"My Stradivarius!" [in movies and TV]

Wasn’t there a Pink Panther movie where a violin gets destroyed and Peter Sellers says something lik, “Well if you’ve one Stradavarius youve seen them all.”

It’s in In the Good Old Summertime, the 1949 musical remake of The Shop Around the Corner. Van Johnson lends his neighbor the boss’s Strad for her recital, substituting a cheap instrument. The boss wants to play his violin at the Christmas party, and nephew Buster Keaton, in bringing it to him, smashes it in a classic pratfall.

*“My Stradivarius!” *

Dang. You gotta get up pretty early in the morning to be the first one to mention In the Good Old Summertime.

It’s well-understood shorthand for something infinitely valuable. Nobody ever cries, “My Maggini!” or “My Amati!” because the only violin maker known to the average person is Stradivari (well, the average person would probably think his name was Stradivarius, but same deal).

I’d be very, very happy to sleep late.

This device was used in the “Hawaii Five-O” ep “The Guarnerius Caper,” although you can see they altered the name of the priceless violin from “Stradivarius” to “Guarnerius.” At the end, the owner freaks when Anthony James appears to destroy it, but he only broke the strings.

There’s a scene in The Prince of Tides where Tom Wingo (Nick Nolte) almost drops Barbra Streisand’s dickwad husband’s Strad off the balcony…

Now that was funny.

“My insulin!”

Well, that leaves fart and dick jokes.

TV Tropes to the rescue.

Caution, strap an anchor to yourself before you jump in…

Of course! The very one he used to play Pop Goes the Weasel on.


Thanks to everyone for this essential information.

But that violin was destroyed, too. Remember? Curly fell on it. Larry then went out on to the street and found a radio playing “Weasel,” then found a van playing it over a loudspeaker.

But then, the Stooges were never big on consistency. :smiley:

Well, obviously Larry had a whole closetful of Strads.

First and only thing that comes to mind: Electric Dreams

“My cello. It’s Gone!”

“My Cello…”
“I broke it, its gone!”
“An elevator ate it…”
“Crushed it!”
“Thats terrible! Why didn’t you call me?!”
“I tried to all day, but your line was on hold…or out to lunch!”
“Don’t worry! It’s just a piece of wood!”
“Just a piece of wood!!! Miles I’ve had that cello since I was a kid, I cannot replace it. I thought you would understand…”
“But I do understand. Madeline, Listen to me, Listen to me, Madeline! What made that cello special was you. Nothing else. Whatever came out of it, you put in it! Each sound, every scratch Each note, each feeling.”
“And thats not lost! Because it is inside of you! Here, where it always will be! And it will happen again.”
“Do you think so?”
“I know so!”

A friend who used to work in insurance once handled a case when a violinist had managed to lose his Stradivari while on a drinking spree in London. I have no idea how it ended, though.

Another violinist, I have read about, slipped while walking down from stage and sat down on his, totaling it.


Yet another guy left his Stradivarius in the backseat of a cab in Newark, NJ on his way home from the airport. He got it back. I can’t for the life of me imagine what possesses someone to be so careless with something so valuable (both monetary and historic/artistic terms).

All I know is that the very thought of something happening to my relatively inexpensive, low-quality violin is kind of upsetting, and I don’t even play seriously. Shatter all the priceless ancient pottery you want for laughs, but smashing up a Stradivarius or Guarneri just doesn’t elicit giggles from me, but anguished cries at the idiot who left it in harm’s way.