Sunday, May 10, 2009


By Dale Harrison
New York, Mar. 24 (AP)

All Rudy Vallee has to do to make a name for himself – again – is to write a theme song for prosperity.

President Hoover handed the megaphone maestro the assignment yesterday when Vallee called at the White House to pay his respects.

“Mr. Hoover smilingly told me,” Vallee said, “that if I could sing a song that would make people forget their troubles, he would give me a medal.”

The idea of a serenade to the goddess of plenty – “Cornucopia Here We Come” was a title one song writer thought up, quick as a flash – bounded around Tin Pan Alley to-day like a ball on a roulette wheel looking for a good number to land on.

One of the more talkative, if possible, piano-pushers broke into a cold sweat at what he frankly confessed was the first inspiration he had had since he did that smash, “Ducky-Wucky, Don’t Youse Leave Me No Mo’.”

“It would be surefire,” he explained, fumbling for a handkerchief and coming up with the laundry bill.

“A wow,” said another, clamping his hoof down on the loud pedal and whaling the keyboard with all the delicacy of a circus roustabout driving a tent stake.

The more mature minds among the music makers, however, mulled the matter. They recognized the task would be no light one. Finding rhymes for “moon” (croon, spoon, June) and “love” (above, turtle dove, above) is (tssch tssch!) a simple matter. A rhyme for “reconstruction finance corporation” is not so easy.

Tin Pan Alley is not a thoroughfare to curl up and roll away at the first breeze of an idea, some erudite persons to the contrary notwithstanding. It began casting about to-day for the kind of lyrics that would definitely launch America down the way of happiness.

Prosperity lyrics suddenly were thicker than Mississippi mud. A tune tinker who had been at work on a “wow” titled “Without You, Dear Elaine, In Spain In The Rain,” tore it up and began humming madly.

“I’ve got it,” he exulted. Then he sang:

“Do not say you can’t afford it.
Spend your dough old pal, don’t hoard it.”

“That’s terrible,” kibitzed a companion in chromatic crime. “Listen to this:

“Oh, it’s just around the corner, bay-bee.
Prosperity, and I ain’t meanin’ may-bee.”

“That’s great,” shouted another juggernaut of jazz. “And you could go on with:

“From Maine to Alabamy,
Ev’ry uncle, aunt and mammy,
Ev’ry trade, ev’ry profession
Hollers ‘down with the depression’”

Thus it went. The idea was at work in Tin Pan Alley, biting this song writer and that. About all they needed were four more lines and then a smash finale to give the tenors a chance to show their gold teeth on a high note. These were quickly provided by a newcomer who, catching the idea, contributed:

“Oh say can you see
Anything that’s bothering me?
I’m so happy I could sing
'Whoops my dear,' or anything.”

Whereupon all the others, struck by the same amazing inspiration for a last climactic line, shouted in unison:

“Here comes pros-per-i-tee!”

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