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?

Where’s the clover?

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 lyric.

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?

Categories: Entertainment, Music, old movies, Rich Paschall

Tags: , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. Rich, thank you for this backgrounder on “Easter Parade”.

    Marilyn Miller & Clifton Webb – a nice duo for their time. I didn’t realize Webb was a Broadway hoofer until I read the Hal Wallis bio a few years ago.

    We will probably watch Judy, Fred, Peter, Ann & Jules tomorrow. Do you have a 45 of Peter singing “I’m Just The Fella With The Umbrella”?

    Tonight, our annual vigil with Chuck, Yul, Eddie G, Vincent and CECIL B. Gonna see if I can pick out Clint Walker who has a bit role.

    So let it be written, so let it be done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to like the Cecil B DeMille epic every year, but it has now been reduced to every few years due to its length.
      I too was surprised that Cliffton Webb was a Broadway hoofer. I think of him in Laura or as John Philip Sousa. There is a recording of Webb singing Easter Paarade, no video.

      Liked by 1 person

      • We have similar likes.

        Webb’s sinister and acerbic radio commentator in “Laura” – one of those films I watch a LOT.

        He’s also good in “Stars & Stripes Forever”, “Titanic” (the ’53 version w/ Barbara Stanwyck and a young Robert Wagner), “:The Man Who Never Was”, The Belvedere flicks w/ little George “Foghorn” Wilson (?).

        I’m enjoying Chuckie and the gang. I appreciate DeMille’s over the top pontification. The special effects were pretty good for its time.

        Yes, it’s a long movie. But, par for the course, for today’s regular features.

        So let it be written. So let it be done.

        Liked by 1 person

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