Monday, May 30, 2011

List of misquotations Part I Arts and entertainment

Arts and entertainment

  • "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." ("Je désapprouve ce que vous dites, mais je défendrai à la mort votre droit à le dire") –Voltaire [A]
  • "Judy, Judy, Judy!" –Cary Grant [P]
    • Grant never actually said that phrase as a scripted line. In the film Only Angels Have Wings, his character says "Oh, Judy," and "Come on, Judy," but that is as close as it gets. Instead, the line came from Larry Storch by way of Tony Curtis. The line was spoken by Curtis while doing a Grant impression for the character of the millionaire in the movie Some Like it Hot. Curtis first heard it when he attended Storch's stand-up routine in New York and heard him say "Judy, Judy, Judy..." when Judy Garland walked into the club. Cary Grant did later say it to the camera, as a joking reference.[1]
  • "The only two certainties in life are death and taxes." –Mark Twain [A, C]
    • Although used by Twain, this quotation may have originated in a 1789 letter from Benjamin Franklin to Jean-Baptiste Leroy.[2] Benjamin Disraeli is also sometimes incorrectly cited as the origin of the quote.
    • The Yale Book of Quotations by Fred R. Shapiro records: “‘Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes,” from Christopher Bullock, The Cobler of Preston (1716), and “Death and taxes, they are certain,” from Edward Ward, The Dancing Devils (1724).
  • "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." (or similar) –Mark Twain [C]
    • Actual quotation: "The report of my death is an exaggeration." In 1897 a journalist was sent to inquire after Twain's health, thinking he was near death; in fact it was his cousin who was very ill. Twain recounted the event in the New York Journal of June 2, 1897. Contrary to popular belief, his obituary was not prematurely published.[3][4][5]
  • "Gild the lily" –William Shakespeare, King John [C]
    • Actual quotation: "To gild refined gold, to paint the lily"
  • "Pride comes before a fall." [C]
    • Proverbs 16:18: "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." (NIV) or "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." (KJV). The line is part of The Beatles' song "I'm a Loser": "And so it's true, pride comes before a fall."
  • "Ox in the mire" [C]
    • Used to justify not strictly observing the sabbath. Luke 14:5: "Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?." (KJV).
  • "Nul points" –Eurovision Song Contest [C]
    • The French phrase is often attributed to the annual Eurovision Song Contest in the media and elsewhere, most notably in the episode of Father Ted, "Song for Europe". However, only points from one to twelve (French: un – douze) are given during the song contest, and even in earlier years when it was possible to receive zero points, the phrase "nul points" was never read out. However the phrase is not used to refer to a singer getting no points in a single round, which happens to many singers/groups, but to those who score no points in the whole competition.
  • "Hello, my name is Michael Caine" –Michael Caine [C]
    • He never actually said this, though in 1983 Caine was given the line to say as an in-joke in the film Educating Rita.
    • Caine explained during an appearance on Michael Parkinson's TV show that Peter Sellers had the message on his answering machine: "My name is Michael Caine and I just want to tell you that Peter Sellers isn't in. And not many people know that".
    • The line was parodied in Harry Enfield's Television Programme by Paul Whitehouse, who introduced himself with the line "My name is Michael Paine, and I am a nosey neighbour."
    • "My name is Michael Caine" – this line was recorded by Michael Caine for the single "Michael Caine" by the British music group Madness in 1984.
  • "Well, here's another fine mess you've gotten me into." –Oliver Hardy [C]
    • The version of the phrase often used by Hardy was the line "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." The now better-known corruption of the phrase most likely comes from the title of the Laurel and Hardy short film Another Fine Mess.[6]
  • "If I can't dance, I don't want to be in your revolution" –Emma Goldman [A, C]
    • In 1973, printer Jack Frager coined the phrase to print under Goldman's face on a t-shirt. The line was abridged from a passage about her dispute with a comrade who claimed that "it did not behoove an agitator to dance."[7]
  • "I've just had eighteen straight whiskeys in a row – I do believe that is some sort of record" –Dylan Thomas [M]
    • Or a variation on that theme. Thomas was infamous for his heavy drinking, and these were supposedly his last words. In actual fact he said "I see white mice and roses"[citation needed]

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