Who did say that?


John Wayne – who else?


He is supposed to said it in the 1939 John Ford western "Stagecoach".

Somebody says he actually said:

"Well, there's some things a man just can't run away from."

And in the movie  "Hondo" John Wayne said:

"A man ought'a do what he thinks is best."


In John Steinbeck's book, "Grapes of Wrath", someone says:

"I hate catching spiders. Still, a man's got to do what a man's got to do."


I still go for that it was John Wayne who said it

I think it feels most right anyway! cool


That's pretty interesting...
07/30/2014 - 03:56

Indeed, a dusty cowboy sounds like a better origin for manly advice than a dusty Okie running from the dust bowl.


I will offer a variant on the game of "Who did say that?"  My etymological explanation will focus on "Where did that saying come from?"

Here is a phrase many have heard, but many have likely misinterpreted its origins.

What does one mean when they say to go "balls to the wall."  Well, we probably all know that it means to give maximum effort.  But why does it mean that, and should this even be discussed in a family-friendly forum with Vacheronistas of delicate sensibilities.  INDEED!


There are two popular theories, but one is certain.  Military aircraft have commonly had throttles control levers that are topped with spheres, like an old-fashioned gear shifter on a manual transmission.  When the throttle was pushed full forward, or against the panel, it was for maximum acceleration, and is first documented in use in 1969, although anecdotally, Korean war vets have claimed to have used it in the 1950s.

The other theory (although not documented anywhere) is that early locomotives used a ball in a parabolic ramp to measure acceleration.  If the ball was at rest in the center of the parabola, the train was not accelerating.  If it was up the back of the parabola, the train was accelerating forward, and vice versa.  So, some believe that the expression likely originated there, when the train was at maximum acceleration, the ball would be all the way back, or against the wall.

Either way, the phrase "balls to the wall" has much more in common with "pedal to the metal" than with any anatomical connotation.  So your delicate sensibilities and the family-friendliness of this forum are safe.

Thanks for the thread, Doc.  I love these things.

Fun stuff, thanks! :-). (NT)
07/30/2014 - 10:54
Re: That's pretty interesting...
07/31/2014 - 23:56

Interesting thoughts!

Often we uses expressions, or perhaps even seldom,

without giving them a thought!

Also it's interesting how different people 'interpret' wellknown quotations or expreesions ! cool


Live well



I'd like to think "The Duke" said it first
07/30/2014 - 10:50

but if he didn't say the phrase exactly as we know it...then it may be difficult to attribute it to him.  Stagecoach was based on a 1937 short story  "The Stage to Lordsburg", though I didn't check to see if that exact phrase showed up there.


"Grapes of Wrath" officially came out in April 1937, 2 months after Stagecoach hit the screen.

I don't know if anybody wrote or used the exact phrase before it appeared in the Steinbeck's book?


interesting stuff Doc!


Re: I'd like to think "The Duke" said it first
08/01/2014 - 00:19

Brother Dan,

Let's decide it was John Wayne who said it - who else could have? cool