Communication | Speech

Stephen Birmingham’s book The Rest of Us chronicles the story of the Eastern European Jews, particularly the Russian Jews, who came to America through New York between 1882 and 1915 in flight from the pogroms of Czarist Russia. One of the characters he tells about is Sam Goldwyn, famous for his fractured English sayings that were widely quoted in his day. Here’s a few of them: “Let me sum it up for you in two words — im possible!” “Let me pinpoint for you the approximate date.” “Include me out.” “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” “Every Tom, Dick and Harry is named John.” Edna Ferber told him she was writing her autobiography. He asked her, “What’s it about?” When filming Romeo and Juliet was proposed to him Goldwyn liked the story but wondered if it couldn’t have a happy ending. Jokingly, an associate said, “I don’t think Bill Shakespeare would like that, Sam.” Goldwyn replied,…

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