Friday, December 24, 2004

Depressing Songs, Further Cont.

Another favorite among the great Depressing Songs of the American songbook is "You Mustn't Be Discouraged," the only really memorable song in a rather disappointing 1964 musical called Fade Out/Fade In. A vehicle for Carol Burnett, co-starring Jack Cassidy, written by Comden and Green, with music by Jule Styne, and directed by George Abbott really ought to be better than this was, but Comden and Green has declined quite a bit since their '50s prime (Singin' in the Rain, Wonderful Town, Bells Are Ringing), Styne used most of his best tunes that year for Funny Girl, and the plot -- Burnett tries to make it in '30s Hollywood -- was sort of an inferior talkie-era version of the authors' Singin' in the Rain.

Anyway, the best number in the show was "You Mustn't Feel Discouraged," where Burnett (dressed as Shirley Temple) duetted with Tiger Haynes (dressed as Bill Robinson) in what sounds like a '30s-style upbeat, things-will-get-better song... unless you listen closely to some of the lyrics:

When you think you've hit the bottom
And you're feeling mighty low,
You mustn't feel discouraged --
There's always one step further down you can go.
When you're lying in the gutter,
Feeling just a bit unsure,
Just think about tomorrow --
You may be lying face-first down in the sewer.
Don't be afraid of a little raindrop,
That don't mean nothin', bud.
Just remember, one little raindrop
Started the Jonestown Flood
(In Pennsylvania).
When you're sleeping on a park bench
Eating grass 'cause you've no dough,
Your luck will change manana --
You may be six feet under, helping it grow.
So just remember when you're lower than low,
There's always one step further down you can go.

Don't be afraid of a little rumble,
What's that, for goodness sake?
Just remember, one little rumble
Started the 'Frisco Quake.
(In Pennsylvania?)
When you're sleeping on a park bench
Eating grass 'cause you've no dough,
Your luck will change manana --
You may be six feet under, helping it grow.
So just remember when you're lower than low,
There's always one step further down you can go.


This number, with Burnett doing a hilarious Shirley Temple act, stopped the show every night, and is still fondly remembered by people who (like my Dad) didn't find the rest of the show at all memorable.

2 comments:

patricia said...

The JOHNSTOWN flood.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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