Friday, April 10, 2015

Billy Rose's Jumbo!

 Jumbo first appeared on Broadway,
a huge circus show starring Jimmy Durante,
music by Rogers & Hart,
and staged at the New York Hippodrome in 1935.
Paul Whiteman's orchestra provided the instrumentation.

 It was the last musical produced at the Hippodrome,
which was torn down just three year's later.
At the end of every Jumbo performance, 
Jimmy would lay down on the stage and allow an elephant
to place its foot on his head.

 In 1962, Jimmy Durante again starred in the MGM movie version,
though the plot was much different.
He played Pop Wonder, and Doris Day, his daughter Kitty.

 Additional Rogers & Hart songs were added,
like "This Can't Be Love".  Despite the luscious tunes
and impressive choreography/stunts staged by Busby Berkeley,
the movie lost almost $4 million, due to the cost of production.

 Stephen Boyd played opposite Doris,
though his singing voice was dubbed by James Joyce.
(Not THEE James Joyce.  I mean, I don't think HE could sing.)

 Martha Raye (right) joined the cast as Lulu,
Pop's long-suffering fiancee.

Jumbo was Doris' last movie musical...
she would go on to do movies with
Rock Hudson, James Garner and Rod Taylor.

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