Not the AFI's Entertainment's 100 Greatest Sources of Quotes and References.

There are certain things in the entertainment world that get quoted and made reference to quite often. It happens all over, including here. But if we were to try and rank the top 100 what would go where.

For the rules each one should be judged on quality, quantity and impact. If certain things seem to go together then they should be considered together. For instance the Star Wars series should be considered as a whole but each of Shakespeare’s plays should be considered separately. Although I suppose you could make an argument to consider each Star Wars trilogy on its own. Generally I would also consider length of quotes as well. For instance “He’s no fun, he fell right over” would be of higher quality then “Ay carumba!” But it’s all subjective and your choice. Consider movies, TV shows, musical bands, plays, books, video games, commercials, radio programs, internet sites, operas and anything that would fall within then entertainment field.

Mostly I’d like to know where the Firesign Theatre stands. For quality and quantity it gets top marks. Listening to “How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You’re Not Anywhere At All” never ceases to amaze me at the amount of lines that just tickle me and make me yearn to use at some point. And looking at their Whether it’s Fudd’s First Law of Opposition to “Abraham Lincoln didn’t die in vain. He died in Washington, D.C.” But its cultural impact is seems to be quite small. I suppose a dark horse Top 10 finish is out considering the competition but would it make the top 20? 50? Hmm, I just realized that I want to view them as a unit when maybe I shouldn’t. I think we can make a strong argument for the first 4 albums being considered together but I’d still like to consider them as a whole. I vote they make the top 20.

Would “Romeo & Juliet” come out first? It seems like something that has a massive impact as well as great quality. Quantity I don’t know enough to make a judgment though but it seems like it might be a safe choice. One a lot of people would make.

The Simpsons would definitely be top 5.

The Wizard of Oz, for Americans. I daily hear references to this movie, from ads to quotes in movies, to things that people say. It’s easily far more cited than the Simpsons.

So you think it would be a top 5?

It would be possible to argue that, again in America, TWoO the most quoted work from the 20th century.

#1 would be the Bible. So many phrases from that have entered the vocabulary that people don’t realize it. “At wits end”, “A drop in the bucket”, “bite the dust”, and many, many others are all biblical ‘references’.

My top five (from an American viewpoint):

  1. The Bible
  2. “Shakespeare” (in toto)
  3. The Constitution/Declaration of Independence
  4. The Wizard of Oz
  5. Baseball

Yeah, I know that #3 isn’t an “entertainment” reference, but how many movies and shows have been completely bowlderized with references to American standards of “freedom” and “liberty”? Tons. Braveheart, anyone?

Of course, my favorite out-of-place American political reference is in ST-TOS when Kirk, et al beamed down to the planet that… was it the Chicago gangster planet or the Nazi planet, I can’t remember which. Anyway, Kirk finds a copy of the Declaration/Bill of Rights/Something and gives a perfectly hammy speech towards the end of the episode.

Anyway, you said that we have to keep Shakespeare’s plays separate, but count the 200+ hours Simpsons (as an example) as a whole? Ya think that’s stacking the deck a bit? :wink:

Is the “Firesign Theatre” something that’s all that well known? I had to wikipedia it to find out that it’s a comedy troupe–and I’d never heard of it until now.

I’ve never heard of them either.

If you want a semi-obscure addition to the top-100, the Carter family is worth a spot.

The Simpsons is part of a continuing story whereas each of Shakespeare’s play stands on its own. That’s why I separated them. Either way I’d still place Romeo & Juliet over the Simpsons.

Something like SNL would be harder to consider. Do you take it as a whole or try to break it up into eras? I’d lean to considering it as a whole since it is at least some sort of continuum.

The Firesign Theatre are hurt for notability because they were primarily a radio and album comedy troupe from 30 years ago. Also they were based in California. We’ve had a few threads about them here but they’re definitely not as famous as they should be. They may have quite the cult following.

If you were in college in America in the late 60s/early 70s they were far more famous and more important than Monty Python.

