Alva Johnston, Saturday Evening Post (via Goldwyn, A Biography)
Consider the wave of late 19th/early 20th Century immigration from Eastern Europe. It brought most of the original movie moguls who were fleeing the brutal pogroms of Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. Arriving via the East Coast, they eventually made their way to Los Angeles. From there, they conquered the world … well, if not physically, then at least its imagination. They transformed Hollywood, a sleepy teetotaling suburb of Los Angeles, into a geographically porous global behemoth.
Among those immigrant moguls (and probably the most beloved) was Samuel Goldwyn. His name will go down in history as one of the three names in Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM). Yet, he had departed by the time that studio reached its heyday. By then, he had formed Samuel Goldwyn Productions, a smaller, more bespoke studio. It produced fewer pictures a year than MGM, but what it lacked in output, it made up for in quality.
Rumor has it that Goldwyn’s staff of writers (among the best in the business) manufactured Goldwynisms of their own. As such, there is some question as to whether a particular saying originated with him or was instead a tribute from someone on his staff. Of the following four examples, however, one is definitely not an authentic Goldwynism. Which one?
- “But all this modern music … it’s so old-fashioned.”
- “Anybody who goes to a psychiatrist—should have his head examined.”
- “A verbal agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”
- “I am much too ill to see the doctor.”