Monthly Archives: January 2012

Just for Fun #2 – My Favorite Quotation from a TV Sit-Com

“Due to the shape of the North American elk’s esophagus, even if it could speak, it could not pronounce the word lasagna.”

                                      Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger), Cheers

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Ten of Bill’s “Forgotten Gems” to be published in the John Ford website, Directed by John

April Lane, the webmaster of the John Ford website, Directed by John, has just added a section to her site consisting of ten of my “Forgotten Gems” columns critiquing John Ford films. The columns highlight less discussed but nevertheless important John Ford films deserving of more attention alongside his more honored and popular classics. The ten films are: The Long Gray Line (1955), Pilgrimage (1933), Prisoner of Shark Island (1936), Rio Grande (1950), Steamboat Round the Bend (1935), They Were Expendable (1945), Three Godfathers (1948), Wagon Master (1950), Wee Willie Winkie (1937) and Young Mr. Lincoln (1939).

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Ten Humorous Quotes from John Ford’s Westerns

I’m currently working on a book for Bear Manor Media on director John Ford’s Stock Company about the actors and actresses Ford used repeatedly in his films. Many of these people – some stars, some recognizable character actors, some bit players – had memorable (and humorous) lines of dialogue in Ford’s movies including the following from ten of his westerns:

Stagecoach (1939)
The Ringo Kid (John Wayne): “Well, I guess you can’t break out of prison and into society in one week.”

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Dutton Peabody (Edmund O’Brien): “I’ll have the usual, Jack.”
Barman Jack (Jack Pennick): “The bar is closed, Mister Editor, during voting.”
Peabody: “Bar’s closed?”
Tom Doniphon (John Wayne): “You can blame your lawyer friend (Jimmy Stewart). He says that’s one of the ‘Fundamental Laws of Democracy.’ No exception.”
Peabody: “No exceptions for the working press? Why, that’s carrying democracy much too far!”

The Searchers (1956)
Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter): “You know, Laurie, I was just thinking that maybe it’s time you and me started going steady, huh?”
Laurie Jorgensen (Vera Miles): “Martin Pawley. You and me’s been going steady since we were three years old.”
Martin: “We have?”
Laurie: “‘Bout time you found out about it.”

Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)
Reverend Rosenkrantz (Arthur Shields): “O Almighty God, hear us, we beseech Thee, and bring succor and guidance to those we are about to bring to Your divine notice. First we are thinking of Mary Walaber. She is only sixteen years old, but she is keeping company with a soldier from Fort Dayton. He’s a Massachusetts man, and Thou knowest no good can come of that.”

Rio Grande (1950)
A U.S. Deputy Marshal (Grant Withers) is searching the Army for a desperado.
Sgt. Quincannon (Victor McLaglen): “Is there any man here from Texas?”
Trooper Daniel “Sandy” Boone (Harry Carey, Jr.): “Yes sir; I’m from Texas. Name’s Boone. Daniel Boone.”
Marshal: “Daniel Boone? That sounds familiar, don’t it?” He starts looking through his wad of wanted posters.

Fort Apache (1948)
Sgt. Beaufort (Pedro Armendariz) is addressing a group of new recruits.
Beaufort: “Gentlemen, this is a horse. You will observe it has no saddle. The reason it has no saddle is because it’ll be easier for you to stay on without the saddle. Now, before we progress… did any of you gentlemen have the honor of serving with the Southern arms during the late War Between the States?”
Southern recruit (Hank Worden):“Yes, sir. I had the pride, sir, of serving with Bedford Forrest.”
Beaufort: “I am proud to shake your hand.”
Recruit: “Thank you, sir.”
Beaufort: “I hope you have the pleasure of buying me a drink on your next payday.”
Recruit: “An honor, sir.”
Beaufort: “You are now an acting corporal.”

Cheyenne Autumn (1964)
Wyatt Earp (James Stewart): “Say, you’re the doctor around here. How come I always have to perform all the complicated operations?”
Doc Holliday (Arthur Kennedy): “You know I am a dentist, not a doctor. Wait until somebody shoots him in the teeth.”

Wagon Master (1950)
Sandy Owens (Harry Carey, Jr.) secretively pushes a gun down the back of his pants.
Travis Blue (Ben Johnson): “Be careful or you’ll blow yer brains out.”

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
Sgt. Quincannon (Victor McLaglen): “It’s an abuse of the taxpayers’ money. I told them, sir!”
Capt. Nathan Brittles (John Wayne): “The only tax you ever paid was a whiskey tax.”

