Starting the week on the lighter side. Here are some famous misquotes and misattributions (from Wikiquote):
- “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.”, Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (played by Judy Garland)
- This phrase was never uttered by the character. What she really said was Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.
- “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” — Voltaire
- Thought to be words of Voltaire, it was actually written by Evelyn Beatrice Hall.
- “Just the facts, ma’am.”
- This, the best known quote from the Jack Webb series Dragnet, was never said by Sgt. Friday in any of the Dragnet radio or television series. The quote was, however, adopted in the 1987 Dragnet pseudo-parody film starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks in which Aykroyd played Sgt. Joe Friday.
- Correct versions:
“All we want are the facts, ma’am.”
“All we know are the facts, ma’am.”
- “Elementary, my dear Watson” – Sherlock Holmes
- This phrase was never uttered by the character in any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s written works. Though “Elementary,” and “…my dear Watson.” both do appear near the beginning of The Crooked Man (1893), it is the “…my dear Watson” that appears first, and “Elementary” is the succinct reply to Watson’s exclamation a few lines of dialogue later. This is the closest these four immortal words ever appear together in the canon.
- The first documented occurrence of this quote appears in the P. G. Wodehouse novel, “Psmith, Journalist”, which was serialized in The Captain magazine (1909-10) then published in book form (1915) and contains the following dialog:
“That’s right,” said Billy Windsor. “Of course.”
“Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary,” murmured Psmith.
- “The end justifies the means.”
- “With great power comes great responsibility.”
- This is often erroneously assumed to be the quote of Ben Parker dating back to the original Spider-Man origin story as depicted in 1962’s Amazing Fantasy #15. This statement appears as a caption of narration in the last panel of the story and wasn’t a spoken line by any characters in the story. In most retellings of Spider-Man’s origin, including the 2002 film, the quote has been retconned to depict Uncle Ben’s final lecture to Peter Parker prior to Ben’s tragic death, and as the words which continue to drive Peter as Spider-Man.
- “Beam me up, Scotty” – James T. Kirk
- From the Star Trek science fiction television series. Several variants of this do occur in the series, such as “Energize”, “Beam me aboard,” “Beam us up home,” or “Two to beam up,” but “Beam me up, Scotty” was never said during the run of the original Star Trek series. However, the quote “Beam us up, Scotty” was uttered in Star Trek: The Animated Series. The movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home included the closest other variation: “Scotty, beam me up.” James Doohan, the actor who played Scotty, did choose this phrase as the title of his 1996 autobiography.
- “Damn it, Jim! I’m a doctor not a…” – Leonard McCoy
- From the Star Trek science fiction television series. McCoy had several lines of this sort, except that he never said “damn it”. Only one “swear word” was used on the original Star Trek series (prior to the movies): “hell.” It was most famously spoken at the end of the episode entitled “City on the Edge of Forever”: “Let’s get the hell out of here” – J. T. Kirk.
- Used in Star Trek (2009).
- “Houston, we have a problem”
- This phrase, supposedly uttered by Apollo 13 commander, Jim Lovell was, in its original rendering: “Houston, we’ve had a problem here. We’ve had a main B bus undervolt”. However, the first notification to Houston that there was a problem was by fellow astronaut Jack Swigert, who used almost identical words. The official NASA chronology  lists the messages as:
- 55:55:20 – Swigert: “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”
- 55:55:28 – Lousma: “This is Houston. Say again please.”
- 55:55:35 – Lovell: “Houston, we’ve had a problem. We’ve had a main B bus undervolt.”
- However, in the movie Apollo 13, Tom Hanks says Houston, we have a problem.
- “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke
- The above is most likely a summary of the following quote in Burke’s “Thoughts on the Cause of Present Discontents”: “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
- Also attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville.
- “Mirror, mirror, on the wall…” – The Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
- The correct quote is “Magic mirror on the wall” (followed by “who is the fairest one of all?” and, later in the film, “who now is the fairest one of all?”) The misquotation does however echo the original Grimm “Spieglein, Spieglein, an der Wand, Wer ist die Schönste im ganzen Land?” (but the story existed before Grimm).
- Luke, I am Your Father – Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- The correct quote is:
- Darth Vader: Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
- Luke Skywalker: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!
- Darth Vader: No. I am your father.
- Luke Skywalker: No… that’s not true! That’s impossible!
- The correct quote is: