About “Get it? Got it. Good,” “The Court Jester” and Danny Kaye

Googling for the name of the actor and the movie which begat the classic dialog/lines “Get it? Got it. Good.”? Searching for a link to the screenplay of The Court Jester (see below)? A big fan of Sylvia Fine’s clever patter songs? Can’t get enough information about one of Danny Kaye’s best-loved films? Welcome.

As you probably suspect by now, the title of this blog comes from the 1956 Danny Kaye film, “The Court Jester,” specifically a running dialog exchange between Kaye’s character Hubert Hawkins (aka Giacomo) and three other characters.

The Court Jester Half Sheet

Why name my blog after the film?

Well, “The Court Jester” has been my favorite live-action comedy film since I was a kid. In fact, back in the pre-VCR days (when you had to wait for a movie to show up on TV to watch it), I actually made an audio tape of the entire film to help me memorize the dialog and the lyrics of Sylvia Fine’s marvelous tongue-twisting tunes. I don’t need to say much about the film’s plot, since there are so many fine sites out there which have gone before me (some of which are linked below).

Craig at home with his prized “Court Jester” 1-Sheet poster

Me and my framed Court Jester One-Sheet

But I digress yet again.

Engaged with Kaye in this repeated repartee (it occurs five times in the film) are Basil Rathbone as Ravenhurst, Angela Lansbury as Princess Gwendolyn and Cecil Parker as King Roderick I:

Hawkins: When do we start?
Ravenhurst: Tonight.
Hawkins: Good. I’d like to get in, get on with it, get it over with, and get out. Get it?
Ravenhurst: Got it.
Hawkins: Good.

Hawkins: Get me to the king’s chambers.
Ravenhurst: The king’s chambers?
Hawkins: Yes…
Ravenhurst: Very well, if you say so.
Hawkins: It may be the KEY to the whole plan, get it?
Ravenhurst: Got it.
Hawkins: Good.

Ravenhurst: It is said the incomparable Giacomo has a discerning eye for beauty. Eh, why not let him select a suitable companion for your majesty?
Roderick: Excellent! Excellent! I trust the jester’s reputation is based on many years of accomplishment?
Hawkins: Why do you think they call me incomparable, sire? Get it?
Roderick: Got it.
Hawkins: Good. (snickers with Roderick)

Princess: It is a miracle! The gods who sent you have also provided a means for our escape. This is the key to the secret passageway.
Hawkins: Grand. We leave at midnight. Get it?
Princess: Got it.
Hawkins: Good. Very good.

Ravenhurst: First, plan one. Are you sure you can dispose of my lords Brockhurst, Finsdale, and Pertry?
Hawkins: Are they married?
Ravenhurst: Yes…
Hawkins: Order flowers for the widows. Get it?
Ravenhurst: Got it.
Hawkins: Good. (goes out window) Tally ho! Ho ho!

I’m sure you get it by now.

Co-starring in this classic comedy are Glynis Johns (Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins) as Maid Jean and Mildred Natwick as Griselda. Appearing in smaller roles (but still recognizable to modern audiences) are Alan Napier (who portrayed Alfred in the TV’s Batman) and John Carradine, who puts in a short day’s work as the real court jester, Giacomo.

Those who know “The Court Jester” also know that this running dialog isn’t even the most famous from the film, but I figured a blog titled “the vessel with the pestle has the pellet with the poison, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.com” would be a bit much. Even if I replaced it with a blog with a figure of a frog.

OK. One more sequence…the one with the “vestle with the pestle” bit and the joust with the “grim and gruesome grisly Griswold.”

Read the “The Court Jester” Wikipedia Entry here.

Read an entire transcript of the screenplay here or here.

With dialog like this, life could not better be.

The Court Jester DVD Buy the DVD at www.craighodgkins.com!



24 Responses to “About “Get it? Got it. Good,” “The Court Jester” and Danny Kaye”

  1. Ravenhurst you rat catcher!
    What can you say… Danny Kaye a triple threat… He could sing, dance, and act! Surrounded with what time has proved to be an all-star cast. Great script, great songs, and running dialog that would make the Marx brothers gasp. (O.K. maybe not) Still what a ride. Spotting your blog brought back a lot of memories and I guess I’ll be putting the video back in the player (I should upgrade to a DVD) and enjoy the magic one more time.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Carl. You certainly want to upgrade to the DVD, you can pick it up so cheap these days. Then, you can enjoy it in all of its digital glory, and life will not better be, no sirrah, sirrah, sirree. I’m thankful to have just about all of Kaye’s films on video, from “Up in Arms” to “Diner’s Club.” Unfortunately, just a couple of them are available on DVD, which is a crime. Of course, most people know Kaye only as Bing’s sidekick in “White Christmas,” if at all these days. But he was an amazing talent.

