The television western Have Gun, Will Travel (1957-1963) popularized the form “have X, will travel,” but the saying did appear earlier. Herb Meadow, the western’s creator, said he got the saying from the old western’s “have saddle, will travel.” However, “have saddle, will travel” and “have horse, will travel” do not appear to have been popularly used before 1957.
“Have car, will travel” was used in a salesman’s classified ad in 1930. “Have tuxedo, will travel” was a vaudeville joke in 1942; “have tux, will travel” was cited in 1952 and was the title of Bob Hope‘s 1954 autobiography. “Have suit, will travel” is also sometimes used.
Wikipedia: Have Gun—Will Travel
Have Gun – Will Travel is an American Western television series that aired on CBS from 1957 through 1963. It was rated either number three or number four in the Nielsen ratings during each year of its first four seasons. It was one of the few television shows to spawn a successful radio version. The radio series debuted November 23, 1958.
The television show is presently being rerun on the Encore-Western channel.
Have Gun – Will Travel was created by Sam Rolfe and Herb Meadow and produced by Frank Pierson, Don Ingalls, Robert Sparks, and Julian Claman. There were 225 episodes of the TV series, 24 written by Gene Roddenberry. Other contributors included Bruce Geller, Harry Julian Fink, Don Brinkley and Irving Wallace. Andrew McLaglen directed 101 episodes and 19 were directed by series star Richard Boone.
The title was a catchphrase used in personal advertisements in newspapers like The Times, indicating that the advertiser was ready for anything. It was used in this way from the early 20th century. A form common in theatrical advertising was “Have tux, will travel,” and this was the inspiration for the writer Herb Meadow. The TV show popularized the phrase in the 1960s, and many variations of it were used as titles for other works such as Have Space Suit—Will Travel by Robert Heinlein.
6 May 1930, The Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, OK), pg. 9, col. 5 classified ad:
MARRIED man, experienced bookkeeper, typist, junior accountant, retail clothing salesman; have car, will travel. Address Box 5, care Ardmorelte.
Google News Archive
29 May 1942, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “The Lyons Den” by Leonard Lyons, pg. ?, col. 5:
Private Julie Oshins of the vaudeville team of Oshins & Lessy now is at Camp Upton. He filed his application for a role in Irving Berlin’s “This Is the Army” revue, and listed his experience and qualifications. At the end of the long list, the veteran Oshins instinctively added: “Have tuxedo, will travel.”
28 May 1947, Amarillo (TX) Daily News, “Psychiatry Travels” by Bob Hope, pg. 10, col. 1:
And you’ll begin to see ads in the paper like this: “Dr. John Jones. BS, MA, PHD, 15 years experience Bellevue Psychiatric Ward. Have tuxedo. Will travel.”
October 22, 1949
DRUMMER — EXPERIENCED, COMMERCIAL or mickey bands; large or small combo; have car, will travel but prefer location; age 24; available immediately. Troy Hatcher, 179 Lynn St., Jackson, Miss. Phone: 52197.
12 November 1952, Waukesha (WI) Daily Freeman, pg. 6, col. 3:
After Election Classifieds
?M. T. Saddles” writes to say we should be on the look-out in the classified ad columns for the following:
WORK WANTED—By pianist specializing in “The Missouri Waltz.” Have tux, will travel. Can also furnish vocalist. Available after Jan. 1.
(A joke about President Harry Truman, the piano-playing politician from Missouri—ed.)
6 April 1954, Boston (MA) Daily Record, “Filmland News” by Harrison Carroll, pg. 19, col. 1:
When Bob Hope’s life story comes out in book form in September, the initial printing will be 100,000. And the title will be changed to “Have Tux, Will Travel.”
OCLC WorldCat record
Have tux, will travel; Bob Hope’s own story, as told to Pete Martin.
Author: Bob Hope; Pete Martin
Publisher: New York, Simon and Schuster, 1954.
Edition/Format: Book : Biography : English
19 February 1960, Tucson (AZ) Daily Citizen, “Sentinel Butte Sends Out Some ‘Top Hands’” by Bob Stirling, pg. 3, col. 6:
The “have saddle, will travel” idea has added #2,200 to Tescher’s earnings from Christmas to New Year’s—and that was in Dallas just this year.
Three years earlier, while researching a script, Meadow had seen the slogan “Have Saddle, Will Travel” in an 1890s Seattle newspaper advertisement. He’d written the slogan down, changed the word “saddle” to “gun” and “saved it for the day when suddenly I’d think of a story to go with it.” A subsequent court decision suggests that Meadow may have also been inspired by an East Coast rodeo performer who landed out business cards bearing a similar slogan.
By Dick Francis
New York, NY: Putnam
“Are you touting for rides?” he asked sardonically. “A Grand National mount? Have saddle, will travel, that sort of thing?”
OCLC WorldCat record
Have saddle, will travel : low-impact trail riding and horse camping
Author: Don West
Publisher: North Adams, Mass. : Storey Books, ©2001.
Edition/Format: Book : English
The Mercury (Tasmania)
Top End success for Maskiell
DAMIEN SEATON | July 18, 2013 01.27pm
THE old adage of “have saddle will travel” worked well for Tasmanian jockey Jason Maskiell after he steered home a winning treble at Darwin yesterday and the talented jockey is set to return to the Northern Territory as the Top End Carnival continues.