Famous Nonexistent Movie Quotes (PART 1)


Recently, I was talking about The Mandela Effect in movies and TV. It’s when you remember a scene or a moment in a particular way only to find out that you remembered it wrong. This applies most often to misquoted lines. It could be a title, a line of dialogue, a catchphrase. Any words that are falsely quoted by the public. I break this up into three categories: There’s the lines that become famous quotes but were never actually spoken in the movies or shows. These are the type of lines that the public made up. Then there’s the type of lines where they exist, but people are saying them wrong. Even if it’s ever so slightly wrong. And then at last, there’s the lines that may or may not exist. And even if they’re correct they’re so elusive that you wonder how did they become famous quotes in the first place? So there’s the nonexistent lines, misquoted lines, and elusive or unconfirmed lines. Let’s go! First in the completely wrong category we have the movie “Silence of the Lambs”. Remember when Hannibal Lecter said, “Hello, Clarice”? Well, isn’t that one of the most famous quotes? And uuh, yeah, guess what? He never says it. Crazy right? I was positive. Isn’t there a closeup when he’s in the prison cell? He says it right there right? No, he doesn’t. Oh wait. Isn’t it at the end when he calls her from The Bahamas? Nope, it’s not there either. With Dracula, anytime someone’s doing and impression, they say “I vant to suck your blood” and even “Bleh, bleh!” Now, there’s gotta be hundreds of Dracula movies out there so maybe he says it somewhere. But when people imitate Dracula, they’re imitating Bela Lugosi. They’re doing HIS accent. And it’s no wonder, he’s the first Dracula in film. Have you ever seen someone doing an impression of Dracula from the Bram Stoker novel? Not really. Anyway with “I vant to suck your blood”, I think it’s self-explanatory. I can see how that line would’ve come into existence. Somebody was doing an impression and they needed something for Dracula to say, so they said it. Then somebody else said it, and then it became a cliché. Now on the other hand, “Bleh, bleh” is just ridiculous. I think that came from people doing Lugosi’s accent. And when they said “blood”, they’d soften the D so it’d be “bluugh”. And then the quality of the impressions got worse and worse. And the worse it got, the funnier it got, so eventually they just started saying “Bleh, bleh!” There’s a Pink Panther short, “Pink Plasma”, that has a vampire who says nothing except “Bleh, bleh!” In Hotel Transylvania, they make fun of it. Dracula is actually annoyed by his own catchphrase. He says “I never say ‘Bleh, bleh!'” You could find plenty of examples, but where did it start? I really don’t know but I think something that largely helped give it traction was a 1963 song by Allan Sherman called “My Son the Vampire.” In the song, he comes right out and says “BLEH, BLEH!” No subtlety, no context, just BLEH! It’s the first thing he says in the song. What I think helped link this to Dracula was that the song was actually used in a Lugosi vampire comedy film. But the movie came before the song. Weird right? How does that work? Well, here’s what happened: In 1952, the movie first came out. It had two titles: “Mother Riley Meets The Vampire” and “Vampire Over London.” There was no song. Afterwards in 1964, it was re-released in America with the song added and given a new title naming the film after the song. “My Son The Vampire” Also, somewhere around this same time there was a comedian, Gabe Dell who always did a Dracula impression with the “bleh, bleh.” I don’t know when he first did the impression, but he was a regular performer on the Steve Allen TV show which ran from the late 50s to the early 60s. Supposedly, he did the impression on an episode that aired in 1957, and another in 1959, which would mean it happened earlier than the Allan Sherman song. Also, there was another comedian doing the “bleh, bleh” named Lenny Bruce who’s said to have done it around the same time. So it’s probably a bunch of people who popularized it and it’s possible, maybe Lugosi said it somewhere. But he definitely never said it in “Dracula.” Another famous line is “You dirty rat”, which is attributed to James Cagney. I first heard it in Ninja Turtles, the 1990 film, when Michelangelo’s doing a bunch of impressions. So if James Cagney never actually said “You dirty rat”, how did it get started? Well in the movie “Taxi!” he says So he kind of says it, but it’s spoken very rapid, it’s not at all like the way people imitate it, you know? Like, “Mmmmm you dirty rat.” Also there’s another scene in the same movie where he mumbles “You dirty [something]” but it’s under his breath and you can’t really tell what it is. In “Blonde Crazy”, he says In “Each Dawn I Die” he says So, this one is hard to categorize. Technically, he does say variations of it but impersonators picked it out and exaggerated it. Most famously in 1974 when the American Film Institute was presenting him with a Life Achievement Award, Frank Gorshin did a Cagney impression and said “Mmmmm you dirty rat.” And then when Cagney was accepting his award he said, “Oh Frankie, I never said ‘Mmmmm you dirty rat.'” So he did say it! At the award ceremony. Anyway, let’s follow up on this next week. I’ll talk more about lines that do exist but are misquoted.

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