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

Michael Quinion michael.quinion at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Sun Aug 16 08:51:58 UTC 2015

Garson O'Toole wrote:

> 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.

Lyon's teashops were an institution before the Second World War, part of 
the fabric of English life, and continued so for some while after it. I 
vaguely remember being taken to one in London for a special treat about 

It seems more than probable that vague memories of these advertisements 
were the inspiration behind the mistaken story about ads for Burton's 
beer. It resolves a loose end rather neatly. Thanks, Garson!

Incidentally, it looks at first from the dating that the ads played on the 
title of a British comedy film of late 1935 about rugby league, "Where's 
George?", starring Sydney Howard and Mabel Constanduros. (Its title was 
changed partway through its run because of the death of George V in 
January 1936.)  

But a reference on 24 November 1933 in the Sevenoaks Chronicle of Kent 
about "George" not returning from "Lyonch" and so missing the bus suggests 
the ads predate the film (though no British examples have turned up in 
searches), that the tagline of the Lyons adverts had already become a 
catchphrase, and that the influence was the other way.

Michael Quinion
World Wide Words
Web: http://www.worldwidewords.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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