The Cat and the Fiddle (1934)


CREDITS
BACKGROUND
PLOT
REVIEWS
RECORDINGS
MUSIC IN THE FILM
TRIVIA


MGM.
Released February 16, 1934.
Directed by William K. Howard.
Retakes by Sam Wood.
Produced by Bernie Hyman and William K. Howard.
92 minutes.
Finale in three-strip Technicolor.

French title: Le Chat et le Canari (The Cat and the Canary)

From the operetta by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach. Screenplay: Samuel and Bella Spewack. Music Director: Herbert Stothart. Art Director: Alexander Toluboff. Interiors: Edwin B. Willis. Gowns: Adrian. Photography: Harold Rosson and Charles Clarke. Editor: Frank Hull. Assistant Director: Lesley Selander. Technicolor Photography: Ray Rennahan. Technicolor Art Direction: Natalie Kalmus. Sound: Douglas Shearer. French Choral Director: M. Farrell.

The stage version opened at the Globe Theatre in New York City on October 15, 1931, and ran 395 performances there and later at the Cohan Theatre. The cast included Odette Myrtil, Georges Metaxa, Bettina Hall, Eddie Foy Jr. and Jose Ruben.

Ramon Novarro (Victor Florescu)
Jeanette MacDonald (Shirley Sheridan)
Frank Morgan (Jules Daudet)
Charles Butterworth (Charles)
Jean Hersholt (Professor Bertier)
Vivienne Segal (Odette Brieux)
Frank Conroy (Theatre owner)
Henry Armetta (Taxi driver)
Adrienne D’Ambricourt (Concierge)
Joseph Cawthorn (Rudy Brieux)
Earl Oxford (Singer)
Yola d’Avril (Shirley’s maid)
Armand Kaliz (King in “A New Love is Old”)
Frank Sully (Actor)
Irene Franklin (Lotte Lengel)
Arthur Hoyt (Man in box seat)
Christian Rub (Messenger in play)
Paul Porcasi (Club proprietor)
Herman Bing (Drum major)
Leonid Kinsky (Violinist)
Georges Davis (Henri, the musician)
Sterling Holloway (Messenger with flowers)
Max Davidson (Old man)
Leo White (Prompter)
Billy Dooley (Electrician)
The Albertina Rasch Ballet
Enrico Ricardi (Novarro’s stand-in)
Dulcie Day (MacDonald’s stand-in)
Otto Fries (Piano mover)
Sumner Getchell, Harry Swailes, André Renaud, Jack Chefe (Music students)
Robert Graves (Diner)
Henry Kolker (Theatre manager)
Alice Carlisle (Vegetable seller)
Grace Hayle (Lettuce seller)
Germaine De Neel (Maid)
Harry Depp (Opera singer’s husband)
Polly Bailey (Ballet mistress)
Frank Adams (Musician)
E. Alyn Warren (Orchestra leader)
Phil Tead (Reporter)
Charles Crockett (Rudy’s secretary)
Harold Minjir (Manager of travel bureau)
George Le Guere (Elevator operator)
Jacques Vanaire (Singer)
George Nardelli (Singer’s assistant)
Dewey Robinson (Arabian singer)
J.H. Peters (Stage manager)
Reginald Barlow (King’s aide)

Bits: Rolfe Sedan, David Reese, Eugène Borden, Ludovico Tomarchio, Freddie Ford, Geneva Williams.


Background

After the huge theatrical success of his Show Boat in 1927, Jerome Kern had continued his attempt to push the American musical toward a sophisticated operatic perfection. While Porgy and Bess was still a gleam in Gershwin’s eye, Kern sought to create the Great American Opera. Musically, he suc­ceeded with The Cat and the Fiddle, full of strikingly modern melodies, but always redolent with Kern’s traditional “odor of sachet.” However, he was done in by a clumsy and unmemorable libretto.

The principal dramatic tension of the stage version hinges on whether the heroine has been “ruined” when trapped overnight in the villain’s apartment. She says no, but the hero refuses to believe her and discards her as unworthy until outside proof supports her undefiled virginity. (Modern audiences would boo the sexist pig off the stage, and this musically exquisite work is rarely revived.)

The film was cobbled together just as the Code and the Hays Office were coming into power. Snipped and hacked, with unmatched retakes inserted here and there to cover the gaps, the supposedly sanitized version ends up implying that the boy and girl are living in sin! (The basic problem with most censorship is that it often creates un­intentional naughtiness far worse than what it is trying to eliminate.)

