If you have a message, call Western Union (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Thu Jan 26 15:46:47 UTC 2012

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
Behalf Of
> Garson O'Toole
> Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 5:15 PM
> Subject: If you have a message, call Western Union (variant Samuel
> 1943)
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Garson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      If you have a message, call Western Union (variant
> Goldwyn
>               1943)
> -
> If you have a message, call Western Union.
> If you've got a message, send a telegram.
> The lines above are classic rebuffs delivered by hardheaded Hollywood
> producers to idealistic writers who have created didactic scripts for
> plays or movies. The words have been attributed to a variety of people
> and many of them were not Hollywood producers.
> The Quote Verifier gives this list: Harry Warner, Harry Cohn, Humphrey
> Bogart, Marlon Brando, Dorothy Parker, George S. Kaufman, Ernest
> Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw, and Samuel Goldwyn.
> The Yale Book of Quotations has a 1954 cite with an attribution to
> Moss Hart. Barry Popik gives a 1953 cite for Moss Hart. Building on
> this valuable work I've been able to push the date back a bit for this
> type of saying.
> Cite: 1943 April 17, Dallas Morning News, Heard in New York: Samuel
> Goldwyn Gets a Message by Leonard Lyons, Section 2, Page 4, Column 6,
> Dallas, Texas. (GenealogyBank)
> [Begin excerpt]
> NEW YORK, April 16.-Sam Goldwyn, who is seeking a new film story for
> Bob Hope, received a phone call from a Hollywood writer."I have a
> wonderful comedy story," the writer excitedly told him. "It's ideal
> for Hope. It's a great comedy." . . . "Fine, fine," Goldwyn said. . .
> . "Not only is it a great comedy," the writer continued, "but also, it
> has a message." . . . A message?" Goldwyn repeated. "Just write me the
> comedy. Messages are for Western Union."
> [End Excerpt]

Slight antedating:

NY Post, April 13, 1943 p 26 col 4

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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