[Ads-l] folk aphorism?

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Fri Nov 29 15:49:24 UTC 2019

A query for the quote hounds, from S1 E11 "The Favor" (11/15/58) of the tv Western _Wanted Dead or Alive_. The  show's hero, bounty hunter Josh Randall (played by Steve McQueen), enters a saloon in an outlaw town and asks the barman what he's serving. Barman says it's rye, Randall asks for some, barman asks if he wants water with it. Randall demurs, saying:
  If it's bad, water won't help. If it's good, it won't need it.

That has the sound of a quotation familiar to the character -- or, more likely, a variation on such a quotation. It could just have been invented by the scriptwriters to suit the nature of the character, as a fictive piece of homespun practical wisdom. Or it could be some version of an actual vernacular (perhaps regional) aphorism; it sounds like something my Kentucky connections would say (of bourbon), though I don't recall having heard it there.

Anyone have any leads on it?


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