  3. Thanks for putting up this info! I am drama teacher at an International School and my group is considering doing this as a play. All the scripts I’ve read have “(further singing)” in the “Summon the Jester” scene…do you happen to know the words to any of the further singing? It has been a really long time since I’ve seen the movie and I can’t remember all of it. Thanks!

  4. Amy: That’s so cool that you’re considering staging “The Court Jester.” Do you have a part for me? As far as missing lyrics go, the best (and easiest, depending on where you are) way to fill in the blanks is get a hold of the DVD of the film. I don’t know where you live and work, but even if you are not near a major city center, you have an Internet connection, and all of the major retail websites carry it, from Amazon on down. Good Luck, and let me know what happens!

  5. The Court Jester has been an all-time favorite of mine since my youth (alas, I’m on 30 years old, so my first exposure was on TV, not the big screen). Danny Kaye is amazing (truly the “Jim Carrey” of his day — rubber-faced, jocular, over-the-top, but with classic facial features that allow him to turn the suave up “to eleven” in a way that Carrey can’t quite match). Glynis Johns was a smoking hottie — absolutely easy on the eyes and her voice has just enough husk to hook in your mind and linger for years. It makes you want to reach out and touch the screen (“You do and I’ll break every bone in your…”).

    The DVD is a good buy. I keep hoping someone will put out a true Danny Kaye DVD collection (heck, these days, you could probably fit all of his movies in standard-definition on one Blu-Ray disc).

    Oh, speaking of Glynis — did you see her in The Ref? That has become one of my all-time-favorite Christmastime movies. She is positively *evil* as Greg Kinnear’s mother-in-law. And, of course, Denis Leary is his amazingly acidic self. “I thought moms we’re supposed to be nice, and sweet, and patient. I know loan-sharks that are more forgiving than you… From now on the only person who yells is me. Why? Because I have a gun, okay? People with guns can do whatever they want. Married people without guns, for instance, you, do not yell. Why? No guns!”

    The vestle with the pestle holds the brew that is true,

    -jer

  6. What a coincidence! While researching Betty Grable, of all people, on Google I find myself watching clips of this classic, a DVD of which I only recently purchased from a ‘sale bin’ at my favourite video store. This is truly a hidden treasure and would be sure to please the young at heart of any age. The actors, the dialogue, the Technicolor. Wow! What a hat-trick!

  7. Dennis…thanks for stopping by. Don’t know if you found it, but there’s a nice picture of Betty and Joe on my “wanna buy a duck site.” It’s on the “Collegiate” page under films.

  8. I really want to have my group do “The Court Jester” as a play but I am not sure how to go about it with out infringing on copyrights. Could anyone help me?

  9. Thanks for putting up this info! I am drama teacher at an International School and my group is considering doing this as a play. All the scripts I’ve read have “(further singing)” in the “Summon the Jester” scene…do you happen to know the words to any of the further singing? It has been a really long time since I’ve seen the movie and I can’t remember all of it. Thanks!

    Amy Brown said this on December 30, 2007 at 8:29 am

    I hate keep bothering you but she said she’s found scripts, I can’t seem to find any. Do you know were I could get one?

  10. Hey, Aubery. Thanks for the question. Other than the screenplay transcriptions I have linked here, I’ve never seen scripts for live productions either, in bok form or otherwise. Some people told me they took the screenplay, then transcribed the song lyrics from the DVD and used that combo as a script. This, however, doesn’t provide “Samuel French” type legal clearances from Paramount. I’m sorry I can’t currently provide more info, but good luck. If yu locate some script source, please let me know!

  11. Many years ago I saw this movie, probably on “The Late Show” and I believe I only saw it once. There are movies like that where once is enough to remember something for a long time. I won’t say life time just yet since I hope to be around for many more years.

  12. I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!! It’s soooo funny. I love Danny Kaye! Is he still alive??

  13. Unfortunately, the world lost David Daniel Kaminsky more than 20 years ago, on March 3, 1987.

  14. The Real King is on the throne, Jean is my very own and life couldn’t possibly, not even probably bettttt-ter be! Just watched my DVD for the umpteenth time (I also have it on VHS). Saw this as a kid on TV (I’m in my 50s). I wish we had a little more insight on what Danny thought of the film. I think it’s his best work. Does anyone know of any sights that have interviews with any of the players?

  15. I found this blog by accident tonight and just had to tell you that the Court Jester was also a favorite of mine growing up. I use to quote “the pellet with the poison is in the vestle with the pestle…” constanlty. That is about the funniest sequence I’ve ever seen in a movie!!!

