Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Treasure Trove

Update: Thanks to a commenter for pointing out that the clips at that YouTube account are in fact lifted from the site, the online musical theatre archive.

I hadn't known about that site before, because I am dumb. So (as I said) the material was new to me. But the point remains that it's great to have this stuff online and if you get a chance, go to and look at what they've got. And while I regret mistakenly giving some YouTube user the praise for someone else's hard work, well, that's what the internet is for -- making mistakes that you can't get sued for.

For an example of what you can find, there's more Susan Johnson in The Most Happy Fella. You can never have enough Susan Johnson.


Check this out before the copyright complaints start and the account gets shut down: a YouTube user called "soulgrrl" has, within the last week, posted dozens of clips from Broadway musicals from the Ed Sullivan Show. (The account also has other Broadway performances from variety shows, award shows, and the like.) It may be that others have seen this material before, but much of it is new to me, and it's great, even with that time-ticker thingie at the bottom of the screen.

The clips uploaded are not just the hit shows and songs that often get excerpted in best-of-Broadway or best-of-Sullivan compilations, but obscure cult flops like Ankles Aweigh and The Gay Life and moderate successes like Destry Rides Again and Golden Boy. Amazing stuff. So thanks to "soulggrl," whoever he/she is.

It's hard to choose one or two clips from this treasure trove, but here are two. From a hit, Dick Van Dyke performing the original "Put On a Happy Face" number from Bye Bye Birdie:

And from a worthy flop, Donnybrook! a musical version of The Quiet Man with songs by the great veteran pop lyricist Johnny Burke (writing his own music), two songs, starting with the show's best song, "I Wouldn't Bet One Penny" sung by Eddie Foy Jr. (playing the Barry Fitzgerald part) and Broadway's greatest singer, Susan Johnson (playing a part added for the play; Susan Johnson always played people who didn't have a lot to do with the plot).

Also, Foy's line "I'm under your spell" is a cleaned-up verion of the line from the show, "Damn it to hell." Ah, the days when you couldn't say "Damn" and "hell" in prime time. I don't miss them at all.


Anonymous said...

And one that you may not know but will enjoy, here is Lilian Harvey singing "Das gibt's nur einmal" from the great german musical "Kongress Tanzt," complete with a tracking shot that is, for its time, every bit as impressive as those of Wells and Altman. The film is worth tracking down too.

Anonymous said...


Eddie Jetson said...

wow, DVD before he was a fixture in life... hard to imagine a time when everyone didn't know his name... thanks for the link