Ray Bolger, who played the Scarecrow (THE Scarecrow) was born 106 years ago today. In his honor, here’s a clip from Youtube in which the Scarecrow gets a Doctorate of Thinkology and makes reference to the Pythagorean Theorem — sort of. (The exact words of the Scarecrow are, “The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side. Oh, joy, oh, rapture. I’ve got a brain!”)

Ray, here’s to you! And remember: 106^{2}=56^{2}+90^{2}.

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6 Responses to “The Scarecrow and the Pythagorean Theorem”

One of my favorite passages in Burger and Starbird’s “The Heart of Mathematics” involves the Scarecrow’s mangling of the Pythagorean Theorem — they note that it just goes to show the value of a mail-order diploma.

The actor said the lines as written. IT was supposed to be incorrect thus proving the wizards point that whether or not he had a brain or diploma was irrelevant. Thats the irony of the scene.

Did someone already note here that Mr Bolger made two errors in his recitation of the Pythagorean Theorem? Sorry if I missed that. But, it’s not “any two sides” and it’s not an isosceles triangle.

The sum of the square of the sides of a right triangle are equal to the square of the hypotenuse.

January 11, 2010 at 10:38 am |

One of my favorite passages in Burger and Starbird’s “The Heart of Mathematics” involves the Scarecrow’s mangling of the Pythagorean Theorem — they note that it just goes to show the value of a mail-order diploma.

January 9, 2011 at 10:14 pm |

But they said that he was wrong.(?)

October 18, 2011 at 4:43 pm |

he relly mesad it up/and he relly said it wrong

February 9, 2016 at 12:57 am |

The actor said the lines as written. IT was supposed to be incorrect thus proving the wizards point that whether or not he had a brain or diploma was irrelevant. Thats the irony of the scene.

October 23, 2020 at 2:59 pm |

Did someone already note here that Mr Bolger made two errors in his recitation of the Pythagorean Theorem? Sorry if I missed that. But, it’s not “any two sides” and it’s not an isosceles triangle.

The sum of the square of the sides of a right triangle are equal to the square of the hypotenuse.

October 23, 2020 at 3:03 pm |

Oh, I just saw Mark Halvorsen’s comment on the intentional misstatement of the theorem.

“Nevermind.”