Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Who was Ruby Begonia ( No Answer,   6 Comments )
Subject: Who was Ruby Begonia
Category: Arts and Entertainment
Asked by: rhyll-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 17 Jul 2005 06:32 PDT
Expires: 16 Aug 2005 06:32 PDT
Question ID: 544471
My boss is retiring next year and he is full of old quips and terms I
have been figuring out, but this one I'm stumped on.

Who or where did Ruby Begonia (sp? rubee begonia? rubi begonia?)
originate.  It's used now for names of flowers, pubs,
turkeys,....etcetera.  I have traced it back to the Amos'n Andy show.


I am told it goes further and that, there was a celebrity who may have been on
other shows and that "she really got around". Whether she is a singer,
juggler, actress, comedian, call girl, or whatever I don't know.  I am
told she was a personality, and a very beautiful woman.

I asked him if she was a real person, and not a ficticious 1930's
slang term for someone a type of person.  He said, "no she was real."

Could you please send a "link" or a description of who or what this
person is or how the term originated.  Born, died, family, claim to
fame, career.


Request for Question Clarification by justaskscott-ga on 17 Jul 2005 08:56 PDT
Everything I've seen in my research leads me to conclude that "Ruby
Begonia" originated on Amos & Andy.  However, it's impossible to prove
a negative, i.e., that Ruby Begonia wasn't a person prior to Amos &

I presume from your question that you want only an answer that Ruby
Begonia originated prior to Amos & Andy.  However, if no one can find
that answer, I would be happy to post an answer with information about
the meaning of "Ruby Begonia" on Amos & Andy.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Who was Ruby Begonia
From: myoarin-ga on 17 Jul 2005 13:24 PDT
Justaskscott-ga can deal with the true origin of Ruby Begonia.  (I
think he is right.)

At the risk of revealing to the wider world one of the stranger events
in Texas, I include the following about what Ruby Begonia:

King Turkey Day
The battle is on for the Travelling Turkey Trophy of Tumultuous
Triumph, and the fastest turkey takes the prize. The race is between
two turkeys, real turkeys, through the streets of Worthington.
Part of the annual festivities of King Turkey Day is a race held
between a Worthington turkey and a turkey from Cuero, Texas. The race
in Worthington is the first of two. The turkey and a few handlers
travel to Cuero in October to compete again. The turkey with the
fastest combined time wins the trophy and captures the title of Turkey
Capital for its home town.
Worthington?s entry, traditionally named Paycheck, and Cuero?s bird,
named Ruby Begonia, have met 28 times. Worthington has a slight edge
in the series. The races can be close; not too long ago Worthington
won the trophy by a few hundredths of a second.
But the Great Gobbler Gallop is not the only event taking place on
King Turkey Day. Before the race, the town features a guest speaker.
Previous speakers have included Richard Nixon, Robert Kennedy, Jesse
Ventura and Jesse Jackson.
After the race, a 150-unit parade makes its way through the streets of
Worthington. In the parade will be Paycheck?s pace car, a 1985 black
Cadillac with a zany paint job.
Other activities around town include music, entertainment and food
vendors for the crowds of more than 10,000 people. Some in attendance
may even try their luck at riding a mechanical bull, Wully Bully.
In appreciation of the community Worthington is hosting a free pancake
breakfast, an annual tradition.
King Turkey Day is going on its 63rd year and started as a way for the
community to celebrate its area turkey farmers. Twenty-eight years ago
a Worthingtonite was travelling in Texas and came upon Cuero?s
celebration. It was proposed, since both towns had a heritage of
raising turkeys, that there should be a competition, and the Great
Gobbler Gallop was born.
Information: Call the Worthington Chamber of Commerce at (507) 372-2919.
Subject: Re: Who was Ruby Begonia
From: rhyll-ga on 17 Jul 2005 20:41 PDT
Yes, I know the quote about Ruby begonia on Amos and Andy.  Why did
the writer use that name?  Is it a character in Amos'n Andy?  Is it
the writers daughter?

My boss said yes, it's the quote refers to the same lady, so if you
could provide a picture and who she was on the show, that would be
wonderful.  I've searched the net for 3 hours and gave up.  Maybe the
author Melvin Patrick Ely who wrote the Adventures of Amos'n Andy
would know.  But how do I contact him?
Here are 2 links I've found pertaining to him.

Amos'n Andy is as far back as I could get in the history of Ruby
Begonia.  Is it in a slang dictionary from the 40's or 50's? Maybe a
Rockette? Was it just a made up name the Amos'n Andy writers
spontaneously came up with?  My boss said No, she was a real person.  
  I have no idea, hoping someone out there would know.

Thanks for your interest in digging.
Subject: Re: Who was Ruby Begonia
From: myoarin-ga on 19 Jul 2005 06:12 PDT
This is an excerpt from the site following the text:

"If you wanted to pick nits, you could really say that the show jumped
the shark on the radio on December 25, 1935, when Amos married his
sweetheart Ruby and ended the major story arc that had been an
undercurrent since the show started in 1928. Somehow Amos the content
married man didn't have as much storyline potential as Amos fighting
tooth and nail to hold on to love (there was some real soap opera back
in the day; it wasn't straight comedy in the strictest sense). The
solution was shifting the storyline ballast to Andy and the Kingfish,
which gradually let the steam out of the 15-minute daily version, but
set up the sitcom half-hour that most people remember these days."

The following site tells that Ruby was a popular name in the early 20th century.

So I can very well imagine that "Ruby Begonia" was a name that a
writer invented that not only sounded nice but also let the radio
listeners envision a saucy young woman.  (We've got to leave 21st
century PC out of all this.)

Thus I don't think the radio program character "Ruby" would have had
to have been named after anyone in particular.

Begonia:  Based on the fact that there was a beginning reader's book
named "Petunia be careful" in the late 30s - early 40s about a little
Negro girl, I will venture to suggest that there was some trend before
that time for Afro-Americans to name girls after flowers  - well,
other flowers than those which have always been popular girls' names
(Rose, Lilly, et al.)

So I can very well imagine that "Ruby Begonia" was a name that a
writer invented that not only sounded nice but also let the radio
listeners envision a saucy young woman.  (We've got to leave 21st
century PC out of all this.)

It would not be surprising if girls were subesquently really named
after the character.  That happens these days too.  And, as the many
websites indicate, the name lives on   - as good things will.  :)

Myoarin   (Don't search for the book, just leads to a blog.)
Subject: Re: Who was Ruby Begonia
From: tutuzdad-ga on 19 Jul 2005 07:20 PDT
Maybe you're going back too far in time. Could he have been talking
about actor MICHAEL CAMERON BENBROOK, by chance? Benbrook's alter ego
was drag queen vamp 'Ruby Begonia Bidet'. He (and she) died July 20,
2003 at the age of 41.


Here he/she is as Joan Crawford:

Let me know...
Subject: Re: Who was Ruby Begonia
From: cryptica-ga on 27 Jul 2005 22:22 PDT
Has anybody tried contacting The Museum of Television & Radio in NYC?
They live to answer this stuff.
Subject: Re: Who was Ruby Begonia
From: gsscanner-ga on 10 Apr 2006 07:15 PDT
The comedian, Flip Wilson, had a short story about Ruby Begonia on an
album in the 1970's.  That's where I first heard the name - perhaps
that's where he remembers it?  Of course, Wilson's story has the
phrase, "....Do Ruby Begonia ring a bell?"

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