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Music From Obscure Broadway;

Songs From Early Broadway Shows, Act 3; Conclusion.

 

For the last two months (Part One, October, 2005 , Part Two, November, 2005) we continued a series that features music from early and mostly very obscure Broadway shows. This is the third act, last installment of the series. As I said at the beginning; "Without Broadway, there would have been no 'Tin Pan Alley' for the huge congregation of theaters and performers became a magnet for the finest composers and lyricists that America had to offer. Broadway could be considered the seed for the tremendous development and growth of America's popular music."

 

When I first started planning this feature, I had in mind a single issue that would expose our readers to a sampling of the music from the early years of Broadway. When I began compiling music from our collection, it became clear to me that one issue would never suffice. We have hundreds of songs that had their origins in Broadway productions and to choose but ten or a dozen songs from the incredible treasure trove of music became an impossible task. As a result, we dedicated three monthly issues to the songs of early Broadway. In doing so I've shared with you some of the incredible music from those early days, most of which you've probably never heard but songs which deserve exposure to the light of the 21st century. Along the way, we've learned about some shows that were smash hits and many more that were not. These issues are not as much a history of Broadway but more a history of some of Broadway's forgotten music and productions." To read more of the introduction to this series, see the October issue.

 

For a very complete and engaging history of Broadway, we highly recommend that you visit the excellent site "Talkin' Broadway" and its "Broadway 101" history of Broadway by Robert Rusie.

 

If you are new to us, to enjoy the full musical experience, we recommend that you get the Scorch plug in from our friends at Sibelius software. The Scorch player allows you to not only listen to the music but to view the sheet music as the music plays and see the lyrics as well. Each month we also allow printing of some of the sheet music featured so for those of you who play the piano (or other instruments) you'll be able to play the music yourself. It's a complete musical experience! Get the Sibelius Scorch player now.

 

Richard A. Reublin, December, 2005. This article published December, 2005 and is Copyright © 2005 by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor Songs Academy Text, images or music may not be reproduced in part or in total without express written permission of the author or a company officer.

 


Just A Gentle Touch

1901


Music by: Isidore Whitmark
Words by: Frederic Rankin
Cover artist: Unattributed


Yet another of the great series of New York American and Journal supplements begins this month's look at Broadway songs. The cover sports a bevy of truly beautiful young ladies, presumably from the cast of the show, The Chaperons from which this song originated. Though the song shows a copyright of 1901, The Chaperons did not open at the New York Theater until June 5, 1902. A venue change took place at the end of the month and the show played at the Cherry Blossom Grove until closing on July 26 after but 49 performances. In my mind, what makes this piece very unique is not the show it is associated with but by the composer, Isidore Whitmark. Whitmark is most known as a publisher and his publishing house, M. Whitmark & Sons was one of the most prominent publishing houses in the Tin Pan Alley era and was started by Isidore and his brothers in 1885 making it one of the earliest major TPA publishing houses. Though Isidore started his career as a songwriter, very few of his works are extant. In fact, the largest collection of sheet music at Johns Hopkins University lists not a single title by him out of over 20,000 titles. The Chaperons seems to be his only stage musical and we feel fortunate to have this very rare song in our collection.

 

The song is subtitled as a "serio comic sextet." As such, it has elements of comedy and serious subjects. The lyrics do contain both serious and comedic lines, the first verse and chorus being perhaps the most serious. The music is rather interesting with the use of a number of ornamentations and a lilting melody. The melody is in fact, somewhat comedic in tone and at the same time, rather simple. It is decidedly enjoyable and I'd love to hear more of the songs from this show as well as some of Whitmark's other songs.

 

Isidore Whitmark was one of three brothers, himself, Julius and Jay whom Isaac Goldberg in his book Tin Pan Alley (1930) called "the "three musketeers from the East Side," (of New York.) They were among the first to establish a publishing house in Tin Pan Alley and are characterized by Goldberg as "true pioneers of popular music making and ..publishing in the United States." Unbelievably, the Witmark's publishing career had it's beginnings with a toy printing press won as a prize in grammar school. An enterprising man, Isidore as a child had received a hobby horse as a gift and asked his father for an umbrella. When queried as to why an umbrella, Isidore said; "So that I can start a merry-go-round." (Goldberg, p 122.)

