Behold A Katz Classic!
Take some time to feast your eyes on a legendary sandwich: the Pastrami on Rye from Katz’s Delicatessen in New York City!
So what does this have to do with “Cult Movie Monday?” Easy!
Katz’s has been around for more than a century, but filmgoers in the 80’s learned to love the place for a whole new reason:
“When Harry Met Sally” At Katz’s!
Director Rob Reiner filmed an iconic movie scene in the restaurant…but before we get to it, let’s look at the magic of “When Harry Met Sally”, 30 years on!
Here is the trailer:
Yes, this classic comedy gem starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan was released in 1989, but Director Rob Reiner made a timeless comedy from a classic script by Nora Ephron.
It’s the story of Harry Burns and Sally Albright, who manage to “run into” each other for years, and a friendship slowly becomes more…which wasn’t easy, because Harry had the ability to drive Sally crazy!
Here’s an example:
Harry: You take someone to the airport, it’s clearly the beginning of the relationship. That’s why I have never taken anyone to the airport at the beginning of a relationship.
Harry: Because eventually things move on and you don’t take someone to the airport and I never wanted anyone to say to me, How come you never take me to the airport anymore?
Sally: It’s amazing. You look like a normal person, but actually you are the angel of death.
The script is full os quotable lines, and they use everyday things like leaving a voicemail message to score comic points – as shown here when Harry leaves this message on Sally’s voicemail:
“The fact that you’re not answering leads me to believe you’re either (a) not at home, (b) home but don’t want to talk to me, or (c) home, desperately want to talk to me, but trapped under something heavy. If it’s either (a) or (c), please call me back.”
The late, great Carrie Fisher co-starred as Sally’s close friend, who had a unique way to push Sally into dating:
“All I’m saying is that somewhere out there is the man you are supposed to marry. And if you don’t get him first, somebody else will, and you’ll have to spend the rest of your life knowing that somebody else is married to your husband.”
Just a terrific film, and recently there was a 30th anniversary event where the stars reunited:
And Now….THAT Scene!
As I showed you, Katz Deli figures prominently in the movie’s most iconic scene. It begins when Billy Crystal tells Meg Ryan that women always have an orgasm with him – and never fake it…
Well, what happened next is movie magic.
Here is that legendary scene:
Of course, the woman with the punch line at the end of the scene was Rob Reiner’s Mom! A classic movie moment from a classic restaurant!
According to screenwriter Nora Ephron, the infamous “I’ll have what she’s having” line was actually suggested by Billy Crystal! And, in an interview with National Public Radio on November 2, 2004, Ephron credited Meg Ryan not only with the idea of faking an orgasm in the famous restaurant scene, but also with the idea of setting it in a restaurant in the first place.
One more piece of trivia about the scene:
The quote, “I’ll have what she’s having,” was not only voted #33 on the AFI’s list of “Best 100 Movie Quotes in American Film,” as well as the only quote on the list to be spoken by a non-professional actor (Rob Reiner’s mother, Estelle Reiner, delivered the line). It was also the only dialogue line ever delivered on film by his Mom!
Although I’d been to New York dozens of times, I had NEVER been to Katz’s – which is located on New York’s lower east side…
This place has quite a history – this is from their website:
“In 1888, a small deli by the name of Iceland Brothers was established on Ludlow Street in New York’s Lower East Side by the Iceland brothers. Upon the arrival of Willy Katz in 1903, the name of the store was officially changed to “Iceland & Katz”. Willy’s cousin Benny joined him in 1910, buying out the Iceland brothers to officially form Katz’s Delicatessen. Their landsman Harry Tarowsky bought into the partnership in April 1917. Katz’s Deli was moved across the street, to its present location, during the construction of the subway system. The vacant lot on Houston Street (pronounced “House-ton” after a Dutch emigrant of the same name) was home to barrels of meat and pickles until the present storefront facade was added between 1946-49.”
As with all legendary establishments, Katz’s walls are full of pictures – celebrities, foodies, politicians – as well as articles on the place that have been published over the years…you could spend hours just reading the walls!
But of course, it will ALWAYS be remembered for THAT SCENE in “When Harry Met Sally”, and they are proud of it!
I ate at Katz’s, and here is a look at my meal, and the unique way you order it!
By the way, if you LOVE “food in movies” like I do, then you will want to make this as well:
Clemenza’s famous meatballs from “The Godfather” – there is a recipe to make what Michael Corleone had for dinner! See it here:
I have made them and they are great!
Bravo to “When Harry Met Sally”, a timeless classic – and of course to Katz’s Delicatessen as well, may you last a hundred years more!
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