Jon Stewart makes a common mistake

In the course of interviewing author Michael Wolff on The Daily Show tonight, Jon Stewart wrongly attributed the quote “Because it was there” to Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man (along with Tenzing Norgay) known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. In fact, it was George Mallory who, according to reporters present at a 1922 lecture, uttered “the most famous four worlds in mountaineering.”
Stewart’s gaffe may be the most commonly uttered one in all of quotable humanity; I would guess that more people than not who are aware of both the quote and the identity of the first person to summit Everest believe that the two go together.
Mallory and Andrew Irvine died on June 8, 1924 at approximately 27,000 feet above sea level–some 2,000 vertical feet short of the summit. Hillary and Norgay made their historic climb on May 28, 1953.
The story of the final days and hours of Mallory and Irvine, whose bodies were found during an expedition 75 years after their ill-fated hike, is detailed in the October issue of Outside Magazine, and is as enchanting as it is haunting.

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  1. #1 by Lofcaudio on January 7, 2009 - 11:28 am

    Along the same lines, I am wondering if anyone knows where the line “Play it again Sam” came from?

  2. #2 by Kevin Beck on January 7, 2009 - 12:05 pm

    I am a film ignoramus, so without looking it up I’ll say what I heard somewhere–it came from the movie Casablanca.

  3. #3 by DaleP on January 7, 2009 - 12:34 pm

    Actually “Play it again, Sam” may be candidate for most uttered misquotation.
    From Wikipedia (more at article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casablanca_(film)#Quotations , see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Play_It_Again,_Sam )
    “One of the lines most closely associated with the film—”Play it again, Sam”—is a misquotation. When Ilsa first enters the Café Americain, she spots Sam and asks him to “Play it once, Sam, for old times’ sake.” When he feigns ignorance, she responds, “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.’ ” Later that night, alone with Sam, Rick says, “You played it for her and you can play it for me.” and “If she can stand it, I can! Play it!””
    Wikipedia claims the phrase was used in the Marx Brothers parody, “A Night in Casablanca”, but I can’t verify that right now.

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