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Author Topic: "Beam me up Scotty" and other apocryphal quotations
'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 07 July 2004 06:54 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
On another thread, someone mentioned that James "Scotty" Doohan of Star Trek fame had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

Searching for news stories I found lots of uses of "Beam me up, Scotty" -- which of course no-one on Star Trek ever said, not exactly anyway.

And of course there are lots of other popular, familiar misquotations, like those on this wikipedia page.

At one time I might have gritted my teeth and insisted "no, it was 'Play it!', not 'Play it again, Sam!'" In fact I often did. People, rightly, got irritated.

Now I don't care so much about the accuracy, and I'm more interested in how and why misquotations get started, and why they persist. Casablanca has to be one of the most-watched movies of all time -- it's odd that people still say "Play it again, Sam." Though perhaps they don't do that much anymore. Before VCRs, most people could get to see a movie like Casablanca very rarely, if ever. Now many more people have seen it.

Anyway: is the process as simple as one or two influential, widely-read people getting it wrong at the outset, and then the misquotation somehow "overtaking" the true quotation because of this spurious air of authority? Or is it more involved?

I notice Wikipedia refers to a book by someone named Ralph Keyes, Nice guys finish seventh -- False phrases, spurious sayings and familiar misquotations. Does anyone here know it, or have any other ideas about this odd phenomenon?

[ 07 July 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 07 July 2004 07:20 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
1. 'lance: if no one did say "Beam me up, Scotty," then what was the original that got boiled down that way?

2. Can't I tell my second-hand "Beam me up, Scotty" story?

Of course I can. This is my li'l box. I can write free here. So I shall.

About twenty years ago, a friend of mine was cooling his heels in the reception area of the College Street cop shop, and he swears that, as a couple of cops frog-marched a staggery drunk past him to parts unknown, the guy pulled back one flap of his jacket and spoke into it, "Beam me up, Scotty." And everyone laughed, including the cops, although the frog-march apparently continued.

And if anyone looks this up on Snopes, you shan't be my friend any more.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
spatrioter
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posted 07 July 2004 07:20 PM      Profile for spatrioter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think many of the misquotations are started because people want to sum up the context of the quotation, like "Luke, I am your father". If someone said the real quotation: "No. I am your father", no one would understand what they were talking about.
From: Trinity-Spadina | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Anchoress
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posted 07 July 2004 07:26 PM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This has nothing to do with quotations, but anytime Scottie is mentioned I like to tell my little story:

When I was living in London 10 years ago, SKOL had a big ad campaign, featuring lots of minor 60s TV stars with their pictures on SKOL billboards with pithy sayings.

I was on the bus one day when I saw a SKOL billboard with a picture of Scottie (his head where the 'O' was supposed to be), and underneath it the following:

"SKOL: Easier to swallow than the captain's log"


From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
spatrioter
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posted 07 July 2004 07:30 PM      Profile for spatrioter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
*cough*

http://www.snopes.com/legal/beamup.htm


From: Trinity-Spadina | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 07 July 2004 07:33 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
spats, I hate you I hate you I hate you!

I just knew someone was gonna do that. And now, I'm gonna get even with Tom. 'Scuse me.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Bacchus
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posted 07 July 2004 08:20 PM      Profile for Bacchus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Actually snopes never said it didnt happen and indeed could happen with great regularity. Im sure many a wag has wanted to (and has) said it in such circumstances
From: n/a | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
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posted 07 July 2004 08:38 PM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From the snopes page:
quote:
So far versions of this story have been reported that tell it as taking place in an unspecified Canadian court, in a Regina,

In a Regina? Which one?

[/spelling flame]


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
asterix
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posted 07 July 2004 09:26 PM      Profile for asterix     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just a bit of ambiguous grammar on their part, Gir..."a Regina, a Newfoundland and a British court".
From: deep inside the caverns of my mind | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 07 July 2004 09:31 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I think many of the misquotations are started because people want to sum up the context of the quotation, like "Luke, I am your father". If someone said the real quotation: "No. I am your father", no one would understand what they were talking about.

It's a good point, and a good example. I've seen that movie a few times, and I remember the line as "Luke...". Probably because of all the jokes that use that line.

WingNut's "meades... I am your father!" gag over on this old thread depends on people remembering it that way.

quote:
1. 'lance: if no one did say "Beam me up, Scotty," then what was the original that got boiled down that way?

Wikipedia sez:

quote:
Several variants of this do occur in the series, such as "Beam me aboard" or "Two to beam up", but never "Beam me up, Scotty".

Perhaps there was a "Two to beam up, Mr. Scott" in there somewhere. I dunno, I'm not a Trekk(ie)(er).

[ 07 July 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mel Skiller
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posted 08 July 2004 12:18 AM      Profile for Mel Skiller     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Actually, the closest I ever heard Kirk get to the famous line was "Scotty, beam me up."

I have just posted twice to Star Trek questions in the same day. Is there a Geek of the Year award here?


From: toronto | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
spatrioter
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Babbler # 2299

posted 08 July 2004 12:20 AM      Profile for spatrioter     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There is an award, but I don't think the current recipient is ready to give it up quite yet.

[ 08 July 2004: Message edited by: spatrioter ]


From: Trinity-Spadina | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Scott Piatkowski
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posted 08 July 2004 01:35 AM      Profile for Scott Piatkowski   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Let me just say that I'd be perfectly happy if the phrase "Beam me up Scotty" was banished from the English language
From: Kitchener-Waterloo | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged

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