My favorite wordsmiths! Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the masters of musical comedy...a 6 decade partnership that brought us On the Town, Do Re Mi, Bells Are Ringing, and so many more. A dame from Brooklyn and a Joe from da Bronx met up in 1938 and formed an alliance with Judy Holliday and Leonard Bernstein, "The Reveuers," that would take them from the Village Vanguard down there in "GREEEEN"-wich Village (as a character in On the Town would call it) to the stratosphere of Broadway and Hollywood Musicals.
They wrote the books and lyrics for several now-iconic musicals and then there were the MGM screenplays they created: Singin' in the Rain ("Cosmo, call me a cab! Okay, you're a cab!"), The Bandwagon, Good News, and Take Me Out to the Ball Game, just to name a few. They wrote lyrics to the music of the best of them: Bernstein, Styne and Coleman. They were NOT married to each other, they just had a bond. When asked, Betty said that she would sit at a typewriter, Adolph would pace, and by the end of the day, they really couldn't remember who had written what. Comden was the realist, the down-to-earth one...Green the dreamer, the clown. At one of their early Revuers' performances, on stage in a nightclub, they were met with silence at the end of their act. As they were exiting, one lone audience member clapped...TWICE. "Hey, they like us!," says Green, at which point Comden had to physically drag him off the stage before he started an encore.
They loved SHOW. Maybe that line they wrote for Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain says it all about all their strivings:
"If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though
our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'."
New York, New York (Adolph Green, Cris Alexander, John Battles, On the Town)
You Got Me (Adolph Green, Nancy Walker, Betty Comden, ensemble, On the Town)
Carried Away (Betty Comden, Adolph Green, On the Town)
Pass That Football (Jordan Bentley, Wonderful Town)
A Hundred Ways to Lose a Man (Rosalind Russell, Wonderful Town)
Drop That Name (Judy Holliday, Ensemble, Bells Are Ringing)
I'm Going Back (Judy Holliday, Bells Are Ringing)
It's Good to be Back Home (Carol Burnett, Fade Out - Fade In)
I'm Just Taking My Time (Sydney Chaplin, Subways Are For Sleeping)
Waiting, Waiting (Nancy Walker, Do Re Mi)
Ambition (Phil Silvers, Nancy Dussault, Do Re Mi)
Smile, Smile (Leslie Uggams, Robert Hooks, Marilyn Cooper, Hallelujah, Baby!)
I Don't Know Where She Got It (Marilyn Cooper, Hallelujah, Baby!)
Five Zeros (John Cullum, George Coe, Imogene Coca, On the Twentieth
Captain Hook's Waltz (Cyril Ritchard, Peter Pan)
Never Never Land (Mary Martin, Peter Pan)