Whitmark's first published song came during President Cleveland's term as 22nd President (1885 -89). The Whitmarks decided to publish a song to celebrate the rumored marriage of Cleveland so Isidore wrote a song titled the President Cleveland Wedding March. Unfortunately, the wedding was delayed and even denied by the White House so it seemed Isidore was stuck with a useless song. They considered renaming it and publishing it then in a stroke of good luck the wedding was announced and Whitmark managed to "scoop" all the other publishing houses. The name "M." Whitmark was adopted because none of the boys were of age and they had to use their father as a "legal age" sponsor and so named the firm using their father's first initial.

In the decades that followed, Whitmark was very successful as a publisher and his song writing activities were virtually non existent. Though much can be found about his publishing activities, little about his personal life or other songs can be found.


Hear this interesting Broadway "sextet" ( Scorch plug-in required)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics

 



One That He Loves Best

1902


Words and Music by: Edward W. Corliss
Cover artist: J. B. Eddy


Another newspaper supplement from The NYA&J also published in 1902 is this song from the show, The Show Girl. This production was the last of only three Broadway shows written by Corliss, the prior two having been The Three Little Lambs in 1899 and Miss Simplicity staged just a few months before The Show Girl. The production premiered at Wallack's Theater on May 5, 1902 and closed on July 28 after 64 performances. Of Corliss' three shows, this one was the longest running. One of the most interesting facts about this show is that it featured a little known singing waiter by the name of Irving Berlin in the chorus. As such, this song would have been one in which he performed. For almost all of the rest of the cast, this was their one and only appearance in a Broadway musical. The two major exceptions were Clarence Harvey (1865 - 1945) who went on to perform in many more shows all the way up to his last in 1933 and Frank Lalor (1869 - 1932) who also played in many shows right up to his death.

 

Titled as a "March Song and Chorus," this work has a certain amount of early charm mixed with a great march tempo and melody. The chorus melody is particularly nice, in my opinion. The song title implies that it is about a man's many loves, and it is. However, there is a bit of a surprise as to "who" the one he loves best is. This is a wonderfully patriotic song and one of several of our discoveries this month. The woman on the cover in the box is Bertha Blake who seems to have nothing at all to do with the show. She is not listed in the cast so I assume it is just a case of using a famous performer as an endorsement of the song. Too bad they placed her in what looks like a coffin shaped box and then to add insult to injury, placed her in a somewhat recumbent position. Ms. Blake appeared in several Broadway shows from 1904 to 1918.

 

Edward W. Corliss should not be as elusive as he seems to be. Having written three Broadway shows and several popular songs, it would seem that the available resources would at least mention him however, none in our library so much as mention his name. However, we have found evidence of a number of songs he published and at least one, written for Brown University's Hocky Team in 1895, Ki-Yi-Yi (To be sung when the hocky team scores.) From that, I assume he attended Brown around that time. Among his other known songs are; The Man Behind The Gun (1899), Rosalie (1901), , Katrina (1902), Psyche (1902, Scorch format) and Life Is Quite Endurable (1908).

 

Enjoy this wonderful old Broadway song ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in))

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics


 


If I Were Only Mister Morgan

1903

 


Words and Music by: George M. Cohan
Cover artist: Unattributed

 

Few other Broadway performers / composers from over 100 years ago are as well known today as George W. Cohan, "that Yankee Doodle Boy." His music is well known and many of his songs are still performed today. Though he wrote many Broadway musicals, few, if any of them are performed today, it is mainly the songs from those shows that live on. In 1982, one of his works, Little Johnny Jones was revived at the Alvin Theater. This song however is from one of his earliest shows, his second. Running for Office opened at Haverly's 14th Street Theater on April 27 1903 and closed only 48 performances later on June 6. As was the case in his earliest efforts, the shows were written primarily for his family, The Four Cohans. The cast included them all, Helen, Jerry, Josephine and of course, young George. Many of the twelve remaining cast members went on to perform in later Cohan shows.

