.taylorblake at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: go for a "Burton"--a 1944 etymology guess (UNCLASSIFIED)
>>
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> On Sat, Aug 15, 2015 at 10:27 AM, Joel Berson <berson at att.net> wrote:
>>
>> > Any association with "dead man" =3D "empty bottle (of beer)"?
>> >
>> > No obvious association with "Burton", unless Burton was so popular (in
>> the =
>> > RAF?) that it became the epitome/eponym of beer.
>>
>> For what it's worth, an item on RAF slang in The Sunday Post
>> (Lanarkshire, Scotland, 25 July 1943, p. 8, under "Crump Dump") notes
>> that "Gone for a Burton" is "said of anyone who is missing as a result
>> of a bomber trip or a fighter combat, and of whom no news is received
>> in a month."  Further, in parentheses, "Origin has never been traced.
>> One idea is that Burton stands for Beer -- a play on bier. -- Editor."
>>  A funeral bier seems a stretch to me, but there you go.
>>
>> The column was apparently based on "'Service Slang,' collected and
>> edited by flying Officer J.L. Hunt and A.G. Pringle, R.A., and
>> published by Faber & Faber at 2/6."
>>
>> -- Bonnie
>>
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>>
>
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