The Jacana Library





Famous Last Words



Last words are for fools who haven't said enough.
- Karl Marx.

Margaret Thatcher, when Education Minister: "I do not think that there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime."

Ronald Reagan: "Actors are citizens and should exert those rights by speaking their minds, but the actor's first duty is to his profession. Hence you may rest assured that I will never run for anything but head man in my own household."

Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962: "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."

Emperor Ferdinand: (after the first performance of The Marriage of Figaro:) “Far too noisy, my dear Mozart. Far too many notes.”

Tchaikovsky’s diary, 9 October 1886: “I played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms. What a giftless bastard! It annoys me that this self-inflated mediocrity is hailed as a genius. Why, in comparison with him, Raff is a genius.”

Adolf Hitler: "We are winning international respect."

American Civil War General John Sedgewick, moments before his death: "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist....."

Winston Churchill, 1939: "Atomic energy might be as good as our present-day explosives, but it is unlikely to produce anything very much more dangerous."

Ernest Rutherford, after he had split the atom for the first time: “The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine."

Richard M. Nixon - “Voters quickly forget what a man says.”

Richard M. Nixon - “I have nothing to hide. The White House has nothing to hide.”

Richard M. Nixon - “In all my years of public life I have never obstructed justice...Your President is no crook!”

Nobel prizewinner Robert Milliken, 1923: "There is no likelihood that man can ever tap the power of the atom."

President Franklin Roosevelt, 1940: "Mothers and fathers.... I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again; your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars."

Daily Express, 1938: "The Daily Express Declares That Britain Will Not Be Involved In A European War This Year Or Next Year Either."

Newsweek Magazine, 1959, (looking forward to holidays in the seventies): "And for the tourist who really wants to get away from it all - safaris in Vietnam."

Harper's Weekly, 1902: "The actual building of roads devoted to motor cars is not for the near future, in spite of many rumours to that effect."

William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist and President of the Royal Society, 1893: "Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax."

Mary Somerville, 1948: "Television won't last. It's a flash in the pan."

Attributed to Bill Gates, 1981: "640K ought to be enough for anybody."

Bill Gates, on July 11, 1995: "This antitrust thing will blow over."

Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, in 1943: “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949: “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.”

Western Union internal memo, 1876.: "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."

David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s: "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"

The head of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to found Xerox: "I don't know what use any one could find for a machine that would make copies of documents. It certainly couldn't be a feasible business by itself."

Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.
- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.

The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible.
- A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927: "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"

Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in 'Gone With the Wind': "I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper."

Charles Darwin, The Origin Of Species, 1869: "I see no good reasons why the views given in this volume should shock the religious sensibilities of anyone."

Business Week, August 2, 1968: "With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market."

Lt. Joseph Ives, after visiting the Grand Canyon in 1861: "Ours has been the first, and doubtless to be the last, to visit this profitless locality."

Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project: "The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives."

Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.: "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."

Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people: "There will never be a bigger plane built."

Ask her to wait a moment - I am almost done.
- Carl Friedrich Gauss, when informed that his wife was dying.

Don't let it end like this. Tell them I said something.
- Pancho Villa, his last words.

I do not have to forgive my enemies, I have had them all shot.
- Ramon Maria Nanvaez - Spanish general and political leader - said on deathbed when a priest asked if he forgave his enemies.

Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.
- Oscar Wilde - on deathbed in a drab French room.

Well, gentlemen, you are about to see a baked Appel.
- George Appel, Executed in electric chair in New York, 1928

How about this for a headline for tomorrow's paper? “French Fries.”
- James French, Executed in electric chair in Oklahoma.

Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.
- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.


The telephone will be used to inform people that a telegram has been sent.
- Alexander Graham Bell.



I eat guys like you for breakfast!

- Jeffrey Dahmer.

What the fuck was that?

- Yagi Yoshimoto, Mayor of Hiroshima, 1945.

What iceberg? And where is all this fucking water coming from?

- Captain Smith of the Titanic.

There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the Seventh Cavalry.

- General George Armstrong Custer.

Where did all these fucking Indians come from?

- General George Armstrong Custer.

Let me think....I wonder if an anvil will drop like an apple.

- Isaac Newton.

That's not a real gun.

- John Lennon.

Heads are going to roll.

- Anne Boleyn.

Let the woman drive.

- Commander of Space Shuttle Challenger.


I thought I could smell petrol.

- Nikki Lauda.


I drank WHAT!?

- Socrates.


Where the fuck are we?

- Amelia Earhart.

You want what on the ceiling?

- Michaelangelo.

I don't suppose it’s gonna rain?

- Joan of Arc.

Scattered fucking showers my ass.

- Noah.


Who greased the viiiiiiiiiiiinnnneee....

- Tarzan.

I need to visit Dallas like I need a hole in my head.

- John F. Kennedy.

