Fields Day

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Late last month saw the release of the W.C. Fields Collection, Vol. 2 (see View From the Couch review in the current print edition or on our Web site), and the five films contained in this box set remind us once again that when it came to the gift of comedic gab, few screen comedians could match Fields.

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Yet The Great Man (as he was nicknamed) wasn't only funny on screen; when the cameras weren't rolling, he had the ability to come up with zingers on the spot. Courtesy of the International Movie Database, here are 12 real-life quips uttered by Fields away from the movie screen.• "Children should neither be seen nor heard from ... ever again."

• "I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally."

• "Start every day with a smile, and get it over with."

• “A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.”

• "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then give up. No use being a damned fool about it."

•"'Twas a woman drove me to drink. I never had the courtesy to thank her."

• "Wouldn't it be terrible if I quoted some reliable statistics which prove that more people are driven insane through religious hysteria than by drinking alcohol?"

• "The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep."

• "Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite, and furthermore always carry a small snake."

• (When asked whether he liked children) "Ah yes ... boiled or fried."

• (When caught reading a Bible) "Just looking for loopholes."

• (After discovering the cork missing from his bottle of whiskey) "What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?"


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