My Darling Clementine (1946)
Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda): “Mac, you ever been in love?”
Bartender Mac (J. Farrell MacDonald): “No, I’ve been a bartender all my life.”

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Bill’s Book Signing at Mendham Books

On Saturday afternoon, February 18th at 2:00 pm at Mendham Books, 84 East Main Street, Mendham, NJ 07945, Bill  will be discussing and signing autographed copies of his new book, Beyond the Beach: The Wit and Wisdom of Nevil Shute.    For further information, contact Mendham Books at 973-543-4949.

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Guest Blogger #1

Each week, I’ll post a blog from a guest blogger.   The first guest blogger is Gary Swinson who writes about my “Levy’s Wry” humor column on the “The Drawbacks to Being a  New Year’s Baby”:

Greetings, Bill. I enjoyed your article on New Year’s babies very much for I, too, was born on New Year’s Day. Any many of your observations really clicked with me and with my early recollections. As a child, I received the combination holiday gifts, as you describe. And I never had a birthday party on my birthday as a child; it was always moved to a more convenient date. I am told that one summer when I was a child, I walked around our neighborhood and invited everyone I encountered to my birthday party — in August. Since my mother had no idea who all I had invited, she decided to go along with the party idea but called all she thought I might have invited and asked them not to bring presents. I have a copy of the article that appeared in our small-town local newspaper describing the event.

Thankfully, my wife makes me a lovely birthday cake each year on my birthday, and even if no one else is interested, she and I enjoy cake and ice cream to celebrate the event.

Thank you for your posting; it brought back lots of memories.

– Gary E. Swinson

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“Those Silly Ideal Weight Charts”

 A  Levy’s Wry humor column by Bill Levy   © Bill Levy 2002

Anyone with any sense realizes that those silly ideal weight charts are absurd.  Beside the fact that no one I know at McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, or Dairy Queen has ever seen a small or medium frame, the obvious problem with determining one’s ideal weight by his or her height is that countless individual characteristics are not taken into consideration.

What of such intangibles as how dense a person is, how much hot air he has, and how heavy his heart, hands, and steps are?  Is she overloaded with work, is her head loaded with old ideas, is she loaded at the bank? How large is his sense of humor, sense of absurdity, and sense of self?  Does she have a swelled head, is she light on her feet, how slim are her chances?  How much backbone, energy, and vision does she have?  Does he have feet of clay, does he shrink under pressure, does he have a monkey on his back, does he bear the weight of the world on his shoulders?

Individual physical features are disregarded by these over-generalized charts. One’s weight can be drastically affected by such factors as the length of one’s nose, nails, hair, and eyelashes, the size of a person’s ears, feet, and ego, and how big of a mouth he or she has.

The concept of these ideal weight charts are so arbitrary; they ignore unique traits which can definitely affect human weight: the amount of memories, dreams, secrets, facts, responsibilities, creativity, anger, and guilt Julienne carries, how free Marlene is of cares, how much pressure Marsha is under.

Any truly scientific investigation must address the questions of whether one is a man of substance, integrity, and stature or a lightweight with only space between his ears. Finally, how accurate can an “ideal” weight table be which totally disregards the weight of one’s ideals?



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It’s Out! “Beyond the Beach: The Wit and Wisdom of Nevil Shute” is now available.

My book, Beyond the Beach: The Wit and Wisdom of Nevil Shute, is now available through this website, at the site, and at Amazon.  The basic price is $9.95.  For more details, see this website’s Books and Contact sections.

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Twenty Memorable Movie Beginnings

To celebrate the beginning of a new year, here is a listing of twenty memorable movie beginnings from Hollywood’s Golden Era.   They are in no particular order.  And, yes, in December I’ll offer a list of great endings. 

(1)     Touch of Evil (1958)

(2)     How Green Was My Valley (1941)

(3)     Gone With the Wind (1939)

(4)     The Letter (1940)

(5)     Mildred Pierce (1945)

(6)     Pillow Talk (1959)

(7)     On the Town (1949)

(8)     Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

(9)     Gigi (1958)

(10    The Maltese Falcon (1941)

(11    Sinbad the Sailor (1947)

(12    The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)

(13    Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

(14    Guys and Dolls (1955)

(15    Oklahoma (1955)

(16    Marty (1955)

(17    Adventures of  Don Juan (1948)

(18    Go West (1940)

(19    Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

(20    The Lady Eve (1941)

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