Page One: These Quotes Are Famous, But Are They Real?
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Neil Armstrong

Misquote: “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Though the debate continues: what Armstrong claims he said, was “That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” The “a” inaudible because of static.

Margaret Thatcher
Real: “I am extraordinarily patient providing I get my own way in the end.”
The quote taken from a March 1982 European Council meeting.

Margaret Thatcher
Real: “When I'm out of politics I'm going to run a business, it'll be called rent-a-spine.”


General Anthony Clement "Nuts" McAuliffe
Real: "Nuts."
During the Battle of the Bulge, WW2, the 101st Airborne at Bastogne was besieged by a far larger force of Germans. They were offered an ultimatum, it read: December 22, 1944 "To the U.S.A. Commander of the encircled town of Bastogne. The fortune of war is changing. This time the U.S.A. forces in and near Bastogne have been encircled by strong German armored units. More German armored units have crossed the river Our near Ortheuville . . . There is only one possibility to save the encircled U.S.A. troops from annihilation: that is the honorable surrender of the encircled town. In order to think it over a term of two hours will be granted . . . The order for firing will be given immediately after this two hours term . . . The German Commander." The answer was as follows: 22 December 1944 "To the German Commander: NUTS! The American Commander."

Clint Eastwood
Real: "I tried being reasonable, I didn't like it".

Clint Eastwood
Real:  "You make a movie, and if somebody reads something into it, then great, more power to him."

David Niven

Real: "I've taken up the bible again, somewhat in the spirit of W.C. Fields
looking for loopholes."

Carrie Fisher

Real: “You're not really famous until you're a Pez dispenser.”


Carrie Fisher
Real: “I signed my likeness away. Every time I look in the mirror, I have to send Lucas a couple of bucks.”

Jim Carrey
Real: “Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.”

Issac Asimov
Real: “Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”
 
Dorothy
Real: "We're not in Kansas anymore."
The phrase, in its entirety, reads: "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." To which is added, as Dorothy looks around in amazement: "We must be over the Rainbow." And then, hesitantly, following the arrival (in a giant bubble) of Glinda the Good Witch: "Now I know we're not in Kansas."The quote, though somewhat dated and perhaps a little hackneyed, has become a cultural metaphor for the uncertainties life throws our way. Hopefully, like the Tin Woodman, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, we learn from the experience. In the meantime, follow the yellow brick road, your Emerald City (metaphors notwithstanding) awaits.Or just watch the movie. [1]

Dorothy
Real: "There's no place like home."
No, Aunt Emthis was a real . . . and I remember that some of it wasn't very nice . . . but most of it was beautiful. But just the same, all I kept saying to everybody was, I want to go home. And they sent me home . . . Home! And this is my room—and you're all here! And I'm not going to leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all! And—Oh, Auntie Em—there's no place like home!—FADE OUT

Forrest Gump
Real: (A) "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." (B) Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you're gonna get.
Both are correct: From the movie's script: Forrest to a nurse at a bus stopI could eat about a million and a half of these. My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." From the movie's script: Forrest to his dying motherWhat's my destiny, Momma? Mother: You're gonna have to figure that out for yourself. Life is a box of chocolates, Forrest. You never know what you're gonna get.

Mark Twain
Misattribution [2] and a misquote: "The only two certainties in life are death and taxes."
Twain said a lot of things, this was not one of them. The quote, or a version thereof, is usually attributed to Ben Franklin, who in a 1789 letter wrote "Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." The Yale Book of Quotations, begging to differ, gives the nod to Christopher Bullock "Tis impossible to be sure of anything but Death and Taxes."

Mark Twain
Misattribution: “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”
Though attributed to Twain by periodicals such as The Saturday Evening Post and The Reader's Digest there is no substantive evidence that Twain is the author.

Mark Twain

Real: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
The full quote reads: "The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."

Mark Twain

A combination effort ending in a misquote: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
The closest resemblence to the aforementioned appears in an 1879 letter, in which Twain quoted an acquaintance who, when asked if he'd ever seen such a cold winter, replied “Yes, last summer.” Twain's comeback. “I judge he spent his summer in Paris.” (Twain is, however, solely responsible for “If you don't like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.”)

Mark Twain

Misattribution: “Whenever I feel the urge to exercise I lie down until it goes away.”
A line also attributed to Jimmy Durante, Paul Terry (founder of Terrytoons), J. P. Mcevoy, Edna Mae Oliver and others.

Mark Twain
Real: “If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.”

Alexander Hamilton
Misattribution: "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."
This quote was actually first voiced by British journalist Alex Hamilton (no relation) in a 1978 radio broadcast.

Albert Einstein
Misattribution and a misquote: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
There is no verifiable proof anywhere of Einstein actually saying this (but politicians love to quote/reference/use it). A similar quote “insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results” can be found in the “approval version” of the Narcotics Anonymous “Basic Text” released November 1981 (pdf  STEP TWO end of 4th paragraph page 11). No reflection on professor Einstein but perhaps a more logical source.

Antonin Scalia
Real: "The court makes an amazing amount of decisions that ought to be made by the people."

Antonin Scalia
Real: "No government official is 'tempted' to place restraints upon his own freedom of action, which is why Lord Acton did not say 'Power tends to purify.'"

John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
Misquote: "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."
What Lord Acton actually wrote was "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority."

Ronald Reagan
Real: “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.”
Taken from Reagan's 1964 speech “A Tme For Choosing” considered by many to be the speech that launched his career in politics.

Ronald Reagan

Real: "In this present crisis government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem."
Excerpt from Ronald Reagan's first Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981.

Ronald Reagan
Real: “To those who are fainthearted and unsure, I have this message: If you're afraid of the future, then get out of the way, stand aside. The people of this country are ready to move again.”
Remarks at a Virginia Republican Party Rally, September 29,1982.

Ronald Reagan
Real: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
A line from a speech exhorting the leader of the Soviet Union to remove the barrier dividing East and West Berlin, June 12, 1987.

Ronald Reagan
Real: "My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you I just signed legislation which outlaws Russia forever. The bombs begin in five minutes."
A joke, somewhat improper, said during a radio microphone test.

Ronald Reagan

Real: "I don't know where I am."
From Patti Davis writing about her father, Ronald Reagan, later in life and suffering from dementia: I watched as fear invaded my father's eyes
this man who was never afraid of anything. I heard his voice tremble as he stood in the living room and said, "I don't know where I am."


[1] The Wizard of Oz (1939) of course.


[2] Misattribution means to attribute incorrectly, as in "He misattributed the quote to Hemingway."




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