born Irving Lahrheim in NYC in 1895,
dropped out of school at the age of 15 to join a Vaudeville act.
His debut on Broadway came in 1927 in
and he wow'ed 'em 1 year later in Hold Everything!
Cast as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz
(that was his 17th movie),
Bert had to suffer through several takes...
his own fault, really,
because Judy G and Ray B kept laughing at his antics!
When warned that Hollywood had a habit of typecasting actors,
Lahr replied, "Yeah, but how many parts are there for lions?
In 1951, Bert played many roles
in Two On The Aisle, a musical revue,
with Dolores Gray and Kaye Ballard,
including Queen Victoria (above).
We'll hear his classic "The Clown"
written by Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
Yowza! A gorge Doris Day
who'll sing "Lullaby Of Broadway" for us...
Doris began her recording career in 1939,
and prior to her film career,
recorded over 650 songs,
with Les Brown's band and on her own.
She'd go on to do more than 3 dozen films
over 20 albums, and host her own television show.
A gif of a gif...
Donald O'Connor was 27 years old,
with a rubber face and a 4 pack-a-day smoking habit
when he filmed "Make Em Laugh" for Singin' In The Rain.
He debuted on the "silver screen" when he was 11,
in It Can't Last Forever.
But it seemed to, cuz DOC went on to do almost 60 films,
Broadway and television.
Donald passed away in 2003, at the age of 78.
Judy Garland ("Taffeta, darling!")
and a super-moussed Gene Kelly
in The Pirate.
Before there was "Make Em Laugh",
there was "Be A Clown"...
yup, pretty much the same melody, dressed in different lyrics.
Cole Port wrote "Clown" in 1948
and didn't say BOO when Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown
stole the tune, just a couple of years later,
for use in Singin' In The Rain.
Stanley Donen (who co-directed Rain with Gene K)
called it, "100% plagiarism."
jazz singer of the 30s, 40s and 50s,
sang with the Leo Reisman Orchestra,
Paul Whiteman, Eddie Condon, and the Casa Loma Orchestra.
We'll hear her "Manhattan"
from Night in Manhattan,
a 1951 release, recorded with Bobby Hackett,
Joe Bushkin, Stan Freeman, and Cy Walter.
And then we'll hear Maurice Chevalier
and a song from The Big Pond (1930),
in which he starred with Claudette Colbert.
A French version was filmed simultaneously,
both done at the Astoria Studios in Queens.
Maurice received an Academy Award nomination,
for Best Actor
and got to sing a couple of real goodies,
including "You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me."
Of course it didn't take long for Maurice to be parodied;
just 1 year later, the Marx Brothers made
where in an attempt to leave a cruise ship without a passport,
they steal Maurice's and pretend to be him,
by lip-synching to that song.
So in other words, the song is now tattooed on my brain
as a Marx Brothers skit,
not a Chevalier romancer.