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Phantom Quotations Ahead

The phrase “Evil Empire” never appears in any of the films of the Star Wars franchise. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) never said “play it again, Sam,” even though that phrase was immortalized in a film of that name, starring Woody Allen, who fantasized that he was Bogie-as-Blaine.

This post is inspired by a Facebook wall post soliciting more examples of things that movie and TV stars never said, even though they are legendary for having said them.  I call them “phantom quotations,” although I am still waiting (and hoping) to learn that someone has already come up with a pithy name for them, something akin to “mondegreen,” for mis-heard song lyrics.  The inspiration for the post is this earlier blog post about the trademark law payoff of the phrase “Evil Empire,” which almost everyone I know thinks is associated with Star Wars and Lucasfilm, but which actually originated (so far as I know) in the speeches of Ronald Reagan.

Other phantom quotations from the FB post include:

  • “You killed my brudda.” (not said by James Cagney)
  • “Judy, Judy, Judy.” (not said by Cary Grant)
  • “You dirty rat.” (also not said by James Cagney)
  •  “Luke, I am your father.” (not said by Darth Vader)
  • “Beam me up, Scotty.” (not said by Captain James T. Kirk)
  • “Me Tarzan, you Jane.” (not said by Tarzan)
  • “Elementary, my dear Watson.” (not said by the literary version of Sherlock Holmes)
  • “Play it again, Sam.” (not said by Rick Blaine/Humphrey Bogart – and not said by Woody Allen, either)
  • “Evil Empire.” (not part of Star Wars)

Add yours in the comments.  Of course, if I (like Rick Blaine) have been misinformed, add that in the comments as well.

2 thoughts on “Phantom Quotations Ahead”

  1. “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” (attributed to Neil Armstrong upon taking his first step onto the lunar surface, but he flubbed the line by dropping “a” before “man” and it came out: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”).

  2. Darth Vader *does* say, “I am your father,” just without the prefatory “Luke”. I would assume that was originally added by quot-ers to make the context clear. I guess “[Luke,] I am your father.” just didn’t look as good on a button.

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