Geez, I didn’t think they’d get this fucking mad.

- Saddam Hussein.

I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.
- Humphrey Bogart.

Aren't those the daggers I gave you for Christmas, Brutus?
- Julius Caesar.

What's that big red button for?
- Christa McAuliffe on board Challenger.

These paparazzi are driving me up the wall.
- Princess Diana.


Houston to Space Shuttle Columbia: “Say again, Columbia, you’re breaking up.”


Now that I'm running my life support equipment through Windows 98, I'll never have to worry aga…  eeeeeeeeeeee...


He's probably just hibernating.

I'll get a world record for this.

I'm making a citizen's arrest.

I wonder where the mother bear is.

What time does your husband come home?

I think it's dead.

Bikers suck.

I built it myself.

No, dude, this stuff is completely natural and safe, man. That's why it's called 'herbal.'

What do you mean, "I'll be back"?

What's that priest doing here?

You look just like Charles Manson.

I hope they speak English.

This planet has an atmosphere just like on earth.

Actually, there's a knack to opening the Concorde's windows.

Are you pregnant or just plain fat?

Come outside and say that, Tyson.

Cut the red one!

Don’t worry it has airbags.

Don’t worry its not that deep.

I think it's trying to communicate...

"It's a dud! It's a dud! It's a du...".

Pull the pin and count to what?

Don't worry, I'm sure it's dead by now.

Stupid safety labels...

Watch, I'll prove it!

Nah, they're blanks.

Dad, why the apple on my head?

Diamonds... Gold... Sapphires!!! Terry! Terry, we're rich, we're rich, we're fabulously wealthy!!!! ...Terry.....Terry??

Did you hear thunder? Oh well hurry up and putt.

Excuse me, I'm a tourist and I'm lost.

Fancy a quick snifter before we leave Saudi?

Give this juggernaut driver the 'V' sign while we're overtaking him, would you, darling?

Good Lord ! It's not often a black cat causes you to break a mirror by crossing your path while you're walking under a ladder on Friday 13th, is it?

Here, kitty, kitty, kitty...

Hmmm... tastes of almonds, yummy...

I bet most of the gasoline has evaporated by now.

I'll put my head in, and see what's inside...

I folded my parachute myself.

I have a very bad feeling about this.

I know how to handle a flame thrower...

I wonder what the black-and-yellow striped ring above the seat does?

If you were as smart as you think you are, you wouldn't be a cop.

It's OK, the gay guy with the boils just lent me his hypodermic needle.

It's so tame I can put my head in its mouth.

It says: "Achtung ! Minefeld". That's German for "Welcome to Munich" isn't it?

Just throw me that meat cleaver, would you ?

Let's ask those strange soldiers for directions.

Let's split up, we'll cover more ground.

No retreat, no surrender!

No, darling ! I'm sure they drive on the left over here in France.

Of COURSE it's bulletproof. Shoot me and you'll see.

Oh, hi Laur... err Sandra!

Oh, I wouldn't worry about that noise. It's probably nothing.

Oh, we don't need to follow the instruction manual. It all looks quite obvious.

Pass me a hanky; I'm going to wipe the foam off that dog's mouth.

Pick up those empty lager cans, you lout!

So, this is Iraq...

That's not smoke, that's steam.

That's strange; you don't usually see many American planes over this part of Hiroshima, do you?

The ice is safe.

The trick with a charging rhino is to stand perfectly still.

These cockpit lights flash all the time. Don't worry about it.

Trust me, it's the blue wi.....

Two front berths on the Titanic, please.

Well, here we are on the world's largest hydrogen airship……this calls for a cigar.

You will take a check, won't you cabbie?

You won't get me alive!

Put your seatbelt on, I wanna try something.

Don't unplug it, it will just take a moment to fix.

For my next trick I will escape from this flaming coffin while wearing a straight jacket and singing ‘Eye Of The Tiger.’

Gee, that's a cute tattoo.

There ain't no gas line here.

Give me liberty or give me death.

Hey that's not a violin.

Honey, get me a fork, the goddamned toaster's jammed!

How's he gonna read that magazine rolled up like that? - insect.

I'll hold it and you light the fuse.

It shouldn't take long to reach Anchorage.

It's probably just a rash.

Let me reach in and get your watch out of the printing press.

Smells like gas...

There's a lovely view if you can lean over this balc...

These are the safe kind of mushrooms.

What duck?

Don't worry, it's not loaded.


3... 2... 1... Liftoff!


Don Corleone doesn't suspect a thing.


I wonder where the mother lion is.


It's not the voltage, it's the amps that get you.


Just take whatever you want, this is a ghost town.


My faith will protect me.


Of course Muslims have a sense of humour.


She won't mind if I take the last piece of chocolate.


The piranhas must be full by now.


This will go down in history.


Why yes honey, I do think you look fat in that dress.