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Tawny Pipit

One day in 1944, the screenwriter Nunnally Johnson and a group of his fellow writers and directors under contract to Universal studios found themselves sitting around complaining about the firm's affiliation with England's Rank Organisation. Of particular annoyance was the studio's decision to import a Rank film entitled Tawny Pipit. Despite the war-induced budget constraints under which they were laboring, they complained, the studio had purchased an idiotic English film about bird watching. Obviously the suits had made a blunder. Suddenly Johnson spoke up: "Boys, you're wrong," he mockingly declared. "Tawny Pipit is going to go out there and make a bundle of money. Every lover of pipits will see it!"

[As expected, the film promptly tanked.]

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