Posted by Masakim on December 29, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Deuce! posted by pdianek on December 29, 2003
: : : Does anyone know the origin of this phrase?
: : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,715-105593,00.html
: : Where did the phrase "Anyone for tennis?" come from? Carla Bannerman, New York
: : It was a Humphrey Bogart line from a 1930s Broadway play. Alas, not even the great Bud Collins, the author of the tennis encyclopaedia and a chap who has been watching tennis for a lifetime, can remember which Broadway play. However, given that Humph always played the hard man in the movies, appearing as a tennis-playing fop went down rather well with the theatregoers.
: Actually, Bogart hadn't had time to develop his tough-guy stance. The play was 1920s, he was born in 1899. More (from a 1957 Alistair Cooke article) at http://www.guardiancentury.co.uk/1950-1959/Story/0,6051,105487,00.html
Tennis anyone? It's a phrase neo-sophisticates of the '20s and '30s used to indicate boredom or to simply draw attention to themselves. The line's often attributed to Humphrey Bogart, though he denied ever having uttered it. In a biography[*], however, he noted how in his early Broadway days, he hadn't always played menace parts. "I always made my entrance carrying a tennis racket, baseball bat, or golf club. I was the athletic type with hair slicked back and wrapped in a blazer." The more likely source is Shaw's Misalliance : "Anyone for a game of tennis?"
From "A Word with You" (March 28, 2000) at http://www.wordwithyou.com/archives/3_28_00.htm
[*] In those early Broadway days he didn't play menace parts. "I always made my entrance carrying a tennis racket, baseball bat, or golf club. I was the athletic type, with hair slicked back and wrapped in a blazer. The only line I didn't say was, 'Give me the ball, coach, I'll take it through." Yes, sir, I was Joe College or Joe Country Club all the time."
It was hard to imagine him as the originator of that famous theatrical line - "Tennis anyone?" - but he was.
From _Bogey: The Man, The Actor, The Legend_ by Jonah Ruddy & Jonathan Hill