Posted by R. Berg on December 20, 2002
In Reply to: "Step up and pet the pony." posted by Charles George on December 19, 2002
: Anyone have any idea where this term came from? I think it was a carnival barker's enticement but can't find any thing. Thanks!
I haven't found an origin for it. It certainly sounds like a barker encouraging a reluctant small child. The closest catchphrase for which I've seen anything in print is "Step right up, ladies and gentlemen" (in Eric Partridge, "A Dictionary of Catch Phrases American and British," 1977).