June 1, 2011

Tell it to the Marines

Actual Royal Marines.
There is a 1926 silent movie on TCM with this name. When I read the phrase -- Tell it to the Marines -- a jingle popped into my mind. Do you remember a product that used this as their slogan? I can hear them singing/talking it in that military way, and they delivered as if there were two phrases: "Tell it! To the Marines!". Does this ring a bell with anyone? I'll bet it was an insurance company jingle. I tried googling it but found only military references. Sorry, fella. No company jingles.

What strikes me as odd is that I also looked the phrase up and the meaning is negative. And it doesn't refer to our Marines, as you might assume, but to Brits -- the Royal Marines. This used to be something said about naive, rookie Marines -- who would apparently believe anything they heard. The full phrase at the time was "You may tell that to the marines, but the sailors will not believe it".

So how could this be a company slogan? It's derisive in nature. Help me solve this mystery. Does anyone remember the jingle? (I'm afraid anyone under 50 is out of the running on this one; sorry. It's from way back, I think.)

3 comments:

cm said...

I can hear in my head but I can't remember exactly what it was for. I hate that. It was like "tell it" with both words distinctly pronounced and separated, then a slight pause and the "to the marines" or was it "to the marine" quickly as if all one word. Google was no help for me either. Was it Marine bank maybe?

Artichoke Annie said...

How about this one?

http://youtu.be/93yYH39a1WI

writenow said...

The Jolson song is funny. So old-timey. Jeez, 1918. And I'm with you, Annie, I think it was "marine" - singular - and last night I also decided it was Marine bank. Since we both arrived at the same conclusion, this is what's called a landslide opinion. We must be right.