Rufus T. Firefly
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Quotes for
Rufus T. Firefly (Character)
from Duck Soup (1933)

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Duck Soup (1933)
Rufus T. Firefly: I got a good mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it.

Rufus T. Firefly: Awfully decent of you to drop in today. Do you realize our army is facing disastrous defeat? What do you intend to do about it?
Chicolini: I've done it already.
Rufus T. Firefly: You've done what?
Chicolini: I've changed to the other side.
Rufus T. Firefly: So you're on the other side, eh? Well, what are you doing over here?
Chicolini: Well, the food is better over here.

Rufus T. Firefly: Lieutenant, why weren't the original indictment papers placed in my portfolio?
Bob Roland: Why, uh, I didn't think those papers were important at this time, your excellency.
Rufus T. Firefly: You didn't think they were important? Do you realize I had my dessert wrapped in those papers?

Bob Roland: We've got to get rid of that man at once. Now I've got a plan. You say something to make him mad, and he'll strike you... and we'll force him to leave the country.
Rufus T. Firefly: That's a swell plan... why couldn't you arrange for me to strike him?
Bob Roland: Ambassador Trentino is a very sensitive man. Perhaps if you insult him. He's very easy to insult. Why, I said something to Vera Marcal in his presence once, and he slapped my face.
Rufus T. Firefly: Why didn't Vera slap your face?
Bob Roland: She did.
Rufus T. Firefly: What'd you say to her?
[Roland whispers it in his ear. Firefly slaps his face]
Rufus T. Firefly: You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Where'd you hear that story?
Bob Roland: Why, you told it to me.
Rufus T. Firefly: Oh yes, I remember. I should have slapped Mrs. Teasdale's face when she told it to me.

Rufus T. Firefly: Oh, uh, I suppose you would think me a sentimental old fluff, but, uh, would you mind giving me lock of your hair?
Mrs. Teasdale: A lock of my hair? Wh-why, I had no idea.
Rufus T. Firefly: I'm letting you off easy: I was going to ask for the whole wig.

Rufus T. Firefly: I'll see you at the opera tonight. I'll hold your seat till you get there. After you get there you're on your own.

Rufus T. Firefly: Now, what is it that has four pairs of pants, lives in Philadelphia, and it never rains but it pours?
Chicolini: Atsa good one. I give you three guesses.
Rufus T. Firefly: Now let me see. Has four pair of pants, lives in Philadelphia... Is it male or female?
Chicolini: No, I no think so.
Rufus T. Firefly: Is he dead?
Chicolini: Who?
Rufus T. Firefly: I don't know. I give up.
Chicolini: I give up, too.

Rufus T. Firefly: How would you like a job in the mint?
Chicolini: Mint? No, no, I no like a mint. Uh, what other flavor you got?

Rufus T. Firefly: You're a brave man. Go and break through the lines. And remember, while you're out there risking your life and limb through shot and shell, we'll be in be in here thinking what a sucker you are.

Rufus T. Firefly: Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot. I implore you, send him back to his father and brothers, who are waiting for him with open arms in the penitentiary. I suggest that we give him ten years in Leavenworth, or eleven years in Twelveworth.
Chicolini: I'll tell you what I'll do: I'll take five and ten in Woolworth.

Rufus T. Firefly: Married. I can see you right now in the kitchen, bending over a hot stove. But I can't see the stove.

Ambassador Trentino: I am willing to do anything to prevent this war.
Rufus T. Firefly: It's too late. I've already paid a month's rent on the battlefield.

Rufus T. Firefly: Not that I care, but where is your husband?
Mrs. Teasdale: Why, he's dead.
Rufus T. Firefly: I bet he's just using that as an excuse.
Mrs. Teasdale: I was with him to the very end.
Rufus T. Firefly: No wonder he passed away.
Mrs. Teasdale: I held him in my arms and kissed him.
Rufus T. Firefly: Oh, I see, then it was murder. Will you marry me? Did he leave you any money? Answer the second question first.
Mrs. Teasdale: He left me his entire fortune.
Rufus T. Firefly: Is that so? Can't you see what I'm trying to tell you? I love you.

Rufus T. Firefly: Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did.

[answering the phone in Firefly's office]
Chicolini: Hello? No, not yet. All right, I tell him. Good-a-bye.
[He hangs up]
Chicolini: That was for you again.
Rufus T. Firefly: I wonder whatever became of me? I should have been back here a long time ago.

