Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The Deservedly Unknown Cole Porter

Courtesy of The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter, here are some Cole Porter song lyrics that you probably won't be hearing in De-Lovely:

And that's why Chinks do it, Japs do it,
Up in Lapland, little Lapps do it,
Let's do it, let's fall in love.
(first refrain of "Let's Do It")

I'm already in the kitchen fryin' chicken,
And I hear Paw givin' Maw her daily lickin'.
("The Ozarks are Callin' Me Home", Red Hot and Blue)

When the owl stops blinking
And the lamb stops bleating,
When the Irish cease drinking
And the Scotch have begun treating...
When the mad Duck Donald
Gets over his crazy quirks,
When Benito stops
Giving the Wops the works...
When the Chinks stop suey
And the Tammany tiger stops Dewey,
When it's all over and through,
That's when Poppa stops loving you.
("When the Hen Stops Laying," cut from Leave it to Me)

There's a slant-eyed doll
Called Tokyo Moll,
She was last year's Miss Japan.
And when her hips
Do Nipponese nips,
Can she wave her fan?
Yes, she can!
("Come On In," Dubarry Was a Lady)

You'll soon see spics and gringos
In the dicty sumps,
Mixin' lingos,
Not to mention bumps!
("The Good-Will Movement," Mexican Hayride)

Howdy, Maryland,
You're lookin' good.
Hail, Queen of Fairyland,
How's Hollywood?
("The Good-Will Movement")

Hopefully no one will draw the conclusion that Porter was a bad, bad man; standards were different then. Still, anyone reviving "Dubarry Was a Lady" is not going to be able to use the line quoted above. I think an Encores! concert version changed "Nipponese nips" to "Decorous dips," which is a really good change, since it preserves the alliteration. "Let's Do It" is a tougher case, because the preferred solution -- replacing the opening lines with "Birds do it, bees do it" (adapted from lines in a later refrain of the song) -- spoils Porter's scheme of building each refrain around a theme (the first refrain is supposed to be about various nationalities). But Porter never came up with new lines for that opening, so I guess we're stuck with "Birds do it." By the way, I believe Billie Holliday was the last person to record the song with the original lyrics.

No comments: