Which Easter Parade Is Best, by Rich Paschall
It seems that it was good to be “all in clover” a century ago. It meant that you were doing quite well. Your cows were likely in a field of clover, not just some lousy grass or hay. They were eating well, and so were you, apparently. While I am “dressed to the nines” (another phrase that has gone out of use), you will be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade. Don’t forget to wear your bonnet. You do have an Easter bonnet, don’t you?
America’s grandest songwriter, Irving Berlin, had a song for every occasion. He made the most of quite a number of songs by recycling them through plays and movies. Easter Parade was no exception. In fact, the melody started out as another song. In 1917 Irving Berlin wrote “Smile and Show Your Dimple” to cheer up a girl whose man has gone off to war. That would be World War I. Click on the title if you really want to hear the song and corny lyrics.
In 1933 a reworked tune and new lyrics became “Easter Parade” for Marilyn Miller and Clifton Webb in the Broadway musical “As Thousands Cheer.” It got its first movie home in 1938’s Alexander’s Ragtime Band, with Don Ameche singing and Tyrone Power pretending to lead the orchestra:
It famously came back around in the movie “Holiday Inn” in 1942. That film featured a song for every holiday. This time Bing Crosby did the honors.
Like other Berlin songs, this one was so popular it needed a whole movie built around it. “Easter Parade” stars Fred Astaire, and Judy Garland wears the Easter bonnet.
Others had a go at it too. Which one is best?