Quotes / It Will Never Catch On

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.


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    Fiction 

They all laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round
They all laughed when Edison recorded sound
They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother when they said that man could fly
They told Marconi wireless was a phony, it's the same old cry
Shall We Dance (1937), "They All Laughed"

R.F. Simpson: (apropos new sound technology for films) What do you think of it, Dexter?
Rosco: It'll never amount to a thing.
Olga: Its vulgar.
Cosmo: That's what they said about the horseless carriage.

Brain-2-Me-2: Are you pondering what I'm pondering, 3-Pinky-O?
3-Pinky-O: I think so, Brain-2, but a show about two talking lab mice? Heh, it'll never get on the air.
Pinky and the Brain, "Star Warners"

Hey, Chon, you're lucky I didn't invest in that ridiculous 'auto-mobile' idea.
Roy O'Bannon, Shanghai Knights

The Boss: Apparently, there are those in the U.S. military who consider camouflage too 'passive' a technique.
Snake: Morons.

Sigint: Yeah, man. A walking tank? That's stupid.
Snake: I know, right? And what kind of name is 'Metal Gear' anyway? It will never catch on.
Sigint: Seriously, man. No one's gonna go with that.
*BA-DUM TSH!*

Ryan: (as gangster, dialing phone) Someday they're gonna invent a phone where you just push buttons.
Colin: You're crazy!

So much for this automobile of yours. If this is the future, God help us all. ... I can walk faster than this piece of shit! Give me a horse anyday!
John Marston, Red Dead Redemption

    Real Life 

Aeronautics

Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.
Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895

Very interesting, Whittle my boy, but it will never work.
Frank Whittle's Aeronautical Engineering teacher, on his turbojet

Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.
Simon Newcomb, 1902

If man were meant to fly, God would have given him wings.
Milton Wright, father of the Wright brothers

Architecture

We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection… of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower… To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years… we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal.
Charles Alphand

Biology

The year which has passed has not, indeed, been marked by any of those striking discoveries which at once revolutionize, so to speak, the department of science on which they bear.
Thomas Bell, the year after the publishing of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

Comics

Come on, Stan, people hate spiders. They're creepy. And everybody knows that teenagers are sidekicks, not superheroes. This Spider-Man idea just won't sell.
Martin Goodman, founder of Marvel Comics, 1962

Computers

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
Thomas J Watson, CEO of IBM (attributed), 1943

Get your feet off my desk. Get out of here. You stink. And we're not going to buy your product.
Joe Keenan, President of Atari, responding to Steve Jobs' offer to sell him the rights to Apple

The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore.
Steve Jobs discussing the Kindle

No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame.
Rob Malda on the iPod, 2001

I'm sorry... but really? This is really what you think the iPad will cause? What we have now with this tablet craze is a trend, like Pogs. (...) I don't know how anyone can possibly think that the iPad will be some sort of paradigm shift.
moocat commenting on this Gizmodo article about the iPad being the future.

I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386 (486) AT clones.[...] It is NOT portable (uses 386 task switching etc.), and it probably never will support anything other than AT-harddisks.
Linus Torvalds

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.
Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney.
Clifford Stoll, 1995

[In 1951,] I went to see Professor Douglas Hartree, who had built the first differential analyzers in England and had more experience in using these very specialized computers than anyone else. He told me that, in his opinion, all the calculations that would ever be needed in this country could be done on the three digital computers which were then being built — one in Cambridge, one in Teddington, and one in Manchester. No one else, he said, would ever need machines of their own, or would be able to afford to buy them.
Lord Bowden, 1970

The Internet? We are not interested in it.
Bill Gates, 1993

Fashion

Not one man I have spoken to likes a woman in mini skirts.
Coco Chanel, 1969

Film

The cinema is an invention without any future.
The Lumière Brothers

Movies are a fad. Audiences really want to see live actors on a stage.

Can't act. Balding. Dances a little.
—Apocryphal note from Fred Astaire screen test

My favorite review described me as the cinematic equivalent of junk mail. I don't know what that means, but it sounds like a dig.