 

This song is a novelty song with a great deal of humor. The story the lyrics tell are of a man who, in Walter Mitty fashion, dreams of what he would do if he were J. P. Morgan (1837 - 1913) with all the money Morgan had. Morgan was one of America's wealthiest people and in 1912 his firm's assets totaled over $22 BILLION, an enormous sum for today and an unimaginable one in 1912. Given those sort of resources, one could have accomplished almost everything the lyrics of this song propose. The music for this song is not Cohan's best work but certainly we can forgive that as it was written very early in his career. It's a rather simple tune but very fitting for the lyrics line which are light hearted and whimsical. It also comes across very much as a stage song in recitative style. Of course with a song such as this, the emphasis is on the lyrics and the music almost is incidental.

 

George M. Cohan was born in Providence, RI on either the 3rd or 4th of July 1878. Cohan always used the 4th as his birthday and it certainly served him well to do so throughout his career and after as he became our "Yankee Doodle Boy". From boyhood, he toured New England and the Midwest with his parents and sister in an act called The Four Cohans. By 1900, the Cohans were one of the leading acts in vaudeville. He also played the violin, wrote sketches for the family show and started writing songs by age 13. It was during these early years that he adopted the swaggering and brash image that was so well portrayed by Cagney. His first original musical was Little Johnny Jones, which he wrote entirely himself and in which he starred as the lead. It was successful and included the hit Yankee Doodle Boy and Give My Regards To Broadway (Scorch format). In 1906, his reputation was improved more with the productions George Washington Jr., and Forty-five Minutes From Broadway.

 

Cohan continued to write and star in musical comedies into the 1920's but at the same time had formed a publishing house in collaboration with Sam Harris with whom he also opened a number of playhouses and theaters including the George M. Cohan Theater in New York. Cohan wrote over 500 songs and it is said that Over There (Scorch format) was the most popular morale song for BOTH world wars. Interestingly, Cohan was untrained as a musician and he professed to write only simple songs with simple harmonies and limited ranges. Regardless, his contribution to vaudeville, musical theater and popular music is undeniable and profound. Cohan died in New York on November 5, 1942.

 


Listen to and see this early Cohan song ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

There are no Lyrics to this piece


My Beautiful Lady

1911


Music by: Ivan Caryll
Words by: C. M. S. McLellan
Cover artist: Unsigned

 

The Pink Lady opened on March 13, 1911 at the New Amsterdam Theater and closed a very respectable 19 months later on September 14, 1912. This work is one of over 30 Broadway productions written by Caryll, his last The Hotel Mouse staged a few months after his death. The cast did feature a number of performers whose career extended well beyond (or in some cases before) this show. Among them were, Fred Wright, Florence Walton, Joseph Carey, Ruby Lewis and William Elliott who was also a producer, writer and director in his own right.

 

The song is a duet featuring two of the cast in the roles of Caudine and Angle. The setting is Paris and the song begins with a verse that is in the manner of a Parisian Tango. Unfortunately, with lyrics it comes across somewhat cumbersome and stilted. The chorus moves into a very nice waltz that is a pleasant love song.

 


Ivan Caryll (b.1861 in Liège, d. 1921, New York City) Felix Tilkins, which was Caryll's real name, had emigrated to England from Belgium in his youth. At first he had known hard times and earned his living by giving music lessons to women in the suburbs; he was so poor that he of ten had to go without a proper meal. Then he sold some numbers to George Edwardes and was put under contract. Though the public knew him as lvan Caryll, everybody in the theater called him Felix. When conducting he used to sit as near the footlights as possible and watch the artistes like a hawk when they were singing. Though not a big man, great force radiated from him; when he was conducting his big concerted numbers and finales, he would suddenly swing his body right round and appear to sweep the orchestra along with him during the passage.