Rufus T. Firefly: Maybe you can suggest something. As a matter of fact, you do suggest something. To me you suggest a baboon.
Ambassador Trentino: What?
Rufus T. Firefly: I, uh, I'm sorry I said that; it isn't fair to the rest of the baboons.

Bob Roland: Message from the front, sir.
Rufus T. Firefly: Oh, I'm sick of messages from the front. Don't we ever get a message from the side? - What is it?
Bob Roland: General Smith reports a gas attack. He wants to know what to do.
Rufus T. Firefly: Tell him to take a teaspoonful of bicarbonate baking soda and a half a glass of water.

Mrs. Teasdale: I've sponsored your appointment because I feel you are the most able statesman in all Freedonia.
Rufus T. Firefly: Well, that covers a lot of ground. Say, you cover a lot of ground yourself. You better beat it - I hear they're going to tear you down and put up an office building where you're standing. You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you can leave in a minute and a huff. You know, you haven't stopped talking since I came here? You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.

Minister of Finance: Here is the Treasury Department's report, sir. I hope you'll find it clear.
Rufus T. Firefly: Clear? Huh. Why a four-year-old child could understand this report.
[to Bob Roland]
Rufus T. Firefly: Run out and find me a four-year-old child, I can't make head or tail of it.

Rufus T. Firefly: [to Chicolini] I wanted to get a writ of habeas corpus, but I should have gotten a-rid of you instead.

Prosecutor: Chicolini, you're charged with high treason, and if found guilty, you'll be shot.
Chicolini: I object.
Prosecutor: You object? On what grounds?
Chicolini: I couldn't think of anything else to say.
Rufus T. Firefly: Objection sustained.
Prosecutor: Your Excellency, you sustain the objection?
Rufus T. Firefly: Sure, I couldn't think of anything else to say either. Why don't you object?

Rufus T. Firefly: I'll see my lawyer about this as soon as he graduates from law school!

Rufus T. Firefly: And now, members of the cabinet...
[pounds gavel]
Rufus T. Firefly: we'll take up old business.
Cabinet Member: I wish to discuss the tariff.
Rufus T. Firefly: Sit down, that's new business. No old business? Very well...
[pounds gavel]
Rufus T. Firefly: we'll take up new business.
Cabinet Member: Now, about that tariff...
Rufus T. Firefly: Too late, that's old business already. Sit down.

Secretary of Labor: The Department of Labor wishes to note that the workers of Freedonia are demanding shorter hours.
Rufus T. Firefly: Very well, we'll give them shorter hours. We'll start by cutting their lunch hour to 20 minutes.

Mrs. Teasdale: Notables from every country are gathered here in your honor. This is a gala day for you.
Rufus T. Firefly: Well, a gal a day is enough for me. I don't think I could handle any more.

Mrs. Teasdale: As chairman of the reception committee, I welcome you with open arms.
Rufus T. Firefly: Is that so? How late do you stay open?

Rufus T. Firefly: Just for that, you don't get the job I was going to give you.
Chicolini: What job?
Rufus T. Firefly: Secretary of War.
Chicolini: All right, I take it.
Rufus T. Firefly: Sold.

Mrs. Teasdale: Your excellency, the ambassador's here on a friendly visit. He's had a change of heart.
Rufus T. Firefly: A lot of good that'll do him: he's still got the same face.
Ambassador Trentino: I'm sorry we lost our tempers; I'm willing to forgot if you are.
Rufus T. Firefly: Forget? You ask me to forget? A Firefly never forgets. Why, my ancestors would rise from their graves, and I'd only have to bury them again. Nothing doing. I'm going back and clean the crackers out of my bed; I'm expecting company.

Rufus T. Firefly: Don't look now, but there's one man too many in this room, and I think it's you.

Rufus T. Firefly: I could dance with you until the cows come home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows till you come home.

Rufus T. Firefly: There goes my gun. Run out and get that like a good girl.

Rufus T. Firefly: [into radio] Calling all nations. Calling all nations. This is Rufus T. This is Rufus T. Firefly coming to you through the courtesy of the enemy. We're in a mess folks, we're in a mess. Rush to Freedonia! Three men and one woman are trapped in a building! Send help at once! If you can't send help, send two more women!
[Pinky enters and raises three fingers]
Rufus T. Firefly: Make it three more women!

