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The Good Stuff
Stealing My Thunder
by B. A. Llewellyn
Length: 203 words

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Stealing My Thunder

When someone steals our thunder, we are usually intimating that they have taken the accolades for an accomplishment that was rightfully ours.  The phrase "stealing my thunder" sounds quite fanciful, and seems to be stating that someone has been louder and bigger, and more noticeable, than our self.  Strangely enough, the words originally started in a far more literal fashion.

Poor John

In the early 18th-century, the poet John Dennis attempted to stage his own play.  It was so embarrassingly unsuccessful that the repertory actors refused to perform it.  The actors did however admire, and keep for regular use, the other creative effort John Dennis invented for his stage production – the sound of thunder.

Creating Weather

John Dennis discovered that shaking a sheet of tin could produce the sound of thunder.  It is a very effective imitation and has been used regularly since its invention.

That's Mine!

John Dennis was in the theatre on a night when his sound effect was used in a play which was not his own.  The audience applauded the unusual sound.  This applause, so lacking during the performance of his own staged work, provoked John Dennis into saying, “They won’t act my tragedy, but they steal my thunder!”

 San Carlo Theatre, Naples, Italy
San Carlo Theatre, Naples, Italy
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Katie Shields   Canada
How incredible!!  I would never have thought that.  I used to work on the stage and I don't ever remember anyone knowing where the term came from.

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