Saturday, September 22, 2012

"You piss on my date and you say you're sorry?"

[A story Jacobson obviously loves to tell evolves into a memorate. -- bc]

Rolling Stone, 6 August 1981, p. 18

Times Square
A Report from the Sleaziest Block in America

By Mark Jacobson

[In a conversation with the head of New York City's Office of Midtown Enforcement, the writer admits to being an aficionado of the local grind theaters.] "Great places if you stay out of the balcony. Angel Dust City. Very important to the development of my sensibility, very important to the formation of my personal vision of Times Square. Everyone knocks them, but they're great. Haven't you heard the great Forty-second Street movie line, the one everyone claims to have been there when it was said? A voice comes out of the balcony saying, 'Sorry? You piss on my date and you say you're sorry?'" [...]

New York Magazine, 3 January 2000

Happy Ending
Even in the new Times Square, signs of the possibly imminent apocalypse are everywhere. But thanks to Rudy and Hollywood, we may not recognize it when it comes.

By Mark Jacobson

[...] Down 42nd street, the new Arnold movie, the cannily timed and titled End of Days, is at the brand-new Loews thirteen-screen "E Walk" theater. Once upon a not too distant past, this street, and the movie theaters formerly situated here, sticky-floored, semen-smeared dumps like the Harris, Selwyn, and Liberty, invoked their own kind of post-apocalyptic landscape. One could watch Bruce Lee coil his coil of doom and hear a scream from the balcony: "You're sorry? You piss on my date and you say you're sorry?!" [...]

New York Magazine, 7 April 2003

Times Up
Times Square’s sin and vice and squalor helped define the New York experience. They still do. In our minds.

By Mark Jacobson

[...] Not every package-deal tourist sees the charm in having his feet stick to the floor at the old Selwyn (or Harris, or Lyric) during the eye-gouge scene from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly as some balcony denizen shouts, “You’re sorry? You piss on my date and you say you’re sorry?” [...]

New York Magazine, 15 February 2009

No Kiss Kiss, All Bang Bang
Spielberg-loving, Spike Lee-attacking critic Armond White is the film world’s brother from another planet.

By Mark Jacobson

[...] [N]ot so very long time ago, the film freak could put his feet on a sticky floor at the old Brandt Times Square theater and see a triple bill of Sergio Leone’s immortal trilogy, Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for $1.50. The in-theater entertainment was also memorable, such as on the immortal evening when, right in the middle of Enter the Dragon, yours truly heard some skell in the balcony scream, “You’re sorry? You piss on my date and you say you’re sorry?” [...]

[Here are a few other occurrences of this anecdote I've found. The first is from a novel. -- bc]

Geoffrey Wolf, The Final Club (Knopf, 1990), p. 91.

[...] And another, unlucky in drink at the Columbia game, roused from blackout at Palmer Stadium by a Cap and Gown senior screaming: "You're sorry? Sorry! You piss on my date's raccoon coat and silk hose and advise me you're sorry? Oh, you'll know sorry, sir. We'll show you sorry. You'll eat the next two years out of tin cans. Remember me." [...]

Ariel Leve as featured in The Sunday Times magazine

[Leve's interview of actor Dustin Hoffman originally appeared in the 3 December 2006 issue of London's Sunday Times Magazine under the title "Confessions of a Driven Man." -- bc]

Dustin Hoffman

[...] He recalls: "To this day, Bob Duvall says it was one of the best times of when we were all living together. Because I'd come home and they'd say, 'What did so-and-so do today?' " Hoffman would act out the characters he'd met there. He tells me how Hackman would see six films a day on his day off. "He'd spend his entire day in the cinema. It was a place where the homeless went, because for 35 cents they could sleep there all day. He was in there at 10am and he heard one homeless guy in the balcony saying, 'You're sorry? You're sorry? What do you mean, you're sorry? You piss all over my date and you say you're sorry?' [...]"

Language Log

"Sorry" Spectacles

Posted by Geoff Nunberg at April 16, 2007 06:35 PM

Listening to the latest in high-profile public apologies -- from Alberto Gonzales, Paul Wolfowitz, and Don Imus -- took me back to an incident that happened in my undergraduate days at Columbia about a million years ago. A bunch of my friends and I used to spend long afternoons and evenings at the movie theaters along West 42d Street, where for less than a buck you could see a double or triple feature of gangster movies, war movies or westerns. That was well before the area was sanitized and Disneyfied, and the theaters were -- well, "seedy" hardly begins to say it. The seats and carpeting were shabby and permanently saturated with a mixture of fluids, processed and unprocessed. The balconies were sharply raked, the rows so close together as to make even the economy section of a United Airlines flight seem positively spacious. And the clientele was a mix of movie buffs, lonely guys, and down-and-outers who considered 99 cents a stone bargain for a warm place to sleep off a bender. So it was that a friend and I found ourselves in the balcony of a largely empty theater one rainy weekday evening watching an Anthony Mann western when we heard a middle-class male voice behind us saying in a loud, indignant tone: "Sorry? You piss on my date and you're SORRY?"

I didn't actually see the malefactor, and it occurs to me only now (a little sadly) that the remark might have been simply a prank. [...]