NO JOKE – IT’S INTERNATIONAL JOKE DAY

July 1 is International Joke Day, one of those days when I get to pilfer humor from others rather than strain my brain for something original. Hence, if you find any of the following jokes offensive to your ethnicity, they’re not my jokes, so don’t shoot the messenger. Yes, I’m posting them, but the devil made me do it (just so you know who to blame). Thus pre-absolved, off we go around the world:

What do you name a retarded Chinese baby?
Sum Ting Wong.

What’s the difference between an Irish wake and an Irish wedding?
There’s one less drunk at the wake. (Or, as I would’ve said, one less Irish stewed.)

A French chef, Monsieur H. Cuisine, tired of being a glorified cook, decided to retire and raise rabbits to sell to Paris’s finer restaurants. After searching all over the city for a place to raise his rabbits, an old priest at the cathedral agreed to rent him a small plot behind the rectory. The venture proved so successful that one restaurant owner asked where he got such tasty rabbits. Monsieur H. Cuisine smiled and replied, “I raise them myself, near the cathedral. Actually, I have a….hutch back of Notre Dame.”

If you want to eat well in England, eat three breakfasts daily. –W. Somerset Maugham

A New Zealander, hoping to immigrate to Australia (which was largely a British penal colony until the 1850s), was questioned by a customs officer upon arrival: “What is your business in Australia?”
“I wish to immigrate.”
Customs officer: “Do you have a conviction record?”
Confused, the New Zealander answered, “I didn’t think you still needed one.”

Why do Italian men have mustaches?
They want to look like their mama.

It’s almost impossible to do inventory in Afghanistan because of the tally ban.

My next door neighbor is loud and obnoxious. Now I know how Canada feels.

January 19th was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in America….or, as it’s known in the south, Monday.

The world is getting to be such a dangerous place, a man is lucky to get out of it alive. –W.C. Fields

 

 

“Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

The above title is one of the most famous, fascinating quotes in history. It was, of course, uttered by Sir Henry Stanley upon finding Dr. David Livingstone near Africa’s Lake Tanganyika in November, 1871, after an arduous 8 month search. If you’re not familiar with the details, here’s a refresher:

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/stanley.htm

I bring this up because today is Livingstone’s birthday (March 19, 1813), and one can hardly imagine a more droll, understated salutation than Stanley’s under the circumstances at the time. Stanley had been sent by the New York Herald to find Livingstone, the explorer who for several years had been out of contact with the outside world and was feared lost. To say it was an adventure which captured the world’s imagination would itself be an understatement. Almost 70 years later, in 1939 (a year of epic movies, such as GUNGA DIN and GONE WITH THE WIND), the story was still powerful enough to inspire an on-location biopic titled STANLEY AND LIVINGSTONE, starring Spencer Tracy.

As a lover of dry wit, it made me wonder what other droll quotes and witticisms are out there waiting to be discovered….so I set out in search thereof. You may presume I found the following to be the most telling (even though I don’t know who told some of them):

I have not yet begun to procrastinate.

You can observe a lot by just watching. -Yogi Berra

I’m sorry, but I never apologize.

Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours. -Yogi Berra

A photon checks into a hotel and is asked if he needs help with his luggage. He says, “No, I’m traveling light.”

The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep. -W. C. Fields

Being able to predict the future is nothing like I thought it would be.

You’d be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap. -Dolly Parton

I used to think I was indecisive, but I’m not so sure now.

Nonetheless, I think this is THE END.

 

ONE MORE TIME

A year ago today, I noted the birthday of one of my favorite directors, a man whose best films you can’t forget (unless, of course, you’ve never seen them) — even if you don’t remember who directed them. At the time, I’d just resurrected this blog after a bad experience blogging for another site, so the “theater” for that October 3rd screening was all but empty. I am therefore going to do a remake, beginning with the question, Who was that man who directed those movies, including the Marx Brothers’ DUCK SOUP? Here’s another clue: his first name is Thomas.

OK, I doubt that last clue was helpful, as he didn’t go by Thomas. His full name was Thomas Leo McCarey, and here is a clip from DUCK SOUP (1933):

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, here are some other goodies McCarey directed and/or wrote:

THE COWBOY AND THE LADY (1938) – Romantic comedy starring Gary Cooper
THE AWFUL TRUTH (1937) – Academy Award winner for Best Director
MAKE WAY FOR TOMORROW (1937) – “One of the most exquisitely sad motion pictures ever made” -Robert Moses
RUGGLES OF RED GAP (1935) – One of McCarey’s best comedies. Charles Laughton did it (starred as the butler)
BELLE OF THE NINETIES (1934) – A Mae West classic, despite heavy cutting by censors
SIX OF A KIND (1934) – Cast includes W. C. Fields, George Burns, Gracie Allen and Charles Ruggles. Need I say more?

