Churchill on babies
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at 10 Downing Street, London, in 1940.
(photograph by Cecil Beaton, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum via the BBC)
I often say to people that all babies look like Winston Churchill. Naturally, I should have known the great man beat me to this conclusion decades ago.
Churchill was taking a walk with an infant grandson (presumably accompanied by a nanny who was holding the infant). A friend stopped Churchill and remarked how much alike Churchill and the baby appeared. To which the great man responded:
“All babies look like me. But then, I look like all babies.”
Churchill said so many memorable things that even things he never said which sound like him are attributed. Nonetheless, if you ever find yourself in a position where you are called upon to say a few words and all you can think of is a serious quote you once heard which you can elaborate on then you are usually on safe ground attributing that quote to Churchill, Shakespeare, of the Bible.
While Churchill uttered many quips, his magnificent speeches which inspired his countrymen and the world to resist Hitler were meticulously dictated by him to one of the secretaries on duty around the clock. He honed these speeches until they gleamed like a diamond. Most of them took him many, many hours.
Churchill also practiced these speeches before he gave them, putting in the dramatic pauses. He was not only a great speech writer but a great speaker and he wrote his speeches using techniques of classical rhetoric which used to mean elegant and well-constructed speech instead of hot air.
While a popular myth, no actors ever gave Churchill’s speeches on the BBC after he gave them in Parliament which didn’t allow radio coverage. He broadcast all of them himself. After retiring from Parliament, he recorded his most famous speeches for several record companies.