Thursday, January 11, 2018

100 Greatest Replies, Nos 5-8

As I have commented previously, some of the items below (but not all) have appeared in Bytes before, However I cannot omit them if listing the 100 Greatest Replies.

5. Coral Browne:

Coral Browne (1913 – 1991) was an Australian-American stage and screen actress. Her extensive theatre credits included Broadway productions of Macbeth (1956), The Rehearsal (1963) and The Right Honourable Gentleman (1965). She won the 1984 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for the BBC TV film An Englishman Abroad (1983). Her film appearances included Auntie Mame (1958), The Killing of Sister George (1968), The Ruling Class (1972) and Dreamchild (1985). 

Browne married actor Philip Pearman in 1950 and remained married to him until his death in 1964. In 1974 she married actor Vincent Price and remained married to him until her death. She had become a naturalized United States citizen in 1987 as a gift to Price who later converted to Catholicism for her. Browne died on 29 May 1991 in Los Angeles, California, from breast cancer; she was 77. She had no children from her marriages. Price died two years later.

While touring the Soviet Union in a Shakespeare Memorial Theatre (later the Royal Shakespeare Company) production of Hamlet in 1958, she met the spy Guy Burgess. This meeting became the basis of Alan Bennett's script for the television movie An Englishman Abroad (1983) in which Browne played herself, apparently including some of her conversations with Burgess. On the BFI TV 100, a list compiled in 2000 by the British Film Institute, chosen by a poll of industry professionals, to determine what were the greatest British television programs of any genre ever to have been screened, An Englishman Abroad was listed at No. 30.


When a Hollywood writer told Browne that the screenplay for An Englishman Abroad wasn't particularly great, she spat back, “Listen, dear, you couldn't write ‘fuck’ on a dusty venetian blind.”

6. George Reid:

Sir George Houstoun Reid (1845 – 1918) was an Australian politician who led the Reid Government as the fourth Prime Minister of Australia from 1904 to 1905, having previously been Premier of New South Wales from 1894 to 1899. He led the Free Trade Party from 1891 to 1908.


On one occasion a heckler pointed to his ample paunch and exclaimed "What are you going to call it, George, when it’s born?"

Reid replied: "If it's a boy, I'll call it after myself. If it's a girl I'll call it Victoria. But if, as I strongly suspect, it's nothing but piss and wind, I'll name it after you."

7. Robert Menzies:

Sir Robert Gordon Menzies (1894 – 1978), was an Australian politician who twice served as Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1939 to 1941 and again from 1949 to 1966. He played a central role in the creation of the Liberal Party of Australia, defining its policies and its broad outreach. He is Australia's longest-serving prime minister, serving over 18 years in total.


Menzies was well known for a quick wit and for responding to hecklers.

Whilst speaking in Williamstown, Victoria, in 1954, a heckler shouted, "I wouldn’t vote for you if you were the Archangel Gabriel." Menzies replied "If I were the Archangel Gabriel, I’m afraid you wouldn't be in my constituency."

Some bonus Menzies quotes: 

To a heckler who called out: "Tell us all you know Bob, it won't take long!" – "I'll tell you everything we both know; it won't take any longer." 

To a heckler who shouted: "Wotcha gunna do about 'ousing?" – "Put an 'h' in front of it." 

On his visit to the United Nations in 1960: "Mr Khrushchev looked me up and down and said that, for an imperialist, I was not a bad specimen. I told him that for a communist, he improved on closer inspection."

8. Joe Pyne and Frank Zappa:

Joe Pyne (1924 – 1970) was an American radio and television talk show host, who pioneered the confrontational style in which the host advocates a viewpoint and argues with guests and audience members. According to the Smithsonian magazine:
Nearly forgotten today, Joe Pyne ran roughshod over America’s airwaves in the 1950s and ’60s. A charismatic bully in a jacket and tie, he grilled hippies, Black Panthers, “pinkos,” “fairies” and “women’s libbers,” practically inventing the attack interview. The New York Times called him “the ranking nuisance of broadcasting...hitting a jackpot by making a virtue of bad manners and wallowing in the cheap sensationalism of an electronic peepshow.” To Time magazine he was “Killer Joe, host of a tasteless electronic peepshow.” By 1968 Pyne had more than ten million viewers a week—comparable to the audience Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly combined to reach last year.
In 1955, Pyne lost the lower part of his left leg due to a rare form of cancer. Therafter he had a wooden prosthetic leg.

Frank Zappa (1940 Р1993) was an American musician, composer, activist and filmmaker. His work is characterised by nonconformity, free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and satire of American culture. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concr̬te works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. Zappa also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. He is considered one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse rock musicians of his era.

Zappa died, after his long battle with prostate cancer, on December 4, 1993, just 18 days before his 53rd birthday at his home with his wife and children by his side. At a private ceremony the following day, his body was buried in a grave at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, in Los Angeles. The grave is unmarked. On December 6, his family publicly announced that "Composer Frank Zappa left for his final tour just before 6:00 pm on Saturday".


Zappa once appeared on Pyne’s TV show. After introducing Zappa, Pyne commented "I guess your long hair makes you a woman." 

Zappa responded "I guess your wooden leg makes you a table."

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