Saturday, January 04, 2020

Weekend Post

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.”

“Let’s have some new clichés.”

“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 clichés.”

“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.”


Michael said...

Supposedly, Goldwyn was at an event, walked up to Bennett Cerf, and said, "Bennett, great news! I'm on your show Sunday night as the mystery guest!" Cerf, one of the panelists on "What's My Line?" replied, "Sam, now that you told me, I have to disqualify myself!"

Later Goldwyn sees Dorothy Kilgallen and says, "Boy, did I do something dumb." She asks what. He says, "I told Bennett Cerf I was the mystery guest on the show you two do."


Paul said...

I seem to rememberthat *include me out" was real, but came at a time when Goldwyn was well aware of Goldwynisms and was meant that way. I think a few of these are too witty to be pure malapropisms, but that may just be me. I'm find of using "we've passed a lot of water since then".

Anonymous said...

Were Sam Goldwyn and Yogi Berra related?


Hank said...

"Globe Award-winning producer" ???

You loathe that award and those waiters, busboys, bums who run it.

What's with the importance/mention of that award now?

Roseann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Mitchell said...

“A hospital is no place to be sick.” Goldwynism, perhaps, but true. Every year, almost two-million patients develop infections while hospitalized. Also, if you can stay home during your illness, the food is better. And your dog can visit.

Anonymous said...

We enjoyed reading.

Professor HJR said...

I've seen lists like this before, with some items attributed to others. But I always wonder if a) it was really said, b) by the person given credit, and if those two were true, c) was it really an accident or error. When you think of all the famous movie quotations that weren't said in the movie, how certain can anyone really know about these sometime semi-private comments. Regardless of attribution or reason they might have been said, they can be entertaining to read or repeat.

Despite the attribution or source for an alleged definition of insanity, anyone trying to start a car on a sub-zero morning can get a different result after doing the same thing over and over till turning the key gets the engine running.

Mike Bloodworth said...

"Let's have some new clichés."
That explains the current state of movies and T.V. shows.

"Give me a smart idiot over a stupid genius any day."
That explains the last presidential election and possibly the next.

"The harder I work the luckier I get."
I didn't know this was attributable to Goldwyn because I've heard so many other people say it. But, because so many people believe that, including Ken (see his December blogs) maybe that phrase should be moved from the category of "Goldwynisms" to truisms.

P.S. As always, watch the blasphemy.

Roseann said...

The Goldwyn quote I couldn't remember before is:

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

I always felt that should be the motto for TV and Cinema production.

powers said...

Thanks Ken,always loved Sam's observations.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Birmingham "The Rest of Us: The Rise of America's Eastern European Jews"

"And when, proposing a toast to the visiting Field Marshal Montgomery, he rose, lifted his glass, and said, 'A long life to Marshal Field Montgomery Ward!' "

VP81955 said...

Ken, in case you haven't heard, Sunday is National Screenwriters Day, as Jan. 5 has been for several years now.

People can learn more at and

thevidiot said...

I worked with Sylvia Fine Kaye, Danny Kaye's wife & a writer. She was late for a meeting with Goldwyn & told him she had been to see her psychiatrist. Goldwyn: "Psychiatrist? Anybody who sees a psychiatrist should have their head examined!". She swore it happened!

blinky said...

Sounds like the inspiration for Ricky on Trailer Park Boys.

Get two birds stoned at once.
Friends with Benedict's.
I'm not a pessimist, I'm an optomatrist
Keep your friends close but your enemies toaster..

DBenson said...

A story about another producer had that worthy announcing he was going to personally read a new costume picture script by a renowned author. In a fury, he summoned the author and declared, "I may not be college educated and all that, but I do know they didn't go around saying 'yessiree' and 'nosirree' in those days!"

He pointed to a page where a king's advisors were saying "Yes sire" and "No sire". The author calmly thanked the producer for catching that and promised to fix it.

One more non-Goldwynism: "Nobody goes there any more. It's too crowded."

Montage said...

Ken, as you don't watch the Golden Globes, I thought you'd like to know that Volunteers was among the clips in the montage package for Tom Hanks' Cecil B DeMille award.

Brian Phillips said...

Apparently, Michael Curtiz was a wealth of ESL goofs, one of which ended up being the title of a book by David Niven. During a crowd scene some riderless horses were to be in the scene and reportedly, Curtiz yelled out, "Bring on the empty horses!"

Mike McCann said...

Ever wondered if Goldwyn kept Joe Garagiola -- creator of most of the classic Yogi Berra "isms" -- on retainer?

scottmc said...

Years ago Alan King played Sam Goldwyn in a one-man play. It was set on the night the film version of Guys and Dolls opened. The play worked in many Goldwynisms. One that I recall; when informed that a proposed movie might be too 'caustic', Goldwyn is said to have replied 'Too Caustic? To hell with the cost. If it's a good picture we'll make it anyway'.

Dixon Steele said...

As you may know, a LOT of these Goldwynisms were created by his publicist Pete Smith.

mike schlesinger said...

One story which is apparently true--though not a Goldwynism in the traditional sense--came when he was screening dailies for DEAD END; in the scene in question, a character puts a pencil mark on a liquor bottle label before leaving. Goldwyn asked what that was about, and William Wyler explained that it was a way of checking if anyone else had been sneaking drinks. Goldwyn thought that was ridiculous and nobody would understand that. Someone's young son was in the studio at the time, so he was summoned and the scene run for him. Afterwards, Wyler asked, "Do you understand what happened?" And the boy said, "Yeah, he wanted to keep track of how much whiskey was in the bottle." And Goldwyn snapped, "Aah, what does he know? He's just a dumb kid!"