Posted by Victoria S Dennis on March 16, 2008 at 12:59:
In Reply to: Sonny Jim posted by James Briggs on March 16, 2008 at 12:34:
: When I was born, back in the early 1930s, my father greeted me at first sight with 'hello, sonny Jim'. As a result I was baptised James, but why did my father use the expression? There are 100s of google hits for 'sonny jim', but almost all relate to modern-day singers or songs - long after my time! I found only one site which gave a suggestion of what I'm after 'Sonny Jim, used by older people to address youngsters'. No origin though. Does anyone have any idea where the phrase came from? I suspect that it comes from a 1914 film character of that name, with 11 episodes recorded between 1914 and 1915. The character was played by Bobby Connelly. Can anyone tell me more? See http://us.imdb.com/character/ch0042845/
It was originally "Sunny Jim", a character created in 1901 to market a breakfast cereal called "Force", with jingles such as "High o'er the fence leaps Sunny Jim; Force is the food that raises him!"
"Sunny Jim" dolls were made in the UK till the 1960s and so the name is remembered. As late as the 1970s it came naturally as a nickname for the Labour politician James Callaghan.