I tried to search the original 42 quote from google, but it would not give me much. I wonder, what is the original 42 quote or aka the answer to life, the universe, and everything else...
Keep in mind that the plot of Hitchhiker's Guide spends most of two chapters building up to this moment. Descriptions of the majesty of the computer (which takes up a city), the initial disappointment as the computer states researching the answer will take several million years... and then we come to...
"Good morning," said Deep Thought at last.
"Er... Good morning, O Deep Thought," said Loonquawl nervously, "do you have... er, that is..."
"An answer for you?" interrupted Deep Thought majestically. "Yes. I have."
The two men shivered with expectancy. Their waiting had not been in vain.
"There really is one?" breathed Phouchg.
"There really is one," confirmed Deep Thought.
"To Everything? To the great Question of Life, the Universe and Everything?"
Both of the men had been trained for this moment, their lives had been a preparation for it, they had been selected at birth as those who would witness the answer, but even so they found themselves gasping and squirming like excited children.
"And you're ready to give it to us?" urged Loonquawl.
"Now," said Deep Thought.
They both licked their dry lips.
"Though I don't think," added Deep Thought, "that you're going to like it."
"Doesn't matter!" said Phouchg. "We must know it! Now!"
"Now?" inquired Deep Thought.
"Alright," said the computer and settled into silence again. The two men fidgeted. The tension was unbearable.
"You're really not going to like it," observed Deep Thought.
"Alright," said Deep Thought. "The Answer to the Great Question..."
"Of Life, the Universe and Everything..." said Deep Thought.
"Is..." said Deep Thought, and paused.
"Forty-two," said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm.
The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Chapter 27
... which is immediately followed in the next chapter by...
Out of the corner of his eye Phouchg could see the sea of tense expectant faces down in the square outside.
"We're going to get lynched aren't we?" he whispered.
The original radio script is pretty close to the novel, but here it is for the sake of completeness. Taken from a 1985 edition of The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Original Radio Scripts (photo):
F/X: DEEP THOUGHT CLEARS HIS THROAT
TWO: Deep Thought prepares to speak.
DT: Good Evening.
ONE: Good Evening... Oh Deep Thought... do you have...
DT: An answer for you? Yes, I have.
THREE: There really is one?
DT: There really is one.
ONE: To everything? To the great question of Life, the Universe and Everything?
TWO: And are you ready to give it to us?
DT: I am.
DT: Though I don't think you're going to like it.
TWO: Doesn't matter! We must know it!
TWO: Yes! Now!
DT: All right.
DT: You're really not going to like it.
TWO: Tell us!!!!
DT: All right. The Answer to Everything...
DT: Life, The Universe and Everything...
DT: Forty two.
(Pause. Actually quite a long one)
TWO: We're going to get lynched, you know that.
There are a few small differences to both the novel and what was eventually heard on the radio:
- It's apparently evening on the radio but morning in the book.
- There are three of the aliens talking to Deep Thought in the script but the episode reduces it to just two, a change the novel keeps.
- The two are credited as First Computer Programmer (Ray Hassett) and Second Computer Programmer (Jeremy Browne). They don't get names until the novel.
- In the episode, Second Computer Programmer adds a "Yes!" in the middle of one of Deep Thought's lines, right after "An answer for you?".
- Second Computer Programmer's a fair bit more confident about that impending lynching than Phouchg.
I seem to remember that the question was "What are six nines?", but I could not say if this came from the radio, the book or TV. After a few minutes of "deep thought", I realised that 42 = 6 x 9 in base 13 [4 x 13 = 52, 52 + 2 = 54]. QED! I have never met anyone else who noticed this.
P.S. I always wanted to ask Douglas Adams about this, but he tragically was taken from us too soon. In any case, would he have admitted (or claimed!) that this is what he meant?