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Let George do it

Posted by Smokey Stover on August 26, 2008 at 05:04

In Reply to: Let George do it posted by Gary Martin on August 04, 2008 at 08:38:

: : : I have been trying to find the origin of "Let George do it."
: : : I had thought that it might be from the title of the 1940 George Formby film. Then I found a reference to "Let George Do It" on the Internet Movie Database as the working title of the 1928 Laurel and Hardy short "From Soup to Nuts."

: : : Are there any references to "Let George do it" prior to 1928?

: : A quick search on Google News Archive shows a lot of hits starting from around 1909-1910. For example, a New York Times story from Sept. 15, 1912 says:
: : "My line of work is what is known in dramatic stock parlance as utility business, a theatrical synonym for 'Let George do it.'"

: The OED has an entry from around then too - from The Bookman, May 1910:

: "What's going to happen when Lovey asks papa to hold Snookums and that hitherto devoted parent replies, 'Let George do it.'"

: Who was George? Maybe a real person: more likely not.

The phrase was as late as the 1940s, a kind of fad expression. Whenever it could be worked into the conversation it was. "I don't know if I can handle the mountain of dishes I'll find when I get home." "Let George do it." There was no particular George ever associated with the phrase, as far as I know.