Rufus T. Firefly: Where's my Stradivarius?
Officer: Here, sir.
Rufus T. Firefly: I'll show 'em they can't fiddle around with old Firefly!
[he pulls a tommygun out of his violin case and opens fire]
Rufus T. Firefly: Look at 'em run! Now they know they've been in a war!
Bob Roland: Your Excellency!
Rufus T. Firefly: Hahahahahaha, they're fleeing like rats!
Bob Roland: But sir, I've got to tell you...
Rufus T. Firefly: Remind me to give myself the Firefly Medal for this!
[he fires again]
Bob Roland: Your Excellency, you're shooting your own men!
[Firefly fires again]
Rufus T. Firefly: What?
Bob Roland: You're shooting your own men!
Rufus T. Firefly: Here's $5, keep it under your hat.
[holds out his hat to take the $5 back]
Rufus T. Firefly: Never mind, I'll keep it under my hat.

Rufus T. Firefly: [singing] If any form of pleasure is exhibited, report to me and it will be prohibited! I'll put my foot down, so shall it be... this is the land of the free! The last man nearly ruined this place he didn't know what to do with it. If you think this country's bad off now, just wait till I get through with it! The country's taxes must be fixed, and I know what to do with it. If you think you're paying too much now, just wait till I get through with it!

Rufus T. Firefly: I'm in a hurry! To the House of Representatives! Ride like fury! If you run out of gas, get ethyl. If Ethel runs out, get Mabel! Now step on it!

Mrs. Teasdale: We've been expecting you. As chairwoman of the reception committee, I extend the good wishes of every man, woman, and child of Freedonia.
Rufus T. Firefly: Never mind that stuff.
[He takes out a deck of cards]
Rufus T. Firefly: Take a card.
Mrs. Teasdale: [as she takes one] Card? What will I do with the card?
Rufus T. Firefly: You can keep it. I've got fifty-one left. Now what were you saying?

Rufus T. Firefly: [to Trentino] Now, how about lending this country twenty million dollars, you old skinflint?
Ambassador Trentino: Twenty million dollars is a lot of money. I'd have to take that up with my Minister of Finance.
Rufus T. Firefly: Well, in the meantime, could you let me have twelve dollars until payday?
Ambassador Trentino: Twelve dollars?
Rufus T. Firefly: Don't be scared, you'll get it back. I'll give you my personal note for ninety days. If it isn't paid by then, you can... keep the note.

Rufus T. Firefly: Go, and never darken my towels again!

Rufus T. Firefly: [to Chicolini] Come on up here, I wanna scare the cabinet.

Rufus T. Firefly: Now that you're Secretary of War, what kind of an army do you think we ought to have?
Chicolini: Well, I tell you what I think, I think we should have a standing army.
Rufus T. Firefly: Why should we have a standing army?
Chicolini: Because then we save money on chairs.

Bob Roland: This letter's the work of Trentino. The man is trying to undermine you. Now what are you going to do about it?
Rufus T. Firefly: I've got a good mind to ring his doorbell and run.

Rufus T. Firefly: Hey! Do you want to be a public nuisance?
Chicolini: Sure! How much does the job pay?

Rufus T. Firefly: [locked in a bathroom] Let me out of here! Hey, let me out of here or throw me a magazine!

Rufus T. Firefly: [on the phone] Get me headquarters. Not hindquarters, headquarters!

[Firefly emerges from a vase that has been stuck on his head]
Rufus T. Firefly: Any mail for me while I was gone?

Rufus T. Firefly: Chicolini, I need you badly right now. What'll you take to come back and work for me again?
Chicolini: I'll take a vacation.
Rufus T. Firefly: Good, you're hired.

Rufus T. Firefly: Chicolini, give me a number from one to ten.
Chicolini: Eleven.
Rufus T. Firefly: Right!

Rufus T. Firefly: Look at Chicolini. He sits there alone, an abject figure...
Chicolini: [immediately] I abject!

[Firefly and Mrs. Teasdale hear music coming from downstairs]
Mrs. Teasdale: What's that?
Rufus T. Firefly: Sounds to me like mice.
Mrs. Teasdale: Mice? Mice don't play music.
Rufus T. Firefly: No? How about the old maestro?

Rufus T. Firefly: I danced before Napoleon. No, Napoleon danced before me. As a matter of fact, he danced 200 years before me.

Rufus T. Firefly: Here are the plans of war. They're as valuable as your life. And that's putting them pretty cheap. Watch them like a cat watched her kittens. Have you ever had kittens? No, of course not, you're too busy running around playing bridge. Can't you see what I'm trying to tell you, I love you.

