Tag Archives: Sheilah Graham

It’s Not Quite True I Had Nothing On: The Radio Was On

Marilyn Monroe? Sheilah Graham? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Beauty icon Marilyn Monroe’s film career was jeopardized in the 1950s when scandal-mongers reported on her past as a risqué calendar model. Interestingly, her popularity and fame actually grew. When she was questioned about the calendar she responded with a clever and hilarious remark about a radio. Is this tale authentic or apocryphal?

Quote Investigator: The earliest evidence known to QI appeared in the gossip column of Sheilah Graham in June 1952. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1

A pompous visitor asked Marilyn Monroe at Niagara—”Is it true that when you posed for that famous calendar photograph, Miss Monroe, you had nothing on?” “No,” said our Marilyn, “I had the radio on.”

Monroe was one of the stars of the film “Niagara” which was filmed in 1952 and released in 1953. It is conceivable that this tale was crafted by a humorist on behalf of Monroe and her studio; the zinger was then given to Graham for publication. Nevertheless, Monroe definitely employed the quip when she was interviewed for a 1953 profile published in “Esquire” magazine as shown further below.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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  1. 1952 June 23, The Evening Star, Hollywood Diary by Sheilah Graham (North American Newspaper Alliance), Quote Page A13, Column 4, Washington D.C. (GenealogyBank)

Gentlemen, You May Include Me Out

Samuel Goldwyn? Herbert Fields? June Provines? Sheilah Graham? Alva Johnston? Apocryphal?

include07Dear Quote Investigator: Movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn was famous for his creative and idiosyncratic use of the English language. Hollywood legend asserts that Goldwyn participated in a complex, protracted, and tense corporate negotiation in the 1930s. But he was unhappy with the final deal, and he expressed disenchantment with these classic words:

Gentlemen, you may include me out.

Would you please explore this statement?

Quote Investigator: When Samuel Goldwyn was profiled in LIFE magazine in 1959 he adamantly denied that he used the expression: “Include me out”. Instead, Goldwyn contended that he uttered the prosaic “Gentlemen, I’m withdrawing from the association.” Yet, the colorful remark has been ascribed to him since the 1930s.

The earliest evidence located by QI did not link the phrase to Goldwyn. The words appeared in a newspaper serialization of a 1933 movie titled “Let’s Fall In Love”. Herbert Fields crafted the story and the screenplay of the romantic musical though it was not clear who penned the serialization which was published in February 1934. 1

In the following passage, two characters on a movie set were conversing: Rose Forsell was a temperamental star, and Max was a film producer. Forsell believed that she had been insulted, and she was threatening to return to Sweden while Max was attempting to mollify her. The word “Sweden” was spelled “Sveden” to depict Forsell’s accent. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 2

Forsell was in a towering rage “Ah! So now he insults me! So now I go back home—to Sveden!”

Max walked up to her. “Wait a minute, Forsell. Don’t mind what Ken says. I didn’t say it. Include me out of it.”

Forsell ignored Max. “And what’s more, I take the first boat back and I don’t never come back.” She turned on her heel and started away.

By 1935 the phrase had moved from the realm of fiction to non-fiction. A popular “Chicago Tribune” columnist named June Provines recounted an incident with unnamed participants immersed in a business parley. The specified location was the “Hotel Sherman” which was probably a reference to the landmark Sherman House Hotel of Chicago: 3

It was a small business meeting at the Hotel Sherman. The men had met to sign an agreement, according to Henrietta Singer, who reports the incident. The proposition was written and read to them and all of them agreed except one. He walked away, ostensibly thinking it over. The rest looked at him inquiringly, awaiting his answer. After a long pause he gave it, “Include me out,” he said.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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  1. Website: IMDB – Internet Movie Database, Movie title: Let’s Fall in Love (1933), Website description: Searchable database of more than 100 million data items about movies and TV, (Accessed imdb.com on October 12, 2014) link
  2. 1934 February 19, Tyrone Daily Herald, Film: Let’s Fall In Love with Edmund Lowe, Ann Southern, and Miriam Jordan, Serialization by arrangement with Columbia Pictures, Quote Page 5, Column 2, Tyrone, Pennsylvania (NewspaperArchive)
  3. 1935 March 27, Chicago Tribune, Front Views and Profiles by June Provines, Quote Page 13, Column 4, Chicago, Illinois. (ProQuest)

That Is Part of the Beauty of All Literature. You Discover that Your Longings Are Universal Longings

F. Scott Fitzgerald? Sheilah Graham? Apocryphal?

beloved05Dear Quote Investigator: Recently, on the blog of a teacher I saw a quotation about the humanities that was attributed to one of the best American writers of the previous century. It began:

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings…

Are these the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald who famously penned “The Great Gatsby”? I have not found this quotation in his writings, and it is not currently listed on the Wikiquote page for Fitzgerald.

Quote Investigator: Near the end of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tragically brief 44 years on Earth he met the Hollywood journalist Sheilah Graham and they began a tumultuous affair. Fitzgerald enjoyed sharing poems with Graham such as “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats and “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell. Graham was filled with wonder at the depiction of love in these works of the distant past. Fitzgerald responded: 1

“Sheilo,” said Scott. “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”

The above episode was recounted in the best-selling 1958 memoir by Graham titled “Beloved Infidel: The Education of a Woman”. Graham confessed to Fitzgerald that she had not been candid with others about her true background. In childhood she had been placed in an orphanage, and her formal schooling had halted at the eighth grade. She was embarrassed by the “tremendous gaps” in her knowledge. Fitzgerald happily agreed to tutor her: 2

For Scott treated his teaching of me—which was finally to grow into a project beyond anything either of us anticipated—as a challenge as exciting as screen writing. He made out careful lists of books and gave me daily reading schedules.

Fitzgerald wrote lengthy notes in the margins of the texts he gave to Graham. The couple discussed the readings extensively, and he even quizzed her. The affair ended after a few short years in 1940 with the death of Fitzgerald from a heart attack.

In 1959 “Beloved Infidel” was made into a film starring Gregory Peck and Deborah Kerr. In subsequent years Graham’s gossip column emerged as the most powerful and long-lived in Hollywood.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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  1. 1958, Beloved Infidel: The Education of a Woman by Sheilah Graham and Gerold Frank, (First Edition), Chapter 22, Quote Page 260, Henry Holt and Company, New York. (Verified on paper)
  2. 1958, Beloved Infidel: The Education of a Woman by Sheilah Graham and Gerold Frank, (First Edition), Chapter 22, Quote Page 261, Henry Holt and Company, New York. (Verified on paper)