Caryll prided himself on being one of the best dressed men in town; he was most extravagant and spent money as soon as he earned it. This peacock was in his element driving up to the Gaiety in his Victoria, then hearing the audience's applause as he walked on to the stage and took his bow. He became renowned for his lavish hospitality; he used to entertain his theatrical friends in princely style, was an excellent host and very popular. Geraldine Ulmar, his first wife, has been mentioned as a Gilbert and Sullivan star. (Preceding biography and photo courtesy of The Gilbert and Sullivan Archive at http://diamond.boisestate.edu/gas , Curator Paul Howarth, used with permission.)

As a composer of light opera and Broadway shows, Caryll was quite productive. From those productions many of his songs became popular. His lifetime works include the songs; Golden Moon (1887), Everything's At Home Except Your Wife (1912), The Boy Guessed Right (1898), Venus Waltz (1912), The Piccaninnies (1898), Thy Mouth is a Rose (1913), The Runaway Girl (1898), Goodbye Girls, I'm Through (1914), Daisy With the Dimple On Her Chin (1901), Love Moon (1914), The Toreador's Song (1901), Oh, This Love! (1914), Coquin de Printemps (1905), Ragtime Temple Bells (1914), Experience (1906), Along came Another Little Girl (1917), Do You Know Mr. Schneider? (1907), Come And Have A Swing With Me (1917), Come Back To Me: Do You Recall? (1909), Follow The Girls Around (1917), By the Saskatchewan (1910), Wait Till The Cows Come Home (1917), My Beautiful Lady (1910), Some Day Waiting Will End (1918), Oh, Rosalie (1910), There's a Light in Your Eyes (1918), The Kiss Waltz (1910), The Girl I Never Met (1920), The Pink Lady (1911) and The Girl Who Keeps Me Guessing (1920)



 

Hear and see My Beautiful Lady ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics




Poor Butterfly

1916



Music by: Raymond Hubbell
Words by: John L. Golden
Cover artist: Burton Rice


This song is one of our two special discoveries of the month, it is simply outstanding. The Big Show is a rather generic title for a musical implying that the production may have been more a review than a show with story line In fact, it was. The Internet Broadway Database lists this show as an "Original Musical Spectacle." The Big Show opened on August 31, 1916 and closed in September of 1917 after an astounding 425 performances, an exceptional run if all of our other shows featured are any indication. The composer, Hubbell was one of Broadway's most prolific and successful and in total, he wrote over 30 productions including several editions of the Ziegfeld Follies.


I think for me what makes this song so exciting is the fusion of eastern and western musical elements. Of course the song is based on the story from the 1904 opera Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini in which a Japanese woman falls in love with an American Naval officer and ends up being left behind, eventually committing suicide just as her lover returns to her after a three year absence. After a short introduction the verse opens with a distinctively oriental sounding theme where the story is told of "poor Butterfly." There are two or three passages in the music that call for the use of a flute which only adds to the Oriental tone. As the verse ends and leads into the chorus, the music morphs into a more "American" ballad sound and then the chorus begins. Played slowly to add pathos, the melody is wonderful. The piano part is lush and full and when you combine this musical accomplishment with the tremendous lyrics by John Golden, the result is a true masterpiece of American popular music from Tin Pan Alley's heyday.

 

Raymond Hubbell (b. 1879, Urbana, Ohio - d. 1954, Miami, FL.) Worked originally in Tin Pan Alley for Charles K. Harris as a pianist and arranger and in many respects wrote the music for many of Harris' songs. As a composer he wrote the music for a large number of successful Broadway musicals including Chow Chow (1902), Fantana (1905), A Knight For A Day (1907), Hip Hip Hooray (1915), The Bid Show (1916), Cheer Up (197), The Elusive Lady (1922), Yours Truly (1927) and Three Cheers in 1928 starring Will Rogers and Dorothy Stone. In total, he wrote music for over 30 Broadway productions including several editions of the Ziegfeld Follies.

