Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Sayings of WC Fields

By the time you read this, I will be in Los Angeles, in anticipation of Bouchercon.  As I write this, I am under the gun to be packed and ready to leave in two days.  I will forget something important.  So, without too much need to think deeply about anything else, I offer you an amusement that is largely cut and pasted.

This is a kind of add-on to my blog last week for which I looked up exactly what W. C. Fields said about the city of his birth.  W.C. grew up very poor and unhappy there.  When he started to earn money as an entertainer in New York, he went back to Philly, took his mother by the hand, left everything behind, and led her to an entirely new life.

Here are some of his wise cracks for your amusement, if not edification:

On Booze

Now don't say you can't swear off drinking; it's easy. I've done it a thousand times..

Back in my rummy days, I would tremble and shake for hours upon arising. It was the only exercise I got.

Water? Never drink it.  Fish f*ck in it.

During one of my treks through Afghanistan, we lost our corkscrew. We were compelled to live on food and water for several days.

It's hard to tell where Hollywood ends and the D.T.'s begin.

More people are driven insane through religious hysteria than by drinking alcohol.

True Wisdom

[Charles Dickens was] the bravest man who ever lived. He fathered ten children before they became tax deductions.

A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.

Never cry over spilt milk, because it may have been poisoned.

Don't worry about your heart, it will last you as long as you live.

It's headed for the brambles and we are all in our bare feet.

On Crime Writing

The human race has gone backward, not forward, since the days we were apes swinging through the trees.

What a lovely day. What effulgent sunshine. It was a day of this sort the McGillicuddy brothers murdered their mother with an ax.

Thou shalt not steal--only from other comedians.  (Novelists?)

My daughter wants to throw a stone at a bad man. I stop her from throwing, shaking my head and giving her a little slap. My disapproval is complete. You think: 'That's right, she shouldn't throw a stone even at a villain.' Then I hand her a brick to throw.

I was almost put out of business by a well-meaning corpse.

Anything worth having is worth cheating for.

On Show Biz

The movie people would have nothing to do with me until they heard me speak in a Broadway play, then they all wanted to sign me for the silent movies.

Hollywood is the gold cap on a tooth that should have been pulled out years ago.

When I want to play with a prick, I'll play with my own.

A comic should suffer as much over a single line as a man with a hernia would in picking up a heavy barbell.

I always made up my own acts; built them out of my knowledge and observation of real life. I'd had wonderful opportunities to study people; and every time I went out on the stage I tried to show the audience some bit of true human nature.

Annamaria Alfieri


  1. Annamaria, I look forward to hearing your impressions re Bouchercon. I enjoyed that conference very much when I attended the one in Toronto a few years ago. Thelma Straw