May You All Live Forever. May I Live Forever Less A Day

A. A. Milne? Winnie the Pooh? Tom Phillips? Walter Kerr? Jack Valenti? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The following poignant and memorable quotation about love and companionship appears on many websites:

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.

Usually these words are attributed to the author A. A. Milne who created the character Winnie the Pooh and his companions Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Christopher Robin and others. Yet, I have never seen a citation, and I suspect that the Milne never wrote it. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: QI has been unable to find this quotation in the writings of A. A. Milne. The earliest conceptual match located by QI appeared in “The Rotarian” magazine in 1917. An advertisement from Tom Phillips presented a four-line verse containing the central idea of the quotation. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

Greetings—
May you all live forever
May I live forever less a day
For I would not wish to live
When all my friends had passed away

TOM PHILLIPS
See you on Peachtree St., June 17th

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading May You All Live Forever. May I Live Forever Less A Day

Notes:

  1. 1917 January, The Rotarian, Volume 10, Number 1, (Advertisement placed by Tom Phillips), Quote Page 94, Column 1, Rotary International, Chicago, Illinois. (Google Books Full View) link

I Spent a Good Part of Last Evening Laughing at a Very Bad Play

Walter Kerr? Groucho Marx? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: Comedies rarely win prestigious awards. Critics are unaccountably hostile to works that make them guffaw. Groucho Marx once described a critic who laughed heartily and repeatedly during the performance of a play, yet crafted and published an excoriating newspaper review the next day using the barbed phrases “tasteless and tatterdemalion” and “very bad play”. Do you know the critic’s name?

Quote Investigator: Walter Kerr was an influential theater critic for the “New York Herald Tribune” in the 1950s and 1960s. After that newspaper closed he continued his efforts at “The New York Times”. In 1958 Kerr evaluated a comedy from Norman Barasch and Carroll Moore: 1

This is not so much a review as a confession. I spent a good part of an evening laughing at a very bad play—”Make A Million.”

. . . tawdry, tasteless, and tatterdemalion as the evening is, “Make A Million” is—as often as not—stubbornly funny.

. . . “Make A Million” isn’t respectable by any standards I can think of; but it does have an unexpected, and just about inexplicable funnybone.

Below are two additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading I Spent a Good Part of Last Evening Laughing at a Very Bad Play

Notes:

  1. 1958 October 30, The Cincinnati Enquirer, This Is No Review; It’s a Confession by Walter Kerr, Quote Page 9B, Column 1 to 4, Cincinnati, Ohio. (Newspapers_com)