Saturday, October 4, 2008

Arthur Parker on "East-Central Illinois"

"I got a bad territory, see? East-central Illinois. God help me."

Sheet-music salesman Arthur Parker (Steve Martin), in Pennies from Heaven (dir. Herbert Ross, 1981)
Sarah Palin's wink did nothing for my posture, but this line from Pennies from Heaven made Elaine and me both sit up a little straighter. I wonder how "east-central Illinois," a term that only east-central Illinoisans seem to use, found its way into Dennis Potter's screenplay.

comments: 4

Macon D said...

I'm glad Andrew Sullivan reads the National Review so that I don't have to. That quote he plucked is just . . . splendiferous.

John Guzlowski said...

I like this film a lot, and when I was teaching my unit on the Great Depression in Modern American Lit at EIU I would always show the Pennies from Heaven dance sequence that begins in the dinner and ends in dreamland.

It is terrific.

But to get to your question. I wonder how the East Central Illinois reference did get into the film. Potter was from Gloucestereshire in the UK, and Herbert Ross is from Brooklyn, NY.

Have you seen the mini-series version that played on PBS a while ago? I wonder if the ECI reference is there?

Michael Leddy said...

Macon D, notice that I chose to link to Andrew Sullivan's noticing, not the NR itself (I just couldn't).

John, I haven't seen the BBC version, but I know it's set in England. I want to know what the English equivalent of "E C I" is.

Jai said...

My guess is Liverpool. For no particular reason, since I don't know what East Central Illinois is like.

That Lowry quote is horrifying. It seems as if it could only be the result of drugs or stupidity (Not that the two are mutually exclusive). Or that I would have to be on drugs or stupid to be able to read it without saying something rude after finishing (Let alone being able to read it and agree). It's ripe for deconstruction and parody, but it's so disgusting that I don't even want to touch it.