 

Enjoy this fabulous rediscovered stage song (Scorch Format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



Since I First Knew You

1918



Music by: Frank H. Grey
Words by: Eustice Hale Ball
Cover artist: Unknown

 

With Poor Butterfly as a lead-in, we now look at our second discovery of the month. Here we have a beautiful duet from the musical comedy, Follow Me. This musical opened at the Casino Theater on November 29, 1916 and closed after 78 performances the following February of 1917. The show of course starred Anna Held who was extremely popular for several years of the early 20th century. Held was brought to America from France by Flo Ziegfeld to star in his revues. Held married Ziegfeld and for some time, she was so much more popular than he that Ziegfeld became known as Mr. Anna Held. That's quite a testament to her popularity and overpowering talent. Follow Me was one of several Broadway shows written specifically to showcase Held's talents and of course, she starred in this edition. The show was produced by the Schubert brothers and most of the music was written by Sigmund Romberg. This piece was not written by Romberg.

 

I'm reluctant to be too effusive about a song but must say that there are some that simply captivate me heart and soul and this is one of them. The song is an exchange between two characters, only identified as "BOY" and "GIRL" in the sheet music. It is a bright and joyful piece that has a superb melodic quality in both the verses and the chorus. The verse has a very happy and playful sound to it where the two have a conversational exchange, where one often completes a thought begun by the other. Between them they happily recall the special moments in their early relationship that brought them the most happiness and lead them to their love for each other. The chorus is a bold ballad that declares their love for each other that began "since I first knew you." I think this is a fabulous song that deserves to be forever heard rather than moldering away in a box in the attic.

 

Frank H. Grey was a songwriter and a writer of Broadway productions as well. We know of at least three Broadway shows written by him in the period from 1922 to 1927; Sue Dear (1922), The Matinee Girl (1926) and Happy (1927). We also know that he often published works in the Etude music magazine at least up through 1933. I've been unable to locate any other information on Grey or about other specific song titles by him at this time.

 

Listen to this great old piece (Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



Sahara

1919



Music by: Jean Schwartz
Words by: Alfred Bryan
Cover artist: Unknown

 

This song's cover is surely the most stunning and artistic of this month's feature. It is indeed a shame that it is unsigned. The sheet music was in pretty bad shape and required a lot of digital repair to restore it to it's original glory but I hope you'll agree that it was worth it. Monte Cristo Jr. opened at the famed Winter Garden Theater on February 12, 1919 and closed the following September after an impressive 254 performances. With music by both Sigmund Romberg and Jean Schwartz and a production by Lee and J. J. Schubert, it is no wonder that this show was a success. Though many in the cast did not enjoy a career on Broadway much beyond this show, several of the cast members were notable performers from the era including; "Chic" Sale, Rose Rolanda, Charles Purcell (also a producer), Jack Manning (choreographer as well), Sam Ash and Ralph Herz.

 

The song we are featuring is by Jean Schwartz and Alfred Bryan, both exceptionally successful songwriters from the period. In 1919, the year of this production, the Volstead act became the 18th amendment to the constitution and the production and consumption of alcoholic beverages became illegal. Of course we know the results of that failed experiment and the amendment was repealed a few years later. However, in 1919 it was a big-dot-deal and not only was it in the news but songwriters took up the cause and wrote numerous song about prohibition. This song is such a song. A novelty song filled with funny lines and good humor, you can't help but love it. So, you ask, what does the Sahara have to do with prohibition? Think dry.

 

Jean Schwartz (b. 1878, Budapest, Hungary, d. 1956, Los Angeles, CA.) The Schwartz family emigrated from Hungary to New York City in 1891. Starting his American musical career as a songplugger at Shapiro and Bernstein, Schwartz went on to become one of America's greatest songwriters. His collaborations with the likes of Jerome Kern, William Jerome and Milton Ager resulted in some of our greatest songs and musical stage works. Schwartz was involved in music early in life and received his first musical training with his sister, who had received her training with the great composer and piano virtuoso, Franz Liszt. After his family emigrated to New York City, for several years they lived on the city's lower east side, in abject poverty. Jean worked at a number of odd jobs to help support his family. Although he did work as a cashier in a Turkish Bath house, mostly he was able to find musical work. One of his jobs was as a sheet music demonstrator in New York's Siegel-Cooper Department Store. This was the first sheet music department to appear in a major department store. During this time, he also found some musical employment and performed with an ensemble at Coney Island. Finally, he became a staff pianist and song plugger in Shapiro-Bernstein Inc., a Tin Pan Alley music publisher. In 1899, at age 21, Schwart'z first published work appeared, a cakewalk titled Dusky Dudes.

