This is eerie. I sat down intending to post a song from the musical Jamaica, "The Monkey In the Mango Tree," sung by Ricardo Montalban -- and then I see that Ricardo Montalban died today at the age of 88. Of course the eeriness isn't what's important; what matters is that he was an excellent actor and personality who was always a pleasure to see, regardless of the project. He gave a lot of good performances at MGM despite the limited range of roles available to him (he got more diverse roles in television, where he was able to play parts like Khan that weren't specifically ethnic). He just kept on giving entertaining performances, year after year, decade after decade, onscreen and in voice-over almost literally right up until the end of his long life.
He got a Tony nomination for Jamaica, one of the most obscure hit musicals ever: it ran over 500 performances back when that was still a highly successful, profit-making run, but the version that came onto Broadway (after much rewriting and recasting) basically had no script left, and ran on the strength of Lena Horne, Montalban, and the sets and songs and choreography. There's been no revival of it because there's nothing left to revive, but the Harold Arlen/Yip Harburg score produced one of my very favorite cast albums. Arlen and Harburg weren't exactly at their best -- Horne expressed disappointment that none of the songs became classics -- but I can't resist the mixture of calypso-flavored tunes and satirical lyrics by two of the all-time great songwriters.
In this song, the most calypso-influenced and satirical in the whole show, Montalban is given a song and a role that was intended for Harry Belafonte. (When he didn't do the show but Lena Horne was available, the whole thing was rewritten around the character of the hero's girlfriend; that's why it was such a mess.) He manages to do well with it, as he always did with whatever he was given.