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Winston Churchill

Character Central

Leo

Character Central, Leo speakin’.

Dane

Hi, Leo, this is Dane Allred, from Abundance.

Leo

Who?

Dane

Abundance? 1001 Thanks? Literature Out Loud?

Leo

Sorry, pal, you got the wrong number.

Dane

No, I’d like to speak to Winston Churchill, please.

Leo

Oh, you want Sir Winston. Churchy baby, the phone’s for you. How we paying for this today, pally?.

Dane

Could we use the Bill Gates card again?

Leo

Oh, this is Dane Allred, isn’t it?

Dane

Yeah, that’s what I said, Dane Allred.

Leo

Thanks for using Character Central. Here’s Sir Winston.

Dane

Sir Winston Churchill, what an honor to speak with you today. I’d say most of our audience today knows you best from your dedication and work in World War II.

Winston

It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion's heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.

Dane

And what a roar. You were considered one of the key voices for the Allies.

Winston

One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!

Dane

And I guess your most famous speech from the war would be…

Winston

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

Dane

Yes, and speaking of the word never…

Winston

Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Never, never, never give up.

Dane

Yes, I was thinking of those quotes. But you must hate to be reminded of those times again and again.

Winston

I hate nobody except Hitler — and that is professional.

Dane

Yes, Hitler was one of the biggest problems.

Winston

If you are going through hell, keep going.

Dane

So you think Hitler is in Hell?

Winston

If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.

Dane

Very nice of you.

Winston

When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.

Dane

And when your time comes, do you think Heaven will judge you harshly?

Winston

I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

Dane

And do you think history will treat you kindly?

Winston

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. History is written by the victors.

Dane

It does help to be on the winning side, right?

Winston

In war it does not matter who is right, but who is left.

Dane

How true. But World War II really was a battle of giant personalities like you and Hitler.

Winston

When the war of the giants is over the wars of the pygmies will begin.

Dane

And you were successful in completing what you had to do.

Winston

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

Dane

Yes, I guess there were some failures.

Winston

When you are winning a war almost everything that happens can be claimed to be right and wise.

Dane

It’s been said you enjoyed the war.

Winston

Yes, I once said, “I think a curse should rest on me. I know this war is shattering the lives of thousands every moment — and yet — I can't help it — I enjoy every second of it.”

Dane

But that is the kind of fanaticism people need in their leaders during war.

Winston

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

Dane

Well, if you want to change the subject, we don’t have to talk about just the war. But we’ve just begun to…

Winston

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Dane

So we can keep talking about other topics?

Winston

Too often the strong, silent man is silent only because he does not know what to say, and is reputed strong only because he has remained silent.

Dane

Yes, I know our listeners will be interested to hear whatever you’d like to discuss.

Winston

When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.

Dane

Uh, sorry if I’m jabbering. Have you ever regretted things you have said in the past?

Winston

I have never developed indigestion from eating my words.

Dane

Really?

Winston

In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.

Dane

You have a good attitude about being right and wrong.

Winston

I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.

Dane

But that still is a positive attitude.

Winston

I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.

Dane

Yes, pessimism doesn’t contribute much.

Winston

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Dane

So you don’t need encouragement to be optimistic?

Winston

I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod.

Dane

You were one of the best motivating factors of the war.

Winston

I am easily satisfied with the very best.

Dane

Do you have a favorite animal?

Winston

No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle.

Dane

Saddle, horses. I get it. Any other comments about animals?

Winston

I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

Dane

Pigs, yes. I understand you once heard your room was bugged, and had a great response. Do you remember what you said?

Winston

This is Winston Churchill speaking. If you have a microphone in my room, it is a waste of time. I do not talk in my sleep.

Dane

Very funny. You do have some classic retorts which have been immortalized. When Bessie Braddock told you that you were drunk, you replied:

Winston

Bessie, my dear, you are ugly, and what's more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.

Dane

That seems quite cruel.

Winston

If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.

Dane

Which is why when Lady Astor commented to you, that if you were her husband, she would put poison in your coffee, you said:

Winston

And if I were your husband I would drink it!

Dane

I understand you had a great response to George Bernard Shaw when he invited you to the premiere of Pygmalion. He wrote: AM RESERVING TWO TICKETS FOR YOU FOR MY PREMIERE. COME AND BRING A FRIEND – IF YOU HAVE ONE. Do you recall your reply?

Winston

IMPOSSIBLE TO BE PRESENT FOR THE FIRST PERFORMANCE. WILL ATTEND THE SECOND – IF THERE IS ONE.

Dane

What would you say was your most significant accomplishment in life?

Winston

My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.

Dane

You are most proud of your marriage to your wife. Do you spend much time together?

Winston

My wife and I tried two or three times in the last 40 years to have breakfast together, but it was so disagreeable we had to stop. (Cough)

Dane

Do you need a drink of brandy?

Winston

I neither want it nor need it, but I should think it pretty hazardous to interfere with the ineradicable habit of a lifetime.

Dane

Yes, it is said you do like alcohol.

Winston

When I was a young subaltern in the South African War, the water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable we had to put a bit of whiskey in it. By diligent effort I learned to like it.

Dane

So you might say you drink regularly.

Winston

When I was younger I made it a rule never to take strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast.

Dane

Any problems from drinking?

Winston

I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

Dane

Any other vices?

Winston

My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.

Dane

I’m told you often miss scheduled flights and trains?

Winston

I am a sporting man. I always give them a fair chance to get away.

Dane

Very sporting of you.

Winston

We are all worms. But I believe that I am a glow-worm.

Dane

But even so, you have given so much to this civilization.

Winston

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.

Dane

Very inspiring. And I would like to thank you for helping the world progress to the great civilization we have today.

Winston

Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and the glory of the climb.

Dane

Yes, I think I once heard you say something about life being difficult.

Winston

Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.

Dane

Yes, that was it. And may I say what a great opportunity it was to speak to you today from Character Central. I hope to have on here again. Thank you again for saving us and the British Empire from domination by Fascism.

Winston

I think I can save the British Empire from anything — except the British.

Dane

That’s very funny.

Winston

A joke is a very serious thing.

Dane

Thank you again. We’ve been speaking with Sir Winston Churchill, from Character Central.

Character Central. Where quotations from famous people are used to complete an interview with Dane Allred. All of the quotations were actually spoken or written by the subject of the interview at one time or another, but never for this interview.

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Winston Churchill

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