But unlike the Pythons they didn’t extend themselves into movies. They kept going with records, which were their true medium, even more so than radio. And only the first four or so records were important.

But for a certain generation, they were gods.

[ST geek mode]It was The Omega Glory, the planet was a post-Apocalyptic society with two tribes, the Yangs and Comms (sp?) still waging the war that had destroyed “civilization”. The document was a corrupted copy of the Constitution, with “We the People” being mispronounced so badly that the meaning was lost.[/ST geek mode]

As to the OP; I remember “Firesign Theater” from my college days, but haven’t heard much of them since then. I wouldn’t mind listening to them again, to see if they’re still as funny now as I thought they were then.

And I’m rather surprised that no one has yet mentioned “The Princess Bride” considering how often it gets quoted on the SDMB.

Firesign Theater wouldn’t make the list, no matter how long it was. They in no way impacted the common psyche to a measureable degree. Others did it better and wider. Sorry.

My list would include:

  1. The Bible
  2. Hamlet
  3. Poor Richard’s Almanack
  4. The Wizard of Oz
  5. The Simpsons

This leaves out the Bible, Poor Richards, The Declaration, and other historical references etc.

“Letters of Transit.”
“I am shocked to discover that there is gambling on te premesis.”
“Round up the usual suspects.”
“Of all the Gin joints in the world, she had to walk into mine.”
“We’ll always have Paris.”
“This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
“I remember now, you wore blue, the Germans wore grey.”

and many others from Casablanca. As far as movies are concerned, this is definitely a top five.

As far as plays are concerned, I would have to say Hamlet.
“A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.”
“Neither a borrower, nor a lender be.”
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. "
“Murder most foul.”
"O day and night, but this is wondrous strange! "
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. "
"Brevity is the soul of wit. "
“The play’s the thing.”
“Get thee to a nunnery.”
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks. "
“A hit, a very palpable hit.”
“The rest is silence.”
“Good-night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”

these are just a few. Of course there are the very famous quotes.

Just my nominations.

What about the Twilight Zone? Considering all the references made to it, would it get a top twenty listing? (Top fifty at least, hopefully.)

Star Trek has got to be up there. It’s cultural impact may even surpass The Wizard of Oz. From bumper stickers that read “Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here” to documentaries about its cultural impact on A&E, the History Channel, etc, to innumerable late night comedy skits and captain Kirk impressions, to conventions, to product roll outs ( From a review of the new iPhone: “Forget communicators and phasers. I have something better and seemingly more advanced. I have an iPhone”) to you name it. Webster’s New Millenium Dictionary even has an entry for “Trekkie”.

It’s already been referenced regarding something else in this very thread. You can’t escape that show. Here’s something fun to try with google. Type in any term, and I mean any term, followed by “Star Trek” and see how many results you get. aardvark Star Trek = 141,000. “Queen Elizabeth” Star Trek = 172,000 Shoot, even antidisestablishmententarianism Star Trek got a result.

Damnit Jim! I’m a poster not a sociologist!

Oh as an addendum: Sorry, Fern, but I don’t think Firesign Theater makes the list at all. Few people, even inside the US, have heard of or remember them.

Firesign Theater Star Trek = 18,700 results

I’ll nominate Hank Williams, just for his song titles

I’m so lonesome I could cry

Your cheatin’ heart

Cold, cold heart

I’ll never get out of this world alive.

Like it or hate it, It’s a Wonderful Life is the source of numerous familiar quotes and references.

Grouped together, the Godfather movies are also bountiful sources (even the third one).

Maxwell Smart

“Sorry about that”

“Would you believe…”

“Missed it by that much.”

The Firesign Theater was great, but other than a few aging hippies, few people have heard of them. Monty Python is bigger (even in the US). Even Laugh-In spawned more popular catchphrases.

You have to include Lewis Carroll’s Alice books.

“Through the looking glass”
“Mad tea party”
“Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum”
“I’m late! I’m late!”
“Off with her head!”
“Curiouser and curiouser”
“Cheshire cat”
“down the rabbit hole”

to name a few.