Saturday, January 23, 2016

"Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day."

I can’t speak for the accuracy of these Goldwynisms, but Jesus, if only half of them are true at least that’s a majority!


Samuel Goldwyn (1882–1974) was an Academy Award and Golden
Globe Award-winning producer, also a well-known Hollywood
motion picture producer and founding contributor of several motion
picture studios. His inferior English language skills led to many of
his malapropisms, paradoxes, and other speech errors called
Goldwynisms. Having many writers in his employ, Goldwyn may
not have come up with all of these on his own:

“Keep a stiff upper chin.”

“In two words: im-possible.”

“Gentlemen, include me out.”

“They stayed away in droves.

“There is a statue of limitation.”

“Tell them to stand closer apart.”

“Gentlemen, listen to me slowly.”

“That’s our strongest weak point.”

“A hospital is no place to be sick.”

“Modern dancing is old fashioned.”

“The harder I work the luckier I get.”

“I read part of it all the way through.”

“Flashbacks are a thing of the past.”

“You fail to overlook the crucial point.”

“I paid too much for it, but it’s worth it.”

“I have been laid up with intentional flu.”

“God makes stars. I just produce them.”

“Our comedies are not to be laughed at.”

“He treats me like the dirt under my feet.”

“You’ve got to take the bitter with the sour.”

“A bachelor’s life is no life for a single man.”

“If I look confused it’s because I’m thinking.”

“That’s the kind of ad I like, facts, facts, facts.”

“What we need now is some new, fresh clich├ęs.”

“This makes me so sore it gets my dandruff up.”

“What nerve. Not even a modicum of originality.”

“You’ve got to take the bull between your teeth.”

“I had a great idea this morning, but I didn’t like it.”

“It’s absolutely impossible, but it has possibilities.”

“Never make forecasts, especially about the future.”

“A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad.”

“For your information, just answer me one question!”

“For your information, I would like to ask a question.”

“Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day.”

“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

“Every director bites the hand that lays the golden egg.”

“Plenty of room for a tiny brain and a huge ego, though.”

“Don’t worry about the war. It’s all over but the shooting.”

“Can she sing? She’s practically a Florence Nightingale.”

“If I could drop dead right now, I’d be the happiest man alive.”

“The trouble with this business is the dearth of bad pictures.”

“Don’t pay any attention to the critics — don’t even ignore them.”

“Put it out of your mind. In no time, it will be a forgotten memory.”

“I’ll take fifty percent efficiency to get one hundred percent loyalty.”

“I never put on a pair of shoes until I’ve worn them at least five years.”

“Color television! Bah, I won’t believe it until I see it in black and white.”

“We have that Indian scene. We can get the Indians from the reservoir.”

“Let’s bring it up to date with some snappy nineteenth century dialogue.”

“I don’t think anyone should write his autobiography until after he’s dead.”

“I’m willing to admit that I may not always be right, but I am never wrong.”

“Anyone who would go to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined!”

“Why did you name him Sam? Every Tom, Dick and Harry is named Sam!”

“Give me a couple of years, and I’ll make that actress an overnight success.”

“If I were in this business only for the business, I wouldn’t be in this business.”

“Go see that turkey for yourself, and see for yourself why you shouldn’t see it.”

“Pictures are for entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union.”

“When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy.”

“That would doubtless be a dank and dark and a desolate and dreary place to dwell.”

“From success you get a lot of things, but not that great inside thing that love brings you.”

“I hate a man who always says yes to me. When I say no I like a man who also says no.”

“That’s the way with these directors, they’re always biting the hand that lays the golden egg.”

“I don’t want yes-men around me. I want everyone to tell the truth, even if it costs them their jobs.”

“I don’t care if it doesn’t make a nickel. I just want every man, woman, and child in America to see it.”

“Why should people go out and pay to see bad movies when they can stay home and see bad television for nothing.”

“True, I’ve been a long time making up my mind, but now I’m giving you a definite answer. I won’t say yes, and I won’t say no — but I’m giving you a definite maybe.”


normadesmond said...

don't let sarah palin see this list.

Stephen Marks said...

Yogi Berra said...

Every single one of those quotes are half mine!

VP81955 said...

Somewhere, Sam and Yogi Berra are having a beer, telling each other, "No, I didn't actually say that."

B A said...

I'd apply this to some movie/televison moguls:
“Why should people go out and pay to see bad movies when they can stay home and see bad television for nothing.”

BobinVT said...

"I paid too much for it, but it's worth it". Boy, does that ever describe most baseball free agent signings. Like Yogi, Goldwyn personified unschooled wisdom.

Ellen said...

Dorothy Parker once said, "In Hollywood, the streets are paved with Goldwyn."

halojones-fan said...

Hah! I've been collecting quotes like this from my coworkers.

"We've got to get rid of this monkey before it spawns a smaller monkey."

"Let's go ahead and put some meat on that bone."

"It's designed to fit into your hand. It's, like, anatomical." "Ergonomic." "Yeah."

"Let me just boil it down into a nut shell."

"It's all a question of which end of the rock you're polishing."

"It's time to put our ass where our mouth is."

"Let me ask the exact same question differently."

"You could say that we're using an idiot-erative process."

"I think what we've got here is too many cooks and not enough Indians."

Barry Rivadue said...

Billy Wilder said he witnessed a late life Goldwynism. Goldwyn was complaining about the increasing smut in movies, citing "Hello Dolly." When Wilder questioned him on this, Goldwyn corrected himself with "Valley of the Hello Dollies."

MikeK.Pa. said...

Produced one of my all-time favorite movies "The Best of Our Lives." Great performances all around, but especially by Frederic March, Dana Andrews and Teresa Wright. Time to dig out another 6 inches of snow.

Roseann said...

I read somewhere once that Goldwyn said about the movie biz:

"Spare no expense to make everything as economical as possible."

I thought about that saying every time I was on the carpet in front of a Production Manager asking my why someone had an extra 15 minutes on their time card. Or when they were nickel and dime-ing everything happening on a set.

I knew Goldwyn had it right but I could never make them understand.....

SpaceVenus said...

Some of these sound like direct translations from Yiddish. Also, Jews in Odessa talk like that, even now.

Anonymous said...

Best Hollywood quote came from Red Skelton and it's been verified
At Harry Cohn's funeral
Harry Cohn was not a nice man but all Hollywood showed up.
Red said, "It just goes to prove if you give them what they want to see, the public will come out"

Cap'n Bob said...

MikeK: You mean The Best Years of Our Lives.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Here's one that can be confirmed. Goldwyn told his New York agent to secure the rights to Lillian Hellman's play "The Children's Hour." Agent: "There's a problem -- the women in the play are lesbians." SG: "Don't worry, we'll make them Americans." (He produced it as "These Three.")

cadavra said...

For all his malaproping, Goldwyn was smart enough to hire the best talent around and then not micro-manage them. A guy like William Wyler would not have made eight pictures with him otherwise.

Pete Grossman said...

Kudos to all the work researching and inputing these quotes. So many are complicatingly simple.

Milton the Momzer said...

There was a film, I forget the title, where Art Carney was doing a eulogy: "They say nobody is appreciated until they're dead. Well, he's dead, and we appreciate it."

The other day I said while riding my stationary bike "I'm not doing this for my health, you know."