Friday, August 31, 2012


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Times in NYC, NY and elsewhere



Here's The Story
Rodgers and Hart were under contract to MGM for about a month when they were given the task of writing songs for the film, "Hollywood Party". They were told every MGM star would be in it, Disney was making a technicolor cartoon to stick in the middle of it,  and it was to be the big screwball comedy to end all screwball comedies.  To quote Richard Rogers, "One of our ideas was to include a scene in which Jean Harlow is shown as an innocent young girl saying-or rather singing-her prayers. How the sequence fitted into the movie I haven't the foggiest notion, but the purpose was to express Jean's overwhelming ambition to become a movie star ('Oh Lord, if you're not busy up there,/I ask for help with a prayer/ So please don't give me the air...')."
The scene was never shot.
In its next life "Prayer /Oh Lord, make me a movie star" became "The bad in every man" sung by Shirley Ross, and was
the title song of the 1934 crime drama
"Manhattan Melodrama",
which starred Clark Gable, William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Leo Carillo.  Coincidentally, the movie that John Dillinger
had been watching when he was gunned down
outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.
The song did not become a hit.
It was Rodgers & Hart's publisher, Jack Robbins, who told them he thought the song would be a hit, if Hart could make it more commercial. Hart was reluctant to write yet another lyric, but Robbins swore he'd plug the song from California to Maine.
Hart caved in and wrote "Blue Moon".
Robbins gave it to the Hollywood Hotel, a radio program.  
They used it as their theme, and on January 15, 1934, He had
Connie Boswell
 record it for Columbia.  It turned up in at least seven
other MGM motion pictures, notably
"Marx Brothers At The Circus"
with a sublime, virtuoso instrumental rendition
by Harpo Marx.
Soon it evolved into a popular standard.
In 1961, I danced to this do-wop version by
The Marcels



"O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon, That monthly changes in her circled orb, Lest that thy love prove likewise variable."

Post Script and one more Link
A few hours after this 5AM post
The Inky fool
Posted similar material including the full lyric of
"Oh Lord, Make Me A Star"


Mo Crow said...

I love your Ever Changing Blue Moon Michele!

jude said...

crazy moon

Ms. said...

"Yes" she is slightly cross-eyed, which was meant to denote 'inward focused gaze', but didn't quite work, as she looks a bit loony. However, that works in it's own way to add the comic element implied by the song that inspired the original work...."I Only Have Eyes For You" was written by Harry Warren in 1934, lyrics by Al Dubin, for the movie "Dames" a swell comedy song and dance by that inimitable stylist, Busby Berkeley, starring Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondell, Zazu Pitts, and many more period notables (where I first encountered the song, and a film I've delighted in many times since).

kimmie said...

And we were looking up at the moon last night wondering why it was yellow and not blue :)