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MMD > Archives > July 2010 > 2010.07.26 > 08Prev  Next


Tunes from "Show Boat" on Caliola Roll 6122
By Mark Forer

T.J. Fisher need not apologize for "wasting fellow subscribers' time"
with esoterica pertaining to music rolls and the musical, "Show Boat."
Since those topics are two of my favorite subjects, I thought I'd spend
some of my time (at 2:23 in the morning here in California) posting
a response that I'm hoping will delight and fascinate Mr. Fisher even
more.

"Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-Der-E" (the correct spelling) did appear in the early
1927 tryout rehearsal versions of "Show Boat", albeit briefly as
Magnolia's debut song at the Trocadero.  According to star Norma
Terris, who originally portrayed Magnolia on Broadway (as researched
by Miles Kreuger, musical historian and author of the definitive work,
"Show Boat: The Story of a Classic American Musical", Oxford University
Press, NY, 1977), she had been assigned the song but it "lacked the
poignance needed within the plot itself and was replaced by 'After The
Ball'" (it was never featured in the Broadway production or anywhere
else).

This could be why the roll included "Take Me Out To The Ball Game"
to which T.J. Fisher refers.  Could it be that the roll arranger, Ralph
Tussing, simply remembered the wrong number with "Ball" in the title
and included it in error?

As far as "Dance Away The Night" goes, that number was written for the
May 3, 1928, London production opening (Theatre Royal Drury Lane) and
it never appeared in any American version.  It was a completely new
song, written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, to be sung by
American singer Edith Day as Magnolia.  It replaced a reprise of "Why
Do I Love You" featured in the Broadway version sung by Norma Terris.
The tune popped up again in a 1971 London revival, this time sung by
Frank (American Kenneth Nelson).

How Tussing came to incorporate this number into Caliola 6122 is
anyone's guess.  Was he ever in London to see the show?  While there,
did he pick up a copy of the London production's score?  Or did a copy
fall into his hands simply by chance here in the States?

"I Might Fall Back On You" started its life in the 1927 Philadelphia
tryout, remained during the show's opening at the Ziegfeld Theater on
December 27, 1927, (and throughout its monumental run) but was deleted
in many subsequent versions thereafter.

Curiously, "Dance Away The Night" appears in another Norma Terris
vehicle -- this time a movie from 1928, the now lost William Fox
musical "Married In Hollywood."  (Only a 12-minute fragment from the
final (color) reel preserved at UCLA remains.)  The tune, written by
Oscar Strauss, has nothing to do with "Show Boat" yet is sung by Norma
Terris (here in a double role as "Mary Lou Hopkins/Mitzi Hofman"!).

Writing from aboard the "Cotton Blossom Floating Palace Theatre,"

Mark Forer


(Message sent Mon 26 Jul 2010, 09:44:05 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  6122, Boat, Caliola, Roll, Show, Tunes

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