Quote: In two words: im-possible (antedating 1928)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 10 05:01:13 UTC 2010

I can answer you in two words, "Im possible."

Charlie Chaplin deliberately pinned this Goldwynism on to Samuel
Goldwyn according to the biographer Alva Johnston writing in The Great
Goldwyn (1937). Johnston says that the joke appeared in a 1925 humor
magazine, and it was not initially attributed to Goldwyn. But a more
precise citation for this 1925 appearance is apparently unknown.

The date of the earliest citation that I could find in the ADS list
archive, YBQ, QV, WikiQuote, and Barry Popik's website is 1929. The
1929 cite in the Zanesville Signal appears in the ADS archive and the
YBQ. The name of the ADS poster is not given, but it may be Barry

Citation: 1928 January 26, Daily Illini, Screen Life In Hollywood by
Wade Werner, Page 7, Col. 2, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. (Google News
Archive, Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection full view.)

Director trying to calm excitedly gesturing producer, who disproves
(sic) of a newly-built set. Producer answering: "What's the matter
with it? In two words I can tell you what's the matter with it: It's


Citation: 1929, Not All the Truth by Lewis Saul Benjamin, Page 273,
Doubleday. (Google snippet view only. Not verified. WorldCat agrees
with this date. WorldCat lists another earlier edition in 1928.)

Illiterate American Multi-Millionaire, 'my answer is in two words!
"I am preparing to quit this World, and am stripping myself of all I
am preparing to quit this World, and am stripping myself of all
Incumbrances, and you ask me to incur fresh obligations."



The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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