Rufus T. Firefly: Take a letter.
Bob Roland: Who to?
Rufus T. Firefly: To my dentist.
[Roland writes out the following]
Rufus T. Firefly: Uh... Dear dentist, enclosed find check for $500, yours very truly. Send that off immediately.
Bob Roland: I'll, um, I'll have to enclose a check first.
Rufus T. Firefly: You do and I'll fire you.

Ambassador Trentino: Have we met each other before, sir?
Rufus T. Firefly: I don't think so. In fact, I'm not sure I'm seeing you now; it must be something I ate.

Freedonia's Secretary of War: How about taking up the tax?
Rufus T. Firefly: How 'bout taking up the carpet?
Freedonia's Secretary of War: I still insist we must take up the tax.
Rufus T. Firefly: He's right, you've gotta take up the tacks before you can take up the carpet.

Rufus T. Firefly: [trying to decide if Chicolini, Firefly, Pinky, or Bob Roland will make a suicidal run into no-mans-land to get help] One of us has got to go get word to General Cooper and his men. One of us has got to go and risk his life for his country!
Bob Roland: Let's draw straws.
Chicolini: No! I gots an idea. We have a runspot to see who we choose to go. Okay, here we go. Rrrrrrringspot! One-sa, two-sa, zig-zag-zav, poptie, gimmega, tin-lie, tav, harem, scarem, moychan, tarem, tare, tore...
[realizes that he's about to land on himself]
Chicolini: I did it wrong. Wait, wait, wait... I start here! Rrrrrrringspot! One-sa, two-sa, zig-zag-zav, poptie, gimmega, tin-lie, tav, harem, scarem, moychan, tarem, tare, tore...
[realizes he's about to land on himself again]
Chicolini: That's a-no good too! Oh, I got it! Rrrringspot, BUCK!
[points to Pinky]
Chicolini: Good luck!

Mrs. Teasdale: Oh, your Excellency!
Rufus T. Firefly: You're not so bad yourself.

Rufus T. Firefly: I'd be unworthy of the high trust that's been placed in me if I didn't do everything in my power to keep our beloved Freedonia in peace with the world. I'd be only too happy to meet with Ambassador Trentino, and offer him on behalf of my country the right hand of good fellowship. And I feel sure he will accept this gesture in the spirit of which it is offered. But suppose he doesn't. A fine thing that'll be. I hold out my hand and he refuses to accept. That'll add a lot to my prestige, won't it? Me, the head of a country, snubbed by a foreign ambassador. Who does he think he is, that he can come here, and make a sap of me in front of all my people? Think of it - I hold out my hand and that hyena refuses to accept. Why, the cheap four-flushing swine, he'll never get away with it I tell you, he'll never get away with it.
[Trentino enters]
Rufus T. Firefly: So, you refuse to shake hands with me, eh?
[slaps Trentino with his glove]
Ambassador Trentino: Mrs. Teasdale, this is the last straw. There's no turning back now! This means war!
Rufus T. Firefly: Then it's war! Then it's war! Gather the forces. Harness the horses. Then it's war!

Rufus T. Firefly: Dig trenches, with our men being killed off like flies? There isn't time to dig trenches. We'll have to buy them ready made. Here, run out and get some trenches. Wait a minute, get 'em this high...
[gestures to his chin]
Rufus T. Firefly: and our soldiers won't need any pants. Wait a minute, get 'em this high...
[gestures over his head]
Rufus T. Firefly: and we won't need any soldiers!

Rufus T. Firefly: Chicolini, I need you badly right now. What'll ya' take to come back and work for me again?
Chicolini: I'll take a vacation.
Rufus T. Firefly: Good. You're hired!... Now, go out on that battlefield and lead those men to victory. Go on, they're waiting for you!
Chicolini: I wouldn't go out there unless I was in one of those big iron things, go up and down like this... What do you call-a those things?
Rufus T. Firefly: Tanks.
Chicolini: You're welcome!

Ambassador Trentino: I didn't come here to be insulted!
Rufus T. Firefly: That's what you think!

Rufus T. Firefly: Send a messages out to all wires. The enemy has captured Hill 27 and 28 throwing 13 hillbillies out of work. Last night two snipers crept into our machine gun nest and laid an egg. Send reinforcements immediately. Send it on collect.

Rufus T. Firefly: [after Pinky drives off without him for the third time] This is the only way to travel.

