In Like Flynn
Where did the saying 'In Like Flynn' come from. Was it from Errol Flynns rape trial?
Lewis Joplin II
I am 99 percent sure that the phrase is older than the actor. I'll check my references and be back later. Stay tuned.
The word according to Cecil Adams: In Like Flynn

Quoth Cecil: The earliest known use of "in like Flynn" in print is in the December 1946 issue of American Speech.

There's lots more there, but I'll let you read it. But the conclusion is that yes, it did come from the rape trial.

Lewis Joplin II
IN LIKE FLYNN - "Chicago's 'Boss' Flynn's machine never lost an election and was always 'in office,' inspiring the expression 'in like Flynn,' meaning 'to have it made.' The popularity of actor Errol Flynn and his amorous activities helped popularize the phrase in the early 1940s." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997)

Lewis, I find it curious that Hendrickson claims that Boss Flynn was in Chicago but Partridge (as quoted by Adams) says the Boss was in the Bronx.

At any rate, does Hendrickson have a citation showing the phrase was about Boss Flynn, or even from before the 1942 trial?

Lewis Joplin II
Right you are. Mr. Hendrickson made a mistake.

That was the whole citation. But I found this reference to time period:
"The Bronx machine that in the thirties under boss Ed Flynn provided the muscle behind Franklin Roosevelt's ascent to the White House (Flynn became the national party chairman)..."

I read Partridge. His theory is that the phrase developed along two lines -- the Mayor Flynn one and an Australian Errol Flynn one.

Let me know if you want me to post the Partridge information.

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