5 Catchphrases That Came From The Last Place You'd Expect
For whatever reason, certain cinematic turns of phrase just burrow their way into our collective consciousness, whether it's the Terminator announcing he'll be back, the Godfather bragging about his killer offers, or one of Adam Sandler's many screeching noises. Where do they come from? Sometimes the answer's way stranger than you'd think. For instance ...
Star Wars' "May The Force Be With You" Was Intended To Evoke The Bible
It's rare that a movie quote becomes so famous that it literally spawns a holiday, in this case on a date that sounds like a drunken slurred version of the phrase. Of course we're talking about the most famous line in the Star Wars series: "May the Force be with you." It was first uttered in A New Hope, not by Obi-Wan, Leia, Luke, or even Aunt Beru, but by an avuncular Rebel leader who likely went back to working as a mall Santa after the movie was over.
In context, it basically meant "Hopefully, magic will help you with your suicide mission." But where did it come from? Originally the line was "May the Force of others be with you," implying that the Force was some kind of communal pool of psychic mojo, like how body odor on a city bus combines into one dominant entity. The phrasing seems to reference our Earth religion of Catholicism, specifically the blessing Dominus vobiscum, which means "The Lord be with you." According to the film's producer, Gary Kurtz, that "comparison was exactly the intention."
These religious undertones didn't go unnoticed by the Christian community at the time, either. One of the first books ever written about Star Wars was a Christian-themed analysis, The Force Of Star Wars by Frank Allnutt. The book suggested that the message of the movie was about finding the Force (God) rather than spending your life "wallowing in the mud of pornography, dope, materialism and vain philosophies." Which brings up a new question: What the hell did Allnutt think was going on over at Tosche Station?
Allnutt also proposed that Obi-Wan's death was a speedier crucifixion, and later in life floated the theory that the word "Jedi" is secretly a contraction of "JEsus' DIsciple." Disappointingly, the book never even attempts to explain why Christianity hasn't been able to tap into the whole telekinesis thing.
Michael Keaton's "I'm Batman" Almost Had An F-Word At The End
It may be hard to believe in today's era, when Batman movies find him brawling with Superman and branding criminals, but there was a time when Michael Keaton's Batman was considered pretty damn edgy. Admittedly, the bar for Bat-edginess was fairly low. To appear tougher than Adam West, all Keaton had to do was avoid puns and drink something stronger than 2 percent milk once in a while.
Still, Keaton's Batman was rather badass. He wore black rubber armor, had a ton of cool gadgets, and most importantly, there wasn't a nipple in sight.
But the filmmakers almost took the character one step further into late '80s grittiness. One of the most memorable scenes from Keaton's Batman is the titular hero's first appearance, in which he grabs a thug, hauls him off the ground, and says: "I'm Batman." Also, he's fairly new to crime-fighting at this point, so we should probably be impressed that he didn't screw up and growl "I'm Bruce Wayne."
According to producer Jon Peters, Batman's iconic line was almost 100 percent more cuss-filled. Apparently, the original idea for the Dark Knight's intro found him saying "I'm Batman, motherfucker," as if the part had been written for Samuel L. Jackson. And keep in mind that this was before the trend of adding unnecessary profanities to Batman-related comics ( "I'm the goddamn Batman") and live action shows ( "Fuck Batman").
Peters adds that Warner Bros. made him take out the part where Batman drops F-bombs like crime-fighting is a comedic open mic night, despite the fact that he really thought "kids" would cheer at the line. Which means that the first draft is likely also littered with fart noises and complaints about homework.
Homer Simpson's "D'oh" Was An Old-Timey Actor's Way Of Getting Around Censors
Since its premiere roughly 130 years ago, The Simpsons has generated some of the greatest catchphrases in pop culture history. From "Ay caramba" to "Don't have a cow, man" to "Eat my shorts," that show singlehandedly held up the '90s bootleg T-shirt industry.
