Welcome to a new Musical Theatre Monday and the conclusion of our series of posts on the musical comedy works of lyricists B.G. DeSylva and Lew Brown with composer Ray Henderson. Their most famous work is Good News! (1927), which we covered here two years ago, and in this past few weeks we’ve featured the trio’s other scores: Manhattan Mary (1927), Hold Everything! (1928), Follow Thru (1929), and Flying High (1930). Last week we highlighted a collaboration between only Brown and Henderson in Strike Me Pink (1933). Today we’re looking at something Lew Brown did without his two former partners . . .
VI. Yokel Boy (07/06/39 – 01/06/40)
Lew Brown wrote, produced, and directed this Hillbilly to Hollywood story (bearing a lot of similarities to Rodgers and Hart’s America’s Sweetheart) with Charles Tobias and Sam H. Sept as co-lyricist and composer, respectively. The production starred Buddy Ebsen and Lois January as the romantic leads, with Judy Canova as the bumpkin belter and young Phil Silvers as the rave-earning comic relief. The film rights were secured, but the 1942 motion picture featured an overhauled plot and few of the stage show’s musical delights. Yes, delights — for although this score isn’t among the era’s best, there are a couple of cute tunes with a pop (of 1939) appeal. The score’s big hit was Canova’s fun “Comes Love.” The rendition below is an unreleased radio performance by Broadway star Wynn Murray.
January got the appropriately romantic “Let’s Make Memories Tonight,” which is sung below by Kenny Baker (whom you may see on this blog eventually when we cover the best of The Jack Benny Program.)
Several other supporting players got moments to shine. Mark Plant’s Blacksmith had the wistfully eloquent “I Can’t Afford To Dream,” played below by Artie Shaw’s orchestra.
Meanwhile Dixie Dunbar got the incredibly catchy “It’s Me Again.” Here’s Bob Zurke & His Delta Rhythm Band.
And we’ll close today’s post with an original cast recording! Here’s Judy Canova with “(Time For) Jukin,'” which featured music by Walter Kent.
Come back next Monday for another musical! And tune in tomorrow for the best from the fourth season of Mama’s Family!