Still, there is still enough youthful fire in Novarro’s performance and enough dazzling Jerome Kern score to make The Cat and the Fiddle enjoyable. Jeanette, despite Thalberg’s professional promises, is still a costar. The film is a vehicle for Ramon Novarro, hero of the classic Ben Hur and one of MGM’s top money makers for a decade. He was growing a bit old for his screen persona of a spirited juvenile, and this would prove to be one of his last films at MGM. However, his youthful enthusiasm is still infectious and undiminished.

The vamp of the piece is played by Broad­way star Vivienne Segal, making one of her infrequent film appearances. She would later star on Broadway in I Married an Angel, subsequently a film vehicle for MacDonald and Eddy. Director William K. Howard (Don’t Bet on Women) was noted mainly for his strong dramatic films—the silent classic White Gold, a Germanic western with psychological overtones, and The Power and the Glory, Spencer Tracy’s tour de force about a hated tycoon.

The film comes as close as MGM ever got to the Paramount style of light sex comedy. It is genuinely funny, and the superb music that rarely stops for more than a minute or two makes one forget the plot deficiencies―almost. Every song in the original score is used, although several get new lyrics (“Poor Pierrot,” “One Moment Alone”).

The simple stage plot undergoes some revamping. In the stage version, an Ameri­can girl with one hit song to her credit comes to Brussels to study music. There she meets a serious young composer who is being pursued by a violin-playing musical comedy star (thus the title). Odette Myrtil played the role of the violinist, and, oddly, the name of the stage performer was inherited by her singing film counter-part.

The composer writes an operetta, The Passionate Pilgrim, for the star, but it is terrible. It remains for the girl to write a hit and save the boy from the vamp’s clutches. Georges Metaxa created the role of Victor Florescu as he already had that of Carl Linden in Bitter Sweet in London. (He also played the band leader in the Astaire-Rogers film Swingtime.)


Plot

The film story becomes a somewhat illogical tale of living in sin in Paris and Brussels. Considering the flak that the proposed I Married An Angel incurred, it is astounding that Cat raised not one eyebrow. The lively overture is liberally laced with concertina passages and finally a piano theme that continues over the credits into a Brussels café. Composer-music student Victor Florescu (Ramon Novarro) is playing for his supper.

He and the café owner (Paul Porcasi) each feel they have been short-changed. Amidst the ensuing tumult, Victor escapes in a passing military parade whose ever-quickening rhythms carry him from the pursuing restaurateur into a passing taxi. It is, of course, the cab of Shirley Sheridan (Jeanette), who has just arrived in Belgium and is heading for the pension next door to Victor’s. An enthusiastic type, Victor immediately makes love to Shirley. She wisely ignores him.

The cab arrives at their destination and Victor gallantly offers to pay her cab fare. As Shirley sweeps haughtily up the steps of her pension, her suitcase bursts open, strewing her lingerie across the pavement. Victor leaps to her assistance, pocketing a lacy souvenir.

The cabdriver (Henry Armetta) must be paid, and Victor has no money. He offers his hat, his coat, his pants. The driver shakes his head: “They crease in front. I like mine to crease on the sides.” Instead, the driver seizes Victor’s music portfolio, promising to exchange it any time for the twelve francs fare. Victor will have no trouble finding him, the cabby calls as he drives away. His cab “Theresa” has a very distinctive horn.

Disconsolately, Victor enters his pension. His old music teacher, Professor Bertier (Jean Hersholt, the “Dr. Christian” of radio and films), is waiting for Victor in his room with tremendous news. Daudet, the noted music patron, has agreed to listen to Victor’s music. If he likes it, he will commission an operetta. The appointment is at 5:00 that afternoon. And where is Victor’s music? Victor reaches in his pocket and produces a lacy chemise.

He has lost his portfolio, but surely he can remember his own songs. Frantically, he tries to pick out the melodies on the piano as the professor grows more and more angry. They are all wrong. The old professor is heartbroken that Victor has ruined this opportunity with his philandering. He leaves, and Victor settles down at the piano to reconstruct his lost melodies.

His playing is interrupted repeatedly by a rival pianist across the courtyard, playing jazz. They pound away in counterpoint until Victor screams in rage. His tormentor yells back. It is Shirley.