 

William Jerome, a well known lyricist, and Schwartz met in 1901. It was the start of a fruitful songwriting partnership. Over the next few years, they wrote some very successful songs for different Broadway shows, among them were: Don't Put Me Off at Buffalo Anymore, Rip van Winkle Was a Lucky Man, Hamlet Was a Melancholy Dane and what was one of their most popular works from the 1903 show The Jersey Lily; Bedelia sung by Blanche Ring. All of this success made the team of Schwartz and Jerome a popular act for the vaudeville circuits, where they were headliners for many years. Schwartz also was employed as the pianist for the Dolly Sisters' vaudeville act, and in time, he married one of the sisters, Rozika.

 

In 1913 Schwartz teamed up with lyricist Harold Atteridge to write songs for a number of popular shows including The Passing Show of 1913, and The Honeymoon Express that same year. In 1914 Schwartz, with Grant Clarke as lyricist wrote, I Love The Ladies and Back To The Carolina You Love . One of Scwartz's greatest collaborations was with Sam. M. Lewis. In 1917 they teamed up to write songs for the great Al Jolsen and ca,e up with Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody; Hello Central, Give Me No Man's Land (Scorch format) and Why Do They All Take The Night Boat To Albany?

 

Schwartz continued to team up with talented lyricists and produced song after song for numerous shows as well as individual popular songs that did well. From 1931 until 1937, Schwartz and Milton Ager collaborated on several hits, including: Trouble In Paradise; Little You Know and Trust In Me, a 1937 hit. Schwartz wrote few songs after 1940 and lived in relative seclusion till his death in Los Angeles, CA, age 76 years.

 

Alfred Bryan (b. 1871, Ontario Canda - d. 1958, New Jersey). A prolific and prominent lyricist of early Tin Pan Alley, Bryan collaborated with some of the best composers including Percy Wenrich and Fred Fisher. Bryan's most lasting hit was the classic, Peg O' My Heart (MIDI) from 1913 with Fisher. Some of his other works include Rainbow (1908),and It's A Cute Little Way Of My Own sung in 1917 by the great Anna Held in the show Follow Me.

 

Listen to this 1919 "prohibition" song (Scorch Format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



When The Cherry Blossoms Fall

1919



Music by: Anselm Goetzl
Words by: William Carey Duncan
Cover artist: Unknown

On February 17, 1919 approximately 1200 people gathered at the Cohan and Harris Theatre at 226 W. 42nd St. in New York to see the Royal Vagabond produced by George M. Cohan and Sam H. Harris. The theater was designed by Thomas W. Lamb and built by Coca-Cola magnate Asa Candler in 1914 and was originally called the Candler theater. In 1919 it was leased to George M. Cohan and Sam H. Harris until 1920, when Cohan and Harris ended their partnership and Harris kept the theatre, renaming it for himself. In 1926, Harris sold it to the Shuberts, who lost it in their 1933 bankruptcy claim. It became a movie house from 1933 to 1978. It was demolished in 1996 to make way for the New 42nd Street Theater. (Theater history from the Internet Broadway Database.) The music for this show was largely written by Goetzl but Cohan also wrote some songs for the production. The show ran for a very respectable 208 performances, ending in August of 1919. The cast included a large number of major performers from the era including; Tessa Costa, Francis Demarest, John Goldsworthy, and Robinson Newbold.

 

The show is listed as an opera-musical. This song is certainly more in the "musical" mode than operatic. It is through composed and has a really pleasant melody line and is scored fully rather than being a "dumbed down" version. The song is subtitled, Love Is Love and that is the thrust of the story told by the lyrics. If the rest of the music from this play is as engaging as this one, it is easy to see why the show went on for over 200 performances.