I thought for sure it was direct-to-video... it just seemed like such a simple story. Guy looking for his daughter. [mimes leafing through a script] Ho hum. Hmm. Ooh, he finds her!
Liam Neeson on Taken, 60 Minutes

Interesting fact from IMDb is that Bruce Jenner turned down the role of Superman. On behalf of everyone everywhere I say thank you Bruce because you suck. You may not suck as bad as the rest of the cast, but that is like saying you are the least annoying character in a Rob Schneider movie. Guess what, you still suck.

Connery just quit movies after this one, which he only agreed to do because he was bitter over turning down a part called "Gandalf" in a movie about midgets or some shit...a decision that cost him $450 million dollars — the guy could have his own tropical island nation today if he had just asked someone else, 'Hey, is this Tolkien guy any good?' But then the money gods who had favored him for so many decades pitied him and gave him another chance: They also offered him a role in The Matrix, though he hasn't confirmed which one. Once again Connery couldn't make heads or tails of it and turned it down, and once again the movie went on to make big bucks.

He's ruining the movie!
Michael Eisner, about Johnny Depp's performance, when watching a preview of Pirates of the Caribbean

No Civil War movie ever made a nickel!
Louis B. Mayer on Gone with the Wind

I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face, and not Gary Cooper.
Gary Cooper on turning down the part of Rhett Butler

And last, but not least, my agent, who about ten years ago advised me that I had no business being an actor. Thank you.
Jack Nicholson in his first Oscar acceptance speech

Literature

The style of his tale is in places disfigured by mad (rather than bad) English; and its catastrophe is hastily, weakly, and obscurely managed…We have little more to say in reprobation or in recommendation of this absurd book…Mr. Melville has to thank himself only if his horrors and his heroics are flung aside by the general reader, as so much trash belonging to the worst school of Bedlam literature — since he seems not so much unable to learn as disdainful of learning the craft of an artist.
Henry F. Chorley, reviewing Moby-Dick

Locations

"Kid," he said, "someday there'll be 50 hotels here and it'll be the entertainment capital of America." I thought to myself, "No wonder they call him Bugsy."
Alan King

Music

You better keep to your trucks, boy, 'cause you're never going to be a musician.
— A man to Elvis Presley

No one had much faith in me because I was so young. They imagined a little brat with a flash-in-the-pan single.

"2013 Grammys" Todd: Does anyone really care about John Legend? I mean, I didn't even know he had a song out this year, uh... Did you?
"2 Months Later" Todd: GOD DAMN MOTHER—! HOW AM I SO BAD AT THIS? Just once I want to say something doesn't matter and have it not matter!
Todd in the Shadows on "All of Me"

Guitar is a good hobby, John, but you'll never make a living of it.
John Lennon's Aunt Mimi

Guitar groups are on the way out. [...] The Beatles have no future in show business.
Dick Rowe, Decca Records executive, rejecting The Beatles

"Weird Al" Yankovic, your fifteen minutes are up.
UHF

He's not going to go far, is he? He's just not star material.
Judy Willis on David Bowie

Male vocal in the 1968 feeling—thin, piercing voice with no emotional appeal...dreary songs...one-key singer...pretentious material.
The BBC's review of Elton John's first single, "Lady Samantha"

You'll sink, like a lead balloon... no, no, even faster; like a lead zeppelin.
Keith Moon to Jimmy Page, about his new band... "The New Yardbirds"

I've heard they have beautiful lights but they don't sound like nothing.

Physics

If Einstein's equation and Aston's curve are even roughly correct, as I'm sure they are, for Dr. Cameron and I have computed with their aid the maximum energy evolved in radioactive change and found it to check well with observation, then this supposition of an energy evolution through the disintegration of the common elements is from the one point of view a childish Utopian dream, and from the other a foolish bugaboo.
Robert Andrews Millikan, on nuclear fission

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 atpms is talking moonshine.
Ernest Rutherford, 1933

Politics

An agent had suggested Ronald Reagan for the lead. We all had a good laugh. He was by no means a bad actor, but he would hardly be convincing, I said with the eerie prescience which has earned me the title the American Nostradamus, as a presidential candidate.
Gore Vidal on The Best Man

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here...

I don't think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.