Instantly, Victor is the lover again. He risks life and limb to clamber across to her window. Hanging by one hand, he gallantly offers to return her lacy undies. As his grip loosens Shirley relents and hauls him in. He stays to help her write the song she has been working on, “The Night Was Made for Love.” Wearing a singularly unattractive Adrian frock, Shirley joins Victor in a duet of the lovely song. (Although Adrian would make her one of the best costumed ladies in Hollywood, his heart was obviously not in his work here. He had not yet evolved his bag of tricks for dealing with her singer’s rib cage and muscular but long neck.)

Transported by love, Victor rushes off to get his portfolio back. He will use force if necessary. Racing through the streets of Brussels, he hears the unique horn of “Theresa” and throws himself in front of the cab, begging the driver to return his music. Their argument takes place in the middle of a funeral procession. A top-hatted gentleman leans from one of the carriages and gently chides them for detaining his late uncle. He becomes interested in the dispute and offers to advance Victor the cab fare because he himself likes music. “Do you know why I like music?” “No, why?” “I don’t know. That’s why I asked you.”

With dialogue like that, it must be comedian Charles Butterworth, the wistful count of Love Me Tonight who “fell flat on his flute.” In this epic, he plays “Charles.” He is happy to lend Victor the money since he has become rich at a single stroke. His uncle had the stroke two days ago. Now Charles is looking forward to buying a harp.

Victor has no time for conversation. He exchanges the francs for his precious music, thanks Charles profusely, and darts off. “Not at all,” Charles calls after him. “I hope I have a chance to do a favor for you sometime.”

Outside the conservatory, Victor crashes into a distinguished looking gentleman. They ex­change heated words until Professor Bertier introduces the gentleman as Jules Daudet, the man Victor has come to see. “Charmed!” cries Victor instantly, all smiles.

Daudet (Frank Morgan) is not charmed. He refuses to stay. Victor mounts the steps and calls after him, “I don’t care!” It doesn’t matter that he has made an enemy or lost his career. He has met the most glorious girl in the whole world! He would not trade all the success, money, and fame in the world for one of her smiles. What do they matter? He has found love! The gathered students burst into applause, and Daudet returns to hear his music.

Victor is playing for Daudet and the entire student body when Shirley arrives. She tries to explain to Professor Bertier that she has come to audition, but everyone keeps shushing her. To see the cause of their intense interest, she climbs on a chair and peeks through a transom. The chair slips and the door crashes open. The startled listeners look up to see a pair of dangling legs and a slim body. Without seeing the rest of Shirley, Daudet decides that this must be why he came to Brussels.

Victor exuberantly introduces Shirley as his fiancée, which she vehemently denies. Daudet absently agrees to produce Victor’s operetta and turns to more important things. What, he asks Shirley, does she want most in life? “Me!” cries Victor. Ignoring him, Shirley explains that she has come to audition and is quickly seated at the piano. She sings “The Night was Made for Love” and then plays “Impressions in a Harlem Flat.” Professor Bertier is unmoved by Shirley’s unclassical approach, but Daudet warmly offers to publish her songs. Shirley wonders if his enthusiasm is entirely professional.

On a dark rainy night, Shirley is alone in her garret playing the piano. A messenger boy (Sterling Holloway) arrives with an enormous bouquet of white roses from Daudet. The note reads: “The night was made for love.” The messenger comments that it seems a stupid message, but he guesses it would be all right if you did it inside. Shirley heaves the roses out the window and returns to her playing. The roof begins to leak in a dozen places and the orchestra echoes the drip, drip as Shirley puts her few bowls around on the floor.

Victor arrives with an armload of pots. He once lived in her room, he tells her, and slept in her bed. The raindrops make a counterpoint as he sings her his new arrangement of their song, “The Night Was Made for Love.” He asks her to be “comrades,” to “live, love, laugh, sing, eat, starve” with him. She is still unconvinced.

A knock is heard at the door. It is Charles, covered with roses (although it is more than five minutes since Shirley threw them out the window). She apologizes, but Charles tells her it could have happened to anyone. If she has a window, he’ll throw them out again. He has come looking for Victor to claim a harp lesson. His harp is downstairs.

“Tomorrow,” Victor pleads, trying to ease him out the door. His efforts are in vain, for suddenly a full operetta chorus of quaint types comes surging in, complete with musical instruments. They sing and dance around the surprisingly spacious garret. Victor has told them that he and Shirley “belong together,” and she ponders this in “She Didn’t Say Yes.”