But perhaps no Simpsons quote has been more influential than Homer Simpson's "D'oh" -- a line so iconic, who among us hasn't instinctively shouted it out after, say, accidentally dropping a bowling ball on our crotch? No one, that's who. Surprisingly, the words "D'oh" have never appeared in an actual Simpsons script, which always read "annoyed grunt."
So how did they come up with "D'oh"? Voice actor Dan Castellaneta used the same tactic that's kept Quentin Tarantino from becoming the world's most irritating Taco Bell employee: an obscure movie reference. According to Castellaneta, "D'oh" stems from comic actor Jim Finlayson, who played the foil to Laurel and Hardy in the '20s and '30s. Finlayson's trademark was a more prolonged "D-ohhhh" -- the reason being that the censors wouldn't allow him to say the word "damn."
Originally Castellaneta replicated Finlayson's line, but because animation is expensive as hell, producer Matt Groening asked him to shorten it. So if you ever run into Mr. Castellaneta in traffic and he tells you "F'oh you, b'oh," you'll know what he really means.
Related: The Evolution of Homer J. Simpson
No One Knows Whether The Lone Ranger Says "Hi Ho, Silver" Or "Hi Yo, Silver"
Before it was the $200 million Disney flick that three of you saw, The Lone Ranger was a hit radio series. It told the story of a masked Western hero, his Native American pal Tonto, and a horse named Silver. The character later appeared in films, TV shows, comic books, and of course, 1970s aftershave commercials.
Here's the odd thing: No one seems to know what exactly the Lone Ranger's famous catchphrase was. Some claim it's "Hi Ho Silver," others "Hi Yo Silver." In a much-publicized lawsuit in 1939, Western actor Buck Jones sued the studio behind the Lone Ranger movies, claiming that he came up with the catchphrase, because apparently in old Westerns, horses named Silver were like kids named "Zack" in the '90s. But even in the reporting of the court case specifically about the quote, there was no consensus on whether it was "Ho" or "Yo."
Even advertisements for a Lone Ranger show put out by the same radio station in the same newspaper couldn't decide on a spelling.
The actor most famous for playing the Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, once clarified in an interview that "It's 'Hi Yo, Silver' and not 'Hi Ho, Silver.'" But then another report found Moore specifically shouting "Hi Ho" as he picked up his stolen guns from a Malibu police station, which is a thing that apparently happened in real life. Maybe he didn't want to get sued by the studio? Kind of like how Jeff Goldblum has to say "Life, uh, is pretty slick" during personal appearances, or Spielberg will rip him a new one.
Related: Wait ... 'Power Rangers' Got Good?
De Niro's "You Talkin' To Me" From Taxi Driver Was Cribbed From Bruce Springsteen
The darkest taxi-themed movie to feature neither Jimmy Fallon nor Queen Latifah, Martin Scorsese's 1976 Taxi Driver is an all-time classic. The film tells the story of Travis Bickle, an awkward loner who funnels his frustrations with women into a shootout at a brothel (today he'd simply fire off a pissy Star Wars tweet).
The movie is best remembered for the "Are you talkin' to me?" moment, in which Robert De Niro practices his quick draw while getting in a heated argument with his mirror.
Amazingly, this famous scene wasn't in the original script. Paul Schrader's screenplay merely called for Travis to pull out his gun and talk to himself. When pressed on exactly what he should be saying to himself, Schrader replied: "He's just a kid in front of a mirror playing with his gun. Just make up stuff." So that's what they did.
During the last week of filming in a building that was about to be torn down, De Niro improvised the now-famed dialogue, but it turns out he had a little help ... no, not from cocaine. According to the late E-Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons, De Niro cribbed the line from his boss, The Boss. While Clemons was coaching him on proper saxophone etiquette for the 1977 musical New York, New York De Niro admitted that he got the line from Springsteen. It turns out that when fans yelled out "Bruce," Springsteen would respond by quipping "You talkin' to me?" -- notably, without the handguns and angst.
So it's fortunate that when given the instruction to "play with his gun" in front of a mirror, De Niro thought, "Ah, yes, the perfect opportunity for a Springsteen reference" instead of doing something that would have guaranteed the movie was only shown in porno theaters.
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