Hitler is now definitely cut off from power. He is even, if I may say so, cut off from the hope of coming to power.
Léon Blum, 1932

Hitler's disappearance from the political scene is likely.
Oreste Rosenfeld, January 1, 1933

Radio

The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?
—A Western Union internal memo, 1876

Sports

Huh. Another new game.
Frank Mahan, upon hearing of Basketball

Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the '99 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you'd like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can't drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.
Tom Brady's scouting report for the 2000 NFL Draft

He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.
Early scouting report on NFL coach Vince Lombardi

Surface transportation

You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bon-fire under her deck? I have no time for such nonsense.
Napoleon Bonaparte on the steamship

My grandfather's reply was simple and final: "All nothing but nonsense. The railways are a mere fad, and will soon be done away with. Yes, within three years; and then we shall be entirely back to the horses and coaches again."
Ernest Seton-Thompson

Television

People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box all night.
Darryl F. Zanuck, President of 20th Century Fox, declining to invest in the television set

TV will never be a serious competitor for radio because people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn't time for it.
The New York Times, 1939

We were driving through the Kent countryside, and my mum was reading the paper. She said "oooh, they're going to change Doctor Who. It's going to be Tom Baker next." And I remember being absolutely outraged. How dare they change the Doctor! How dare they turn Jon Pertwee into Tom Baker! He'll be rubbish!

They said of casting David Tennant as Casanova, "Damn, you should have cast someone sexier." With Benedict Cumberbatch, we were told the same thing. "You promised us a sexy Sherlock, not him."

I'm told there is a visitor for me, and it's Patrick Stewart, who I'd not seen in years. Patrick told me, "I'm doing a science fiction thing." I asked him what and he told me Star Trek and I told him, "Oh no, not that hackneyed thing!" And he responded, "Well, it will be a nice little pension for me."

Overall reactions to this pilot were not very favorable. Interest in the show was very narrow.

The final shot of the CSM walking amongst the alien artefacts that are tucked away at the Pentagon is a real appetite whetter. Imagine if this really was a standalone TV movie; the untapped potential would have been an extraordinary waste....There is something a little off about the chemistry between Anderson and Duchovny at some points in the first episode – his performance screams of trying to enjoy this for as long as it lasts and hers occasionally tips into 'what am I doing here?' How little they both knew that this was going to change their lives.
Joe Ford on The X-Files, "Pilot"

[TV comedy is] dead. Forever. Bury it.
Lewis Erlicht passing on The Cosby Show, 1984

I can't see that face on a lunchbox.
Brandon Tartikoff before reluctantly allowing Michael J. Fox to be cast on Family Ties

Telephony

This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.
— Another Western Union internal memo, 1876

The telephone is a curious device that might fairly find place in the magic of Arabian Tales. Of what use is such an invention?
—A newspaper reporter, 1876

Well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the human voice over wires as may be done with dots and dashes of Morse code, and that, were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.
—Unidentified Boston newspaper, 1865

Weapons

I consider machine guns an absurdity in a field army of normal composition.
Mikhail Ivanovich Dragomirov

That thing will never make a fighter.
Erns Udet on the Messerschmitt Bf 109

Aero planes are interesting toys but of no military value.
Ferdinand Foch, 1910

Wrestling

Fans, don't even think about changing the channel, because we've learned that at our competition, Mick Foley, who used to wrestle here as Cactus Jack, is going to win their world title! Heh, that'll put butts in the seats.
Tony Schiavone announcing WCW Monday Nitro, January 4th, 1999note 

It was obvious that things weren't going to change for the mid-carders, and any of them able to get out of the promotion was doing just that. On June 30 [1999], Chris Jericho signed with the WWF. In the six months prior to his contract signing, WCW had made very little effort to retain him... Many of the wrestlers in WCW were upset, because Jericho was well liked, and they couldn't believe the company wouldn't offer him a good deal while it was throwing money away on limos, Humvees, fired NBA stars and rappers Instead, Chris Jericho, who had always been told that he was too small, couldn't sell tickets, and wasn't a ratings draw, made his debut later that summer in a confrontation with the Rock and helped Raw obliterate Nitro in the ratings that evening by over four points.
R. D. Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez, The Death of WCW

The next day, one of the guys asked for my impression of Rocky. "Hey, he's a nice guy," I said, "but he just doesn't have it. The office should really cut their losses and get rid of the guy." I had no idea I was talking about the future People's and Corporate Champion.
Mick Foley


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