I’VE GOT NO STRINGS, KNOCK WOOD

You think your brother or sister is a dummy? You got nothing on Candice Bergen.

You’ll recall from my last post that in the 1940s, I was a big boyhood fan of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his wooden alter ego, Charlie McCarthy. Not long after the end of World War II, Mrs. Bergen gave birth (May 9, 1946) to a daughter, Candice, who grew up to become a leading-light in her own right. In her fine 1984 autobiography, KNOCK WOOD, Candice wrote:

When I was born, it was only natural that I would be known in the press as “Charlie’s sister.” “Charlie’s room”  was redecorated and renamed “the nursery.” And even though at my birth, he was simply moved to the guest room, next to the nursery, soon everyone again began referring to “Charlie’s room.” The sibling rivalry thus established was certainly unique, considering I was the only child and the sibling was, in truth, my father.

Quoting from the book’s dust cover: Christmas was a visit from David Niven in the role of Santa, and a present from “Uncle Walt” Disney, the neighborhood was the Barrymore estate that bordered her yard….and because she was the daughter of Edgar Bergen, radio’s greatest dignitary/comedian, her “sibling” was Charlie McCarthy, the impudent dummy beloved of millions, vaguely resented by one little girl whose father was the center of her universe.

KNOCK WOOD is the candid story of a celebrity’s daughter growing up in a unique environment, and I recommend it highly. It is full of anecdotes and “name-dropping,” including the likes of W. C. Fields, Mae West, Marilyn Monroe and the aforementioned Walt Disney. Fields, as you old-time radio buffs know, carried on a famous “feud” with Charlie McCarthy, primarily on The Chase and Sanborn Hour starring Edgar Bergen. Here’s a typical example :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUZYUM6kOTs

To appropriately wrap up the subjects covered in this and the previous post, let’s go with I’ve Got No Strings from Walt Disney’s 1940 acclaimed animated feature, PINOCCHIO:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAykOz1gWi4

 

 

 

 

 

SAYS WHO?

I really didn’t say everything I said.  — Yogi Berra

Maybe he didn’t….but Yogi did say that he didn’t say everything he said — and it should go without saying that some say he is not the only one who didn’t say everything he said. Sad to say, no way can one say who said what was said in all cases, and always saying who said what one said is way easier said than done. Or so they say.

That said, the following is a selection of famous quotes not said (or at least not said originally) by those to whom they are attributed, along with some quotes which are correctly attributed (or so they say). Some mis-atributed quotes happened inadvertently, others deliberately; some have persisted despite attempts to set the record straight.  Can you separate the suspect ones from the correct ones?

1. Go west, young man, go west.  –Horace Greeley
2. Go West, Virginia, yes, Virginia: there is a  —Santa Claus
3. Win one for the Gipper.  –Knute Rockne
4. Win one for the Gingger.  –Newt Gingrich
5. A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.  –W. C. Fields
6. Forget your troubles, come on, get happy.  –Elysian Fields
7. Our comedies are not to be laughed at.  –Samuel Goldwyn
8. Our cold meds are not to be sneezed at.  –Dr. Don
9. Elementary, my dear Watson.  –Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle)
10. Excelente, my dear Sr. Muse.  –Ricardo Cahill (after bribe payment) 

Of the above, the following are attributed incorrectly (supposedly):

1. Greeley did write this in an 1865 editorial, but denied originating it, crediting it to John Soule’s authorship in a Terre Haute (Indiana) newspaper in 1851. Nonetheless, the Greeley attribution persists.
3. Actually, this was said by Ronald Reagan in the 1940 film “Knute Rockne – All American.”
6. Forget Ely Fields – this is the opening lyric of “Get Happy” by Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGk3tY4yP7k
7. Like many “Goldwynisms,” origin is suspect. Reported to be an old Hollywood quip pre-dating its attribution to Goldwyn.
9. Never said by Holmes in Doyle’s novels and short stories. Made famous by actor Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes in movies.

How many did you get right?
You got all of them?
Says who?