[PW] "In Like Flynn"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Thu Feb 16 10:58:59 PST 2017

Michael Quinion gives a good overview for "In like Flynn" at World
Wide Words here:

Below is a link to the 1999 mailing list message from Barry Popik
presenting important citations for this topic. RHHDAS refers to the
Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang edited by
Jonathan Lighter. The precise nature of the first citation dated July
3, 1940 is not completely clear to me. Maybe it is a note recording a
personal observation made by Kathleen A. Tamony? Maybe it is held in
the Peter Tamony Collection?


Below is another instance of rhyming slang (Flynn/in) in 1944. Errol
Flynn is not overtly referenced.

[ref] 1944 October 30, The Los Angeles Times, The Sports Parade by
Braven Dyer, Quote Page 19, Column 1, Los Angeles, California.

[Begin excerpt]
At that time the Army was very particular about physical fitness of
applicants—later, as the saying goes, they just counted arms and legs,
and if you had the required number, your name was Flynn and you were
[End excerpt]

Below is a citation of uncertain relevance from 1941. Apparently, the
duo Abbott and Costello used the name "Flynn" in wordplay during a
comedy routine. But I'm not familiar with this skit or its wordplay.

[ref] 1941 October 10, Jersey Journal, Artist Finds Errol Flynn A Very
Romantic Figure by James Montgomery Flagg, Quote Page 11, Column 7,
Jersey City, New Jersey. (GenealogyBank)[/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Now I had only met Flynn—the first time in Montauk, L.I., where he was
holidaying—tennis sort of thing . . . Pip pip—and I don't know him,
know, nothing about him except what I see on the screen—don't know
whether his name is Flynn—could be. But somehow he looks Anglo-Saxon
to me. He may have taken the name Flynn. "Keep 'Im Flynn"—as the
Abbott and Costello pitcha says.
[End excerpt]


On Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 11:46 AM, Susan Holmberg
<sholmberg at hplibrary.org> wrote:
> A Way With Words did a bit on In Like Flynn.  They think it is just rhyming slang.  https://www.waywordradio.org/in-like-flynn/
> In Like Flynn - waywordradio.org<https://www.waywordradio.org/in-like-flynn/>
> www.waywordradio.org
> The phrase in like Flynn describes someone who's thoroughly successful, often with the ladies. Many suspect it's a reference to the dashing actor Errol Flynn
> Think Sideways,
> Susan
> New Media Department
> Highland Park Public Library
> 847-681-7032
> ________________________________
> From: Project-Wombat-Open <project-wombat-open-bounces at lists.project-wombat.org> on behalf of Bristol Library <bplref at gmail.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 10:38 AM
> To: Stumpers
> Subject: [PW] "In Like Flynn"
> A patron is asking about the origin of this phrase.  I found the
> information about the NY politician Flynn and the later Erroll Flynn
> connection, but patron believes it predates this.  He cited a Broadway play
> called "In Like Flynn" written by Michael O'Flynn which he believes was
> produced in the late 1800s.  I am unable to find a play or playwright under
> these terms.  I did check Internet Broadway Database, imdb, history of the
> Flynn family name (looking for famous O'Flynns), and our meager
> Broadway/drama collection.  I also checked the quote investigator, even
> though it's not a quote exactly, and snopes.
> Any help would be appreciated.
> TIA,
> Jeanne
> --
> Bristol Public Library
> Bristol, VA/TN
> See what we're reading now:
> http://bristol-library-bookblog.blogspot.com/
> [http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BcgsmaHhCKg/UdGozdqD_lI/AAAAAAAAEDc/sbHO0NUTehw/s80/BPL%2Boutside.jpeg]<http://bristol-library-bookblog.blogspot.com/>
> Bookblog of the Bristol Library<http://bristol-library-bookblog.blogspot.com/>
> bristol-library-bookblog.blogspot.com
> A masterful British mystery was next with I, Richard by Elizabeth George. A series of short tales, this collection plumbs the depths and darkness of the human psyche.
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