banana oil = nonsense, insincere talk, 1952

JAMES A. LANDAU Netscape. Just the Net You Need. JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Mon Jun 30 22:41:07 UTC 2008

My father, who was an editor at the Louisville Courier-Journal, told me the following story:

It seems that early in World War II the Nazis announced (or a rumor came out) that they had an invisible airplane.  The Courier-Journal in response ran a picture of some empty sky and captioned it "Invisible Nazi plane, powered by banana oil and filled with hokum".

I never saw this alleged item and it was not in my father's scrapbook, so I cannot vouch for it.  However, it suggests that circa 1940 "banana oil" was as well known an expressin to the general public as "hokum".

Aside to Barbara Need:  I have never studied Latin American local dialects, but I found one source which agrees with you and none that don't, so you must be correct.  The lack of Spanish-Academy-standard "vosotros" also occurs in Andalucian from which Latin American Spanish is mostly derived.

           James A. Landau
           test engineer
           Northrop-Grumman Information Technology
           8025 Black Horse Pike, Suite 300
           West Atlantic City NJ 08232 USA

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