Not “Who’s on first?”, but “Who said it first?”
George Raft , in a TV interview (on You Tube), claimed that he was the first actor to say the classic line, “This town isn’t big enough for both of us.” (in the 1931 film,QUICK MILLIONS.)
But was George correct? It’s a line that has been used several times in movies.
In THE VIRGINIAN (1929), Walter Huston plays ‘Trampas’ and says to the Virginian (Gary Cooper), “This world isn’t big enough for the both of us.”
This is a very different Trampas from the one played by Doug McClure in the 60s TV series. In the 1929 film, he is an outlaw who goes up against the Virginian.
In THE WESTERN CODE(1932), Wheeler Oakman says practically the same words to Tim McCoy.
George Raft plays Spencer Tracy’s bodyguard in “Quick Millions”. I haven’t seen this film so don’t know the context of Raft using the sentence. I did see a You Tube clip from the film in which Raft does a nifty dance to ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’, with Tracy looking on.
”Quick Millions” was the second screen appearance of both Tracy and Raft.
In BANDITS OF THE BADLANDS (1945), there’s a slight variation when Fred Graham says to Sunset Carson, “This Town ain’t big enough to hold the both of us.”
But my favourite is from BUGS BUNNY RIDES AGAIN (1948). Always ready for a fight, Yosemite Sam squares up to Bugs and says, “Listen,stranger, this town aint big enough for the two of us.”
Bugs immediately leaves the saloon and we hear construction noises. He tells Sam to look outside, where, miraculously, skyscrapers appear! Bugs then remarks, “Now is it big enough?”
There’s a good story in the George Raft biography by Lewis Yablonsky. If only the following had been filmed.
Edward G. Robinson tells this story:
“At a function George and I stood eye to eye, glaring viciously at each other. Then I pointed my finger in his face and said ,’See here, you. No one fools with Little Caesar. See! See! ‘
George responded by taking out his famous coin and flipping it a few times. Then he said, ‘This town isn’t big enough for the two of us. One of us has to leave and it ain’t gonna be me.’
We paused then danced off the stage in each other’s arms! The audience loved it.”
Anyone know any other films the line was used in?
Apparently it was coined by John W. Considine, a vaudeville impresario amongst other hhings.
Coincidentally he was also involved with the early days of movie theatres.
He also feuded with Wyatt Earp, so perhaps he got it from him, or even said it to him.
Thanks, Bob. Considine was also the grandfather of child actor Tim Considine.
Fun read and of course I loved the Raft Robinson bit.
It’s a great story!