Just what did he say?

It's a classic quote, but as always happens in cases such as this, finding the exact quote turns out to be a bit difficult. At least two different versions of the quote exist. Some claim he said:
A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.
While others claim that the true quote is:
A child of five could understand this. Fetch me a child of five.
The first version shows up about fifty times via an AltaVista search. Including, of course, on at least one of numerous Groucho quotes sites. But the second version shows up about 125 times via the same sort of search, including on at least one other Groucho quote site.

So which is the correct formulation of the quote? In this particular case it's not that hard to trace. After all, most people will remember that it's from a Marx Brothers' movie, and those who remember probably watch those movies frequently enough to come across the correct line. But though watching all those movies again may be a pleasurable way of finding the exact quote, it's probably also the most time consuming. An easier way is via the Internet Movie Database web site. It still takes a bit of time, but each film in the data base has a "memorable quotes" link (if there are any in the movie) and it only takes a few enjoyable moments to find that the quote in question is from the 1933 classic Duck Soup. In the "memorable quotes" section we find:

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! Run out and find me a four-year-old child, I can't make head or tail of it.
The linked wav file (found via an additional AltaVista search, though of course, only after finding this particular rendition of the quote) should be enough proof that this is the proper wording, straight from the horse's mouth. Still, it's unclear why the uncontested correct wording should only show up five times in an AltaVista search. Majority may rule, but the exact wording is traceable.

Even so, for the title of this column, we'll let the majority continue to rule.

Go to: Fetch me a child of five