Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: The Show must go on ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: The Show must go on
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: bronzegoddess-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 10 May 2005 04:55 PDT
Expires: 09 Jun 2005 04:55 PDT
Question ID: 519916
I am looking for the source of what I think is a famous quote "the
show must go on."
Is it a paraphrase from "let's go on with the show" in "There's No
business like show business"? by Irving Berline or????????????
Subject: Re: The Show must go on
Answered By: justaskscott-ga on 10 May 2005 07:55 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello bronzegoddess,

The phrase predates Irving Berlin's "There's No Business Like Show
Business" from the 1946 musical "Annie Get Your Gun."  It does not
appear to have an identified originator.

"The saying and principle are traditional in the theater, but
apparently they both originated in the 19th century with circuses.  If
an animal got loose or a performer was injured, the ringmaster and the
band tried to keep things going so that the crowd would not panic."

The Oxford English Dictionary cites it in print from 1941 and 1943; so
it appears that the phrase was gaining popularity at the time that
Irving Berlin wrote "There's No Business Like Show Business."

Online posting, "The Show Must Go On", by ozziemaland (1/24/04)
Wordorigins Org

Online posting, "Re: tHE show must go on", by esc (1/15/03) 
The Phrase Finder [Note:
This is the working version of the link cited in the Wordorigins Org

"There's No Business Like Show Business" (1946)
Rodgers & Hammerstein: Williamson Music'S+NO+BUSINESS+LIKE+SHOW+BUSINESS

- justaskscott

Search strategy --

Searched Google and other search engines for combinations of:

"show must go on"
"there's no business like show business"
"on with the show"
"phrase the show must go on"
"expression the show must go on"
"phrase finder"
bronzegoddess-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thought it would be vague and I'm grateful to have the prompt answer from Scott.

Subject: Re: The Show must go on
From: answerfinder-ga on 10 May 2005 08:42 PDT
Here in the UK, back issues of the Times Newspaper c.1930s comments in
various articles that it is a ?famous old theatrical saying?.

Oliver SANDYS, a novelist, director and producer, wrote a book in 1936
titled The Show Must Go On.

British Library Catalogue:
System number    	 003245231
Author - personal   	SANDYS, Oliver, pseud. [i.e. Marguerite Florence
Barclay, afterwards Evans.]
Title   	The Show Must Go On.
Publisher/year   	pp. 287. Hutchinson & Co.: London, [1936.]
Holdings (BL)   	NN.25307. Request


Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy