phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Top Banana

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on August 18, 2004

In Reply to: Top Banana posted by Andy on August 18, 2004

: Origin of the phrase "Top Banana" please?

From http://members.aol.com/anthel/jmercer.htm

"Johnny Mercer, America's premier pop lyricist, was born November 18, 1909 in Savannah, Georgia. He died in 1976, leaving behind a large legacy of the most memorable songs written this century. In the early 1950s, he worked with Phil Silvers on TOP BANANA, the Broadway play later released on film. Taking the Burlesque phrase "first banana" and applying it to Phil Silvers, it became "top banana," and entered the English lexicon for all time! Phil is also heard on the original recording of Mercer's "Strip Polka," an early million seller for Capitol Records. "

I can't find a script or description on the web, but if Top Banana is available for sale or rent, you'll find a scene where some older comics explain to a young comic that the phrase came from a comedy routine, and they demonstrate the routine. Something about three guys sharing two bananas and the third guy ends up with an imaginary banana.