  16. I must thank you for your very sincere tribute to Danny Kaye. I’ve loved his movies all my life, and like you I only saw them as a child on television when I was lucky enough to spot them coming.

    It’s a funny thing, but my fondness for Mr. Kaye has always been such that I take personal pleasure in every accolade for him and am grateful when new generations of film buffs discover and fall in love with his work.

    I’ve seen everything Danny Kaye’s ever done and only wish that copies of his radio and tv shows were released so that I could hear and see those too. Sylvia Fine was an incomparable lyricist and only Danny Kaye could ever do her songs justice. It’s such a shame that they didn’t make more movies than they did. I could watch a hundred and still want more.

    You may all wish to know that a remake of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” has been in the works on and off for some time (as if it needed remaking – the original is superb!) Apparently Jim Carrey (the almost Danny Kaye of His age) was originally attached to the project but the latest I heard Mike Meyers was going to star instead.

    I’d much prefer Jim Carrey, myself, not just because of his “plastic” face or great comedic talent, but because he can deliver a believable romantic almost as well as Danny Kaye could himself. Both make excellent romantic leads when not forced to play for laughs. If “Mitty” must be redone, let’s hope Jim Carrey may eventually do it in the spirit of the original, and not someone else who will just milk it for cheap gags.

    Anyone who hasn’t seen all Mr. Kaye’s films can look them up on Wikipedia, then definitely buy them to watch again and again.

    Get it? Got it! Good!

  17. Glad I wasn’t the only one who recorded the audio of movies on reel to reel recorders — I had ‘The Court Jester” and used to listen to it all the time. My favorite bit was the Doge dialogue — quite happy when I memoried that. Still probably almost remember it! lol Great post and always great to see people writing about Danny! I collect him and have for many years and one of these days must finish my webpage on him. Met him a couple of times, way back when, of course. Great blog! thanks!!

  18. Anyone know where I can get the sheet music for The Jester song that Danny Kaye sang on Court Jester????

  19. Hi there,just gotta say…wow! I’m sixteen, but unlike most other sixteen year olds, I have had the proper movie education. This has been the ultimate movie to me since I was three, followed by “Noises Off.” Danny Kaye was the only man who could move like that, sing like that, and act like that. I personally think if there hadn’t been a few mistakes on his doctors side of things we would still have the treasure and ode to life that Danny Kaye was and still very much is. Another thing to point out is he almost never aged. At all. In my heart and hopeful side of the brain he is still alive, having faked his own death and running away to a small island somewhere to live out the rest of eternity in peace, spending his days dancing, singing, and eating coconuts. I don’t think there ever was or ever will be an actor or actress on the same level as Danny. On a side note, I used to be able to quote the entire jester song for the king (And me with the look of a fine undertaker…) and will probably be able to piece together the lyrics if you all need them.

  20. Lyrics for Maladjusted Jester are rather easy to find online, although you might want to print them out and make small corrections while watching the movie for a faithful transcription. But I have a question that I hope someone can help me with.

    Some printed versions of this song include 2 additional verses between the Spanish Dance and the King’s siesta, namely a singing lesson and a venice performance. I’d like to know if a recording exists of them actually being sung, maybe on television or radio, or if they only exist as an embellishment in the sheet music. I’d love to include these while performing it, but I need a frame of reference for how Danny would sing it.

    Thanks

  21. I was searching for a copy of The Court Jester and came across your site. Seeing you in the Thune! shirt caught my eye as I am from Sioux Falls, SD. Can you provide any info on finding a DVD of The Court Jester? Thanks so much!

  22. I can’t imagine the luck of those Borscht Belt hotel folks who had Danny Kaye as their own personal court jester, or “tummler!’ Those were the golden days of the NY Catskills. What a giant talent was Mr. Kaminsky, or, Danny Kaye, as we knew & loved him.

  23. So glad I found this! I continually roll my eyes as I hear people misusing this sequence (“Get it? Got it. Good!”) in everything from commercials to “witty” blog posts. Shouting to no one in particular, “It’s not ONE person saying all three lines! It’s a repartee between two people!!!”

    I had either heard the movie as a kid, or perhaps it was done by the drama department at my high school years ago, but I knew I could find out the source. Thank you! (Now I have to go find the movie.)

  24. I’m watching it this minute orders from rare dvds.com
    no cgi, just camera tricks and the full exercise of developed natural talent. People can’t really appreciate 1955 America, the jester or Danny and Sylvia today as the pure cultral forge we were. Everybody else already made their world.

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