Tuesday, July 8, 2014


THE covers of old music, as I have mentioned before, often attract me to the piece.   The title song this week has a "finale line up" picture of the stars in Broadway Melody of 1936, lyrics by Arthur Freed, music by Nacio Herb Brown.  MGM produced the picture with the following cast:  Robert Taylor, a smooth producer;  June Knight a beautiful wealthy widow; Jack Benny, a gossip columnist of questionable integrity; 
Eleanor Powell, a beautiful starlet trying to get the producer, a former schoolmate, to give her a chance on Broadway.   Other members of the cast, Una Merkel, Sid Silvers, Buddy Ebsen, Nick Long and Frances Langford.   Got the plot figured out yet?   

Plots in big musical productions are not really important to musicians and dancers.  But in this early musical,  it did bring out that musicians can be actors and actors can be musicians and dancers. 

The movie opens with Harry Stockford, a radio personality playing himself, singing "Broadway Rhythm."  Frances Langford, also playing herself, sings "You Are My Lucky Star."  Another song written for the movie is "On A Sunday Afternoon."   And, of course, 

An interesting side note is that Buddy Ebsen,  Jed on the Beverly Hillbillies,  was a dancer of some renown, and his younger sister  Vilma  was a dancer also,  and is in the movie, barely acknowledged.    

MGM was on the verge of bankruptcy when Syd Silvers, Moss Hart, Jack McGowan and Harry Conn wrote the story and convinced MGM to take it on.   Eleanor Powell is credited with making movies that put them back on financial solid ground.   BROADWAY MELODY OF 1936'  won an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Eleanor Powell, who wants more attention form Robert Taylor who is wooing the widow for her money, sings:

You are a picture an artist could paint
But you're a mixture of devil and saint.
I just sigh and dream and try to figure you out.
Love is in season, 
The moon's up above
Tho, it be treason to question your love ---
Every time I look at you
My heart's in doubt  --

I've Got A Feelin' You're Foolin'
I've got a feel in' you're haven' fun
I'll get a go by when you are done, foolin' with me.

I've Got A Feelin' You're Foolin'
I've got a notion it's make believe
I think you're laughing' right up your sleeve
Foolin' with me.

Life is worth living while you are giving -
Moments of paradise
You're such a stand out
But how you hand out  
That hokus pokus from your eyes.

I've Got A Feelin' You're Foolin'
I've got a feelin' it's all a frame
It's just the well known old army game
Foolin' with you.

I don't want to be a spoiler, but big production musicals always have happy endings.

Hope this brought a smile today.   I welcome suggestions and criticism of the positive kind!   

jan major
Scarborough, Maine  (Where it's absolutely beautiful today!)

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