Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! This week, we’re celebrating composer Richard Rodgers, whose anniversary of birth is Friday, with a rare one-off radio show called Let’s Have Fun. Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart wrote two original songs for this program, broadcast on October 22, 1935 (during Jumbo rehearsals), for a portion of the show that contained an original musical starring Ken Murray as a crooner who’s — shades of A Connecticut Yankee (1927) — sent back by a scientist (Romney Brent) to the time of Cleopatra of Egypt (Helen Morgan). Although Morgan scored with her number (“Please Make Me Be Good”), Murray’s performance was considered lacking, and a poor reception overall nixed all pans to make this a regular series. (A second episode had been drafted about Columbus and Isabella).
But, despite the lousy reviews, I know you Rodgers & Hart lovers still want to hear Let’s Have Fun anyway, so here it is. (Also, for you Helen Morgan nuts, she gives us another rendition of Why Was I Born?, which the famed torch singer first introduced in 1929’s Sweet Adeline.) Link.
Finally, both songs from Let’s Have Fun were repurposed two years later for the June 13, 1937 broadcast of The Chase And Sanborn Hour. Here’s “I’ll Take A Little Of You On Toast,” as it was rewritten for Don Ameche, Dorothy Lamour, and Charlie McCarthy (yes, the dummy). Also, Richard Rodgers is on the piano. It’s a lot of fun (click the link above)!
Come back next week for another Wildcard post! And stay tuned Tuesday for more Raymond!