"My Stradivarius!" [in movies and TV]

This is an old gag, used in the movies and on TV many times. A violin gets smashed, and the owner of the violin puts his hands on his head and cries, “My Stradivarius!” (He can’t just go, “My violin!”, it has to be a Stradivarius, otherwise not funny.)

Can anyone think of a movie or comedy short or TV show where this gag was used?

:confused: That’s a gag?

I can see how, in the right context and with the right sort of comic acting, it might be made funny, but so can reading from the phone book. In itself, I don’t see any joke there at all.

I don’t recognize it either, but I suppose it’s the same trope as the smashing of a Ming vase. Any other priceless vase? Not funny. It must be a Ming vase or nothing.

“But that’s a priceless Steinway!”

“Not anymore…”

YouTube clip, start at about 3:20

“Ah! Superintendent!”

AIUI, it’s not really a Stradivarius. It’s just an ordinary violin, and the exclaimer wants to recoup the cost of a Stradivarius from the one who destroyed it.

No, it’s a real, valuable antique, or rather, it’s a prop but the audience assumes it is “valuable”, in quotes, by the owner’s crie de coeur upon seeing it get busted.

I will accept variations, ex: “Oh! You breaka da Strad!”

That is still not humorous as such. It could just as well be a scene from a crime drama as from a comedy.

Major win to Suburban Plankton for proving both the OP and njtt correct. :smiley:

I aim to please…


Jack Benny?

Since the question is specifically about the use of this trope in movies and TV, it’s better suited for CS than GQ. I have also edited the thread title.

General Questions Moderator

The gag itself is the accidental smashing the violin (or any other valuable object), by some schlemiel, idiot, stooge, or mean little kid, to the dismay of its owner (often a pompous snob or windbag, but sometimes just a forlorn schlimazel). The fact that it is a Strad (or Ming or Steinway) just makes the misfortune more misfortunate because of its value.

Oh, man, the accidental destruction of priceless valuables has always been one of my least favorite “comedy” devices—right down there with the painfully awkward misunderstanding leading to huge embarrassment or disappointment.

(see below)

Correct. I guess that’s how you got to be a curator. Thank you for moving this to a better place.

Googling around, I see Jack Benny did have a real Stradivarius and it featured prominently in at least one television plot, though whether it was ever put in jeopardy is unknown (by me). I could see him saying the target line.

Nobody named Thudlow Boink gets to decide what’s funny.

There was at least one Three Stooges short that had that bit in it. Don’t remember the name, though.

ETA: I think Larry was trying to hit a bird with a hammer and ended up destroying his “Stradivarius! [His] beautiful Stradivarius!”

Disorder In The Court (1936). At about 14:25 in.

Ah, yes, that’s the one. One of the all-time great Stooges shorts.