Some People Feel the Rain. Others Just Get Wet

Bob Dylan? Bob Marley? Roger Miller? Donald Freeman? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: I love the following quote, and have used it on my blog:

Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.

After researching the origin of the saying, it still remains unclear. Two famous musicians named Bob have each been credited: Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. I would like to list the correct source on my blog. Could you examine this question?

Quote Investigator: It is unlikely that Bob Dylan or Bob Marley crafted this expression. The wordsmith was probably another musician.

Roger Miller was a popular country singer and song writer in the U.S. who was best known for the hits “King of the Road” and “Dang Me”. In 1972 he was the star and host of a late-night television special on the ABC network titled “Roger Miller with His Friends and His Music”. A reviewer stated that Miller employed the line during the telecast. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1

Miller’s wit is deeply philosophical in the same way. It’s the second thought that counts, just as it did with Will Rogers. One line on the ABC late-night special exemplifies this type of humor-based-on-tragic-truth: “Some people feel the rain; others just get wet.”

This was the earliest evidence known to QI. The program was recorded in 1972, and the review was published on December 31, 1972; however, the program was actually broadcast the next day on January 1, 1973 according to the “Lubbock Avalanche-Journal” of Lubbock, Texas.

In December 1973 Donald Freeman who was the TV-Radio editor at “The San Diego Union” in California wrote column with the theme: “looking back at 1973”. Freeman presented a series of anecdotes and laugh-lines from the concluding year, and he ascribed the line to Roger Miller: 2

And there was philosophy from Roger Miller, who noted: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”

In March 1978 Freeman mentioned the saying in his column again. He must have found it noteworthy, and he repeated the attribution to Miller: 3

A touch of philosophy from Roger Miller: “Some people feel the rain — others just get wet”

In September 1978 the quote was reprinted as an epigraph in a syndicated newspaper column about a popular card game called “Aces on Bridge”: 4

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”
— Roger Miller.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Some People Feel the Rain. Others Just Get Wet


  1. 1972 December 31, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Section G: TV Weekly Log, “King of the Road” Roger Miller Wears No Special Labels Except He’s Talented, Quote Page 5, Column 4, Lubbock, Texas. (Newspapers_com)
  2. 1973 December 21, San Diego Union, Donald Freeman: TV-Radio Editor, Page C-13, Column 1, San Diego, California, (GenealogyBank)
  3. 1978 March 09, San Diego Union, Don Freeman: TV-Radio Editor, Page D-19, Column 1, San Diego, California, (GenealogyBank)
  4. 1978 September 20, Times-Picayune, Aces on Bridge by Ira G. Corn, Section 2: Page 2, [GNB Page 24], New Orleans, Louisiana. (GenealogyBank)

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is Named Sam

Samuel Goldwyn? Roger Miller? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: I noticed that the Wikiquote website lists one of my favorite funny sayings attributed to Samuel Goldwyn, the famous film producer [WSG]. In the version of the story I heard, a friend told Goldwyn that he wanted to honor the studio head by naming his son after him, but Sam responded without enthusiasm:

No, don’t do that. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is named Sam!

Wikiquote says that Goldwyn’s reply is unsourced, hence it is only listed on the discussion webpage. Can you find evidence that Goldwyn said it? Or can you determine who did say it?

Quote Investigator: There are many variants of this joke, but it is not clear whether Goldwyn ever uttered the gag line. Quotation expert Ralph Keyes notes that “inventing mangled comments to put in the mouth of the Polish-born movie mogul was a popular pastime during Goldwyn’s lifetime” [GQV].

The earliest instance of this anecdote that QI has located appeared in the Hollywood grapevine column of Jimmie Fidler in June of 1940 [JFG]:

A friend of Samuel Goldwyn asked the producer what he should name his new baby. Goldwyn pondered a moment, then suggested “Montmorency” as a possible and “high-sounding” monicker. “But Sam,” argued his friend, “don’t you think it would be better to call him something simple, like Bill or Joe?” “For heaven’s sake, no!” cried Goldwyn. “Why, every Tom, Dick and Harry in the country is named Bill or Joe!”

Two months later, in August of 1940 the columnist Leonard Lyons told another version of the tale that used the baby name William instead of Bill or Joe. Lyons also claimed that Goldwyn’s friend who inquired about names was the film director Ernst Lubitsch. Other variants of the story appeared in Hedda Hopper’s newspaper column, Boys’ Life magazine, Erskine Johnson’s column and elsewhere. Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is Named Sam