 

Anselm Goetzl ( b.?? - d. 1923) was well known as a producer, arranger, composer and conductor. He wrote three Broadway productions; Aphrodite (1919), The Gold Diggers (1919) and The Royal Vagabond also in 1919 and wrote incidental music for The Wanderer in 1917. He also appeared as conductor or producer for several other Broadway shows. One of Goetzl's works, Aphrodite Waltz was the theme song for the radio version of The Guiding Light from 1937 to 1947 Among his songs that were recorded or became individual hits were; Aphrodite (1919), Dear Little Rose Girl (1920), There Comes Some Day (1920) and When Our Sundays are Blue (1920).

 

Listen to this great old Broadway song ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



The Love Nest

1920



Music by: Louis A. Hirsch
Words by: Julian Mitchell
Cover artist: Unknown

 

As a producer and writer of Broadway plays, few can rival the output of George M. Cohan during the first four decades of the 20th century. Cohan produced shows almost every year from 1901 to 1940 and in some years produced as many as six. Among his many productions was Mary which opened at the Knickerbocker Theater on October 18, 1920 and closed the following April after 220 performances. A musical comedy in two acts the play is set in the reception hall and garden of the Long Island home of Mrs. Keene played by Georgia Kane (1876 - 1964.) The cast also included several other notable performers; Jack McGowan (1884 -1977) as Jack Keene, James Marlowe (1865 - 1926) as Mr. Goddard and Charles Judels (1882 - 1969) as Gaston Marceau.

 

The song is a duet between Mary (Sybilla Bowen) and Jack (McGowan). The verse is a rather simple and somewhat minimal melody that serves as an introduction to the main thought of the song. Sounding very much like a show tune, the verse fails to prepare us for the chorus that follows. The chorus begins with the marking "in a lilting manner" and there is no way you could play or sing the fabulous melody in any other way. The music becomes more lush and full and through the use of triplets, staccato notes and contrasts in phrases, the composer has given us a real musical treat. Though sometimes I want to make very song we feature a "discovery of the month," I can't. Regardless, this one ranks right up there among the best. You can't help but smile on hearing this wonderful duet. If it sounds familiar, this song was once the themesong for George Burns and Gracie Allen's radio show.

 

Louis A. Hirsch (b. 1887, New York City., d. 1924, New York City) In his senior year at City College of New York, Louis, a native New Yorker, went to Europe for a few months. His ambition was to be a concert pianist, and so he wanted to study at Berlin's Stern Conservatory, with pianist Rafael Joseffy. He returned to the U.S. in 1906, but turned his efforts to more practical ends. Hirsch started working in the Tin Pan Alley publishing houses of Gus Edwards, and Shapiro-Bernstein. He also began to write some of his own music.

His first assignment was writing music for the Lew Dockstader's Minstrels. From 1907 to 1909, some of his tunes were included in various Broadway shows, including The Gay White Way, Miss Innocence and The Girl and the Wizard. In 1911, Hirsh wrote the score for the Revue of Revues, which introduced French star Gaby Deslys to Americans. The 1911 production Vera Violetta was his first major success. Starring relative unknown, Al Jolson, this production helped propel Jolson to stardom. Gaby Deslys was

In 1912 Hirsch was hired by the Schuberts and as a result he was involved in a number of successful productions with them including, The Whirl of Society, 1912, also starring Al Jolson; The Passing Show of 1912; Always Together, and The Wedding Guide.

In 1913, Hirsch quit the Schuberts, and traveled to England, only to return to the US at the start of WW1. He went to work for Florenz Ziegfeld. Working mainly with lyricist Gene Buck, he wrote songs four several productions of the famed Ziegfeld Follies. Among his many hits are; Sweet Kentucky Lady, (MIDI) 1914; Hello Frisco!, 1915, Going Up (Scorch format) from the musical of the same name in 1917; and the 1920 hit Love Nest perhaps Hirsch's most successful song, which later became the Burns and Allen radio show theme. Louis Hirsch died in New York City, in 1924, of pneumonia

 

Listen to this great duet (Scorch format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