Ambassador Trentino: I've said enough, I'm a man of few words.
Rufus T. Firefly: I'm a man of one word: Scram!

Rufus T. Firefly: His Excellency's car!

Rufus T. Firefly: [with his head stuck in a vase] The last time this happened to me I was crawling under a bed.

Chicolini: [sees Firefly giving water to the ailing Mrs. Teasdale] Hey, careful with the water! It's the only water we got!
Rufus T. Firefly: Well, it's the only woman we've got!

Mrs. Teasdale: The future of Freedonia rest on you. Promise me you'll follow in the footsteps of my husband.
Rufus T. Firefly: [Direct to the camera] How do you like that? I haven't been on the job five minutes and already she's making advances to me.

Mrs. Teasdale: Oh, I want to present to you Ambassador Trentino of Sylvania. Having him with us today is indeed a great pleasure.
Ambassador Trentino: Thank you, but I can't stay very long.
Rufus T. Firefly: That's even a greater pleasure.

Mrs. Teasdale: I want you to meet a very charming lady.
Rufus T. Firefly: And it's about time!

Rufus T. Firefly: What can this mug offer you? Wealth and family? I can't give you wealth, but - uh - we can have a little family of our own!
Mrs. Teasdale: Oh, Rufus!
Rufus T. Firefly: All I can offer you is a roofus over your head.

Rufus T. Firefly: The man doesn't live who can call a Firefly an upstart. Why, the Mayflower was full of Fireflys, and a few horseflies, too. The Fireflys were on the upper deck and the horseflies were on the Fireflys.

Rufus T. Firefly: Why don't you marry me?
Mrs. Teasdale: Why, marry you?
Rufus T. Firefly: You take me and I'll take a vacation. I'll need a vacation if we're going to get married.

Mrs. Teasdale: Rufus, what are you thinking of?
Rufus T. Firefly: Oh, I was just thinking of all the years I wasted collecting stamps.

Vera Marcal: Oh, your Excellency, isn't there something I can do?
Rufus T. Firefly: Yes, but I'll talk to you about that later.

Rufus T. Firefly: Well, maybe I am a little headstrong. But, I come by it honestly. My father was a little headstrong. My mother was a little armstrong. The headstrongs married the armstrongs and that's why darkies were born.

Rufus T. Firefly: [In walk trumpeters] More bad news.
[In walks Mrs. Teasdale]
Rufus T. Firefly: Didn't I tell ya.
Mrs. Teasdale: Your Excellency.
Rufus T. Firefly: What's on your mind, babe?

Rufus T. Firefly: Any answer to that message?
Telegraph Operator at Battle Hdq: No, sir.
Rufus T. Firefly: Well, in that case, don't send it.

Rufus T. Firefly: Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honor - which is probably more than she ever did.

Rufus T. Firefly: [to Vera Marcal] Here's one I picked up in a dance hall.
[Does a dance step]
Rufus T. Firefly: [Designating Mrs. Teasdale] Here's another one I picked up in a dance hall.

Rufus T. Firefly: [singing, as he dances up to a woman who is standing with her back to a middle-aged man and talking to a handsome, younger man] If any man should come between a husband and a bride. We find out which one she prefers by letting her decide. If she prefers the other one, the husband steps outside. We line him up against the wall and...
[imitates firing a rifle]
Rufus T. Firefly: Pop goes the weasel!

Rufus T. Firefly: [singing] I will not stand for anything that's crooked or unfair. I'm strictly on the up-and-up, so everyone beware. If anyone's caught taking graft... and I don't get my share, we stand him up against the wall and...
[imitates firing a rifle]
Rufus T. Firefly: Pop goes the weasel!

Freedonia's Secretary of War: I give all my time and energy to my duties, and what do I get?
Rufus T. Firefly: You get awfully tiresome after a while!
Freedonia's Secretary of War: Sir, you try my patience!
Rufus T. Firefly: I don't mind if I do, you must try mine sometime!
Freedonia's Secretary of War: That's the last straw, I resign! I wash my hands of the whole business!
Rufus T. Firefly: Good idea, you can wash your neck, too!

Rufus T. Firefly: [Pinky has been "responding" to questioning by Rufus T. Firefly by showing drawings on various parts of his body] Well, I know one thing - I bet you haven't got a picture of my grandfather!
Rufus T. Firefly: [Pinky nods vigorously in the affirmative, takes off his coat, pulls up his shirt and is about to pull down his trousers] Uh uh, not now!