IT’S MOMENTS LIKE THESE
The Australian-English phrase it’s moments like these is applied to anyone in extremity.
This phrase refers to the slogan used in newspaper advertisements for Minties, which was It’s moments like these! “Minties”, and variants.
(The name Mintie designates a kind of peppermint-flavoured sweet originally manufactured by James Stedman-Henderson’s Sweets Ltd. at ‘Sweetacres’, Rosebery, New South Wales. The plural form Minties is a proprietary name in Australia and the United Kingdom.)
This is the earliest advertisement for Minties that I have found, published in the Evening News (Sydney, New South Wales) of Wednesday 15th September 1926—the cartoon depicts a man and a woman sitting on either end of a divan, with their backs turned on one another, and scowling:
Moments for “Minties” Series.
THE UNIVERSAL SWEET
“Minties” remove the scowl. Save the situation. Whatever the difference of opinion in general all agree “Minties” are the universal favourite.
Give her “Minties”
Send 1d stamp and get a
“Minties” Magic Drawing Book
for your Girl or Boy
from the makers of
JAMES STEDMAN-HENDERSON’S SWEETS LTD.
“Sweetacres” – Rosebery – Sydney – N.S.W.
MENTION THIS PAPER
The earliest transferred use of the phrase it’s moments like these that I have found is from an article about Messrs. Goodson Bros’ furniture factory in Rockhampton, published in The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland) of Tuesday 14th June 1927:
Being in the fortunate position of making everything locally in their own factory, Goodson Bros’ eliminate any consideration for the middleman and the purchaser consequently receives very considerable benefit, and the benefit is really on a community basis, for the greater the purchases the more incentive for the employer to extend operations and more scope for employment. And it’s moments like these, to employ a well-known advertising slogan, that Rockhampton should look after its own interests.
The following from The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland) of Tuesday 19th July 1927 bears witness to the immediate popularity of the phrase it’s moments like these:
MODERN CATCH WORDS.
Catch phrases start up from unknown sources, and sweep around the world with almost unbelievable rapidity. The origin of many of them is hopelessly lost. Who, for instance, was the first person to say “There you are, then?” A few years ago it was heard on every lip. Some of them, like “Yes, we have no bananas” come from comic songs, and others from newspaper advertisements. One of the most popular of the latter variety is “It’s moments like these you need ‘Minties.’” At the present time, one hears the phrase wherever one goes. The makers of “Minties,” Messrs. James Stedman-Henderson’s, of “Sweetacres,” receive dozens of suggestions by every post from people instancing “Moments like these,” when “Minties” would have been most acceptable. “It’s moments like these” has proved itself to be one of the most catchy-catch phrases that has ever caught on, and it shows no signs yet of fading out of public recognition.
The phrase it’s moments like these occurs in the account of a game of Australian Rules football between Kojonup and Centrals (a.k.a. the Greens), published in the Great Southern Herald (Katanning, Western Australia) of Saturday 6th August 1927:
Various Terms Illustrated on the Ground.
Bulldog Grip.—When an ardent Kojonup player hung to Scot Wilson and was dragged 15 yards on his back before Scot aplied [sic] four wheel brakes.
A Good Layout.—When a “Green” forward tried to “stab-kick” on a slippery patch and measured his length in a pool of water.
Aeroplane Term Illustrated.—Collided in mid-air and crashed to the ground.—Two members of the visitors team going for a mark.
The Flavour Lasts.—One man shepherded to the ground took a large bite of the oval.
It’s moments like these that you need, etc.—One good man in the Central team sat in a pool of water, and soaked the contents up with his football knickers.
Also with reference to the slogan used in newspaper advertisements for Minties, the name Mintie has come to denote a source of comfort.
The following are some of the early occurrences of the name Mintie used in that sense:
1-: From the account of a game of Australian Rules football between Balmain and Newton (a.k.a. the Bluebags), published in Truth (Sydney, New South Wales) of Sunday 23rd June 1929:
Even “Minties” would not have relieved the Bluebags distress at times.
2-: From Me and Shiner, a short story by “Bindy Boo”, published in The Listening Post (Perth, Western Australia) of Friday 27th May 1932:
Although even the strongest of strong, silent men have their cast-iron ways, they also have their weak moments, when even minties will not put things to rights.
3-: From the account of a Rugby-League game between Rockhampton and Mt. Morgan, published in The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland) of Wednesday 15th June 1932:
Several times “Smacker” Moran raced after a cross kick, was beaten for the ball, and missed his man with a high, uncertain tackle. At moments like these a determined, low tackle would be of more service to Moran and his side than even a mintie.
4-: From the account of a soccer game between Katandra and Mooroopna, published in The Shepparton Advertiser (Shepparton, Victoria) of Monday 18th September 1933:
The game commenced at 3.23 with both teams in an eager and expectant mood. Mooroopna had the kick off but did not make much use of it, as Katandra pressed hard and got a corner kick in a few minutes, but the Mooroopna backs were equal to the occasion and cleared the ball out of danger, although at times there were a few moments round the Mooroopna goal, when “Minties” would have been in great demand.