The Land I Love

1920



Music by: Raymond Hubbell
Words by: R. H. Burnside
Cover artist: Unknown

 

The musical spectacle Good Times appeared on Broadway at the Hippodrome Theater on August 9, 1920. This show is this month's long run winner with 456 performances taking place up to its closing on April 30, 1921. The cast included two sets of sisters, the Berlo sisters and the four Rose sisters, Bertha, Elsie, Emma and Louise. The Rose sisters seemed to never appear in any other Broadway show and the Berlo's fared only slightly better having appeared in the 1922-23 sequel to Good Times titled appropriately enough, Better Times (which also enjoyed a run of over 400 performances.) Also in the cast were the Bell Brothers and several teams of performers and one "Happy" Jack Lambert. As a "spectacle," Good Times was not bound to any particular story line so the music could cover a vast range of songs.

 

The Land I Love is a patriotic song that sings the praises of America in the typical march style of many patriotic works. The lyrics remind us of our strong heritage of doing what is right against all odds. The melody is quite nice but the ostinato accompaniment tends to get a little tiresome as the song progresses. However, coming from the pen of Hubbell, it is still a great work. See the above bio on Hubbell.

 

Listen to this patriotic Broadway song. ( Printable using the Scorch plug-in)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics



So This Is Love

1923



Words and Music by: E. Ray Goetz
Cover artist: Unknown, photographer credit unreadable.

 

By the 1920's the Tin Pan Alley days of Broadway were fading and America was entering a new era of music with the Jazz Age and "modern times." Of course Broadway continued and still does in providing us with nostalgia, fabulous stage works and musicals that delight. Once in a while, one of the "old" shows will be revived but we've moved on now to more contemporary subjects and more daring stories. On August 28, 1923 some 900 spectators filed into the Lyceum theater on 45th street in New York to witness the premiere of Little Miss Bluebeard. The show was quite successful with 175 performances before closing in January of 1924. The Lyceum by the way was built in 1902 and was the first NY theater to gain National Landmark status in 1974. Among the cast was Irene Bordoni (1895 - 1953) who is headlined in bold print on the sheet music cover. Bordoni, a native of France was a regular on the Broadway circuit from 1913 to 1941 though she was absent from the stage from 1929 till 1939 during which time she headed to Hollywood to star in films. According to the NY Times, Bordoni was one of the first Broadway stars to "heed the call of the newly vocalized Hollywood." Unfortunately, as the Times' biography states;

"Usually described as 'piquant,' Bordoni's rolling eyes, pursed lips, comedic hauteur, and voluminous gowns were rather too flamboyant for the screen, however, and despite a couple of Cole Porter numbers, neither she nor her British leading man, the brittle Jack Buchanan, found favor with the movie-going audience."
After her poor showing in film, Bordoni vowed to return to Broadway and regain her fame. And she did.

The song from this show, This is Love is a waltz ballad and honestly, not the best example of Goetz's work. It has a nice melody and I'm sure came off as a nice ballad.

 

E. Ray Goetz (b, 1886, Buffalo, NY - d. 1954 Greenwich, CT) Goetz was primarily a lyricist and producer and was responsible for some of America's greatest song hits. His most famous song was For Me And My Gal (1917, Scorch format) with Sam M. Lewis and Edgar Leslie and his most famous stage production, Fifty Million Frenchmen (1929) with the great Cole Porter. Among his other hit songs are Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula (from the 1916 production Robinson Crusoe Junior, MIDI format). Though many popular songs came from his pen, his main contribution was as a producer. During his career, he staged a large number of shows including the 1907 Ziegfeld Follies, two editions of George White's Scandals and two editions of Hitchy-Koo. His last major stage production was in 1929.

 

Listen to this love song. (Scorch format)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics


This article published December, 2005 and is Copyright © 2005 by Richard A. Reublin and The Parlor Songs Academy Text, images or music may not be reproduced in part or in total without express written permission of the author or an officer of the corporation. Though the songs published on this site are often in the Public Domain, MIDI renditions are protected by copyright as recorded performances.

 

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