Daudet arrives in the midst of the tumult and takes Shirley outside onto the shabby landing for a private conversation. Skillfully he makes her an offer and tactfully she refuses. Has he come too late? he inquires. “Perhaps,” she replies. To test Shirley’s affection, Daudet tells Victor he must leave that night for Paris with Daudet in order to have his operetta produced.

In a whirl of “The Night Was Made For Love” (“La Nuit il faut aimer”) sheet music covers and currency, we dissolve to an elegant Paris hotel where Victor and Shirley are living on Shirley’s earnings. Victor awakens Shirley from a lovely dream: that they were so rich that Victor walked around in a golden jacket. “And nothing else?” “I don’t think so,” she replies.

Daudet phones to find out if Shirley will have his song finished that afternoon. Shirley promises, and she and Victor put the finishing touches on “I Watch the Love Parade.”

Victor is unhappy. He can’t work in Paris. Shirley tells him he must go and entertain their guests (left over from the night before?), espe­cially Odette. Odette’s husband is scandalously rich, and she is dying to go back on the stage. Of course, says Shirley, if Victor is unhappy, they can return to Brussels at once. Daudet interrupts them to say their guests are waiting. Victor goes off to find Odette, and Shirley tells their “em­ployer” that she and Victor are returning to Brussels together.

In the drawing room, the sensuous Odette (Vivienne Segal) is vamping Victor, singing his new song, “A New Love Is Old.” Odette introduces Victor to her husband, Rudy (Joseph Cawthorn), who knows only one song: “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Charles offers to play his harp which he has brought with him. “Do you mean to tell me you came here just to play that thing?” Rudy asks. “I thought I’d get a little drunk too,” Charles replies.

Daudet tells Victor that Shirley is inside packing, that she plans to give up her career for Victor. “Are you going to let her wreck her career?” “Why not?” Victor smiles. But he has second thoughts. In Brussels, Shirley would still be supporting him. That’s fine with Shirley, who proposes marriage. Victor panics and plays the compulsory renunciation scene, making Shirley believe he no longer loves her. He then sings “A New Love Is Old,” nearly breaking down.

He is gone, and Shirley wanders disconso­lately about the overdecorated suite, listening to the chandelier tinkle in the breeze as the orchestra softly plays “I Watch the Love Parade.” She flings herself sobbing on the bed.

Victor apparently finds time to write his operetta Le Chat et Le Violin (The Cat and the Fiddle), apparently stays in Paris, and apparently is being financed by Odette, for we next see him at a rehearsal, where Odette is singing “Hh! Cha Cha!” Victor is summoned to Odette’s dressing room where she is draped seductively on a chaise lounge. He protests that he respects her husband too much. “Help me,” she croons, holding out her arms. As he is helping her, her husband enters. Assuming the worst, Rudy withdraws his backing and his wife from the show.

The landlord (Frank Conroy) demands immediate payment of the rent in advance to protect himself. Victor gives him a bad check, figuring that if the show is a hit he can make it good. If it is a failure, he might as well be in jail.

He calls the cast together and tells them their salaries may not be forthcoming for awhile. The male lead and the orchestra walk out, but everyone else stays. Charles bemoans the fact that now he won’t be able to afford a new pair of shoes. Lining his old pair with newspapers, he spots an item about Shirley’s engagement to Daudet. He tries to tell Victor, but Victor is on the phone trying to reach Professor Bertier in Brussels. The professor must come to Paris with his students to form the new orchestra.

Charles slips away and calls on Shirley to ask her to replace Odette. Shirley is in the process of moving, and he follows her into a freight elevator. Seating himself at a convenient grand piano, he plays Victor’s new song “Try to Forget.” As the elevator goes up and down over and over, Shirley sings the song and breaks down in tears.

Backstage, Victor is putting the finishing touches on the production for the opening night. He will play the hero, and Charles has called to say he is on his way with a new leading lady. Professor Bertier and his students arrive to complete the company. Charles returns, not with Shirley, but with Mlle. Lotte Lengel (Irene Franklin). “Lotte Lengel!” cries the delighted old professor. “She was a star when I was a child.”

Charles explains to the horrified Victor that it will be necessary to change the story slightly. The heroine will no longer be his sweetheart, but his mother. In despair, Victor decides to cancel the show, but Professor Bertier reminds him of the students. They paid their own way and