Friday, November 07, 2008

YANKEE DOODLE DANDY'S PREMIERE




On this date in 1904, the song classic "Yankee Doodle Dandy" was first heard sung from the Broadway stage in a musical written by George M. Cohan. The musical was called "Little Johnny Jones" and although the musical only eighty-two performances, the song of course went on to an amazing popularity. What is interesting is that what we hear today is only the "Chorus" of the song. John Nugent and I have completed a new musical that features a lost George M. Cohan musical discovered by Dominican Nuns who have taken up residence in an abandoned Broadway Theatre and in order to stay in this historical must produce a musical there. What great fun it should be. We also hear that there is in the works a Betty Boop musical in 2010. Betty Boop of course was an amazing star of Max Fleshier who competed with Walt Disney in the making of animated cartoons. What most people do not know is that Max Flesher actually would have been the first producer of a full length cartoon feature back in December of 1937. Max had produced a full length feature cartoon in that time called "Gulliver's Travels". This is a most beautiful picture. The reason that "Snow White" became the first feature animated cartoon was that Walt Disney was an independent producer and Max Fliesher was part of Paramount and Adolph Zukor. Zukor thought the notion of a full length cartoon was absolutely insane and he blocked the release of this amazing animated film thus denying Fleishier of being "the first" with a full length animated cartoon. Sad news also: the musical "A Tale of Two Cities" will close November 16th after only sixty-eight performances. Amazingly the Al Hirschfield theatre will put on a new production of 1967's Hair. It's composer Galt MacDermott is still alive at EIGHTY years old. We shall see what we shall see. My partner John says it just won't work because it never has succeeded in a revival before. It opened in 1967 and ran three years, but is so ingrained to the class and culture of the 1960's that there is just no way a younger audience will get it. A Revival in 1978 totally bombed. Well, good luck with that, boys. You are going to spend a lot of money putting this on. By the way, just in case you are curious, here are ALL the words to the song "Yankee Doodle Dandy" which is actually called "The Yankee Doodle Boy" by Cohan's own title on his show music.
Verse 1
I'm the kid that's all the candy,
I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy,
I'm glad I am,
So's Uncle Sam.
I'm a real live Yankee Doodle,
Made my name and fame and boodle,
Just like Mister Doodle did, by riding on a pony.
I love to listen to the Dixie strain,
I long to see the girl I left behind me;
That ain't a josh, She's a Yankee, by gosh.
Oh, say can you see,
Anything about a Yankee that's a phony?
Verse 2
Father's name was Hezikiah,
Mother's name was Ann Maria,
Yanks through and through.
Red, White and Blue
Father was so Yankee-hearted,
When the Spanish War was started,
He slipped on a uniform and hopped upon a pony.
My mother's mother was a Yankee true,
My father's father was a Yankee too:
That's going some,
For the Yankees, by gum.
Oh, say can you see
Anything about my pedigree that's phony?
Chorus
I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy,
A Yankee Doodle, do or die;
A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam's,
Born on the Fourth of July
I've got a Yankee Doodle sweetheart,
She's my Yankee Doodle joy.
Yankee Doodle came to London, just to ride the ponies;
I am the Yankee Doodle Boy.
Oh well-- who said the verse ever saved a song?--especially in the early 1900's? By the way the picture of George M. Cohan in this blog entry was taken in 1933. Bye for now!

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