My Favorite Line

December 17, 2013
Posted by Jay Livingston

Peter O’Toole died on Saturday.  His line that I most remember is from “My Favorite Year.” (For a plot summary, see the trailer here .)

The film is set in the live-TV era of the 1950s. Peter O’Toole is Alan Swann, an Errol-Flynn-style actor (“I’m not an actor, I’m a movie star”). When he’s not buckling swashes on screen, he is seducing women.  Swann is charming when he’s sober, which is not often.  He has come to New York for a week to appear on a live comedy show (all TV was live), and the film tracks that week.



In this scene, the TV writers are reading in the newspaper about Swann’s exploits of the previous night, which ended up with Swann more or less unclad in Central Park’s Bethesda Fountain.  The writers are looking at the newspaper or at each other and do not notice that Swann has just entered. 

The line is funnier heard than read – the writer’s New York Jewish accent contrasted with Swann’s elegant British speech.

Sy [unaware the Swann has just walked in] : Leo, it gets me sick to think we gotta put up with some washed-up jaboni who’s gonna be running around Central Park with his schlong hangin’ out!

Swann: My dear fellow, it’s my schlong and what I choose to do with it is my business.

Sy: So how’s business?

Swann: Never better.

2 comments:

Bob S. said...

I prefer, slightly the line

Lil: This is for ladies only!

Alan Swann: [unzipping fly] So is *this*, ma'am, but every now and then I have to run a little water through it.

Rarely does it make sense to say the world is poorer for a single person's loss*; but I really think it may be true in this case.


* more than any other person - but some people just lived a little larger then most of us -- O'Toole was one.

Jay Livingston said...

The great thing about a film is that when you come back to it not having seen it for 20 or 30 years, he's still the same age. But yes, it's nice to know that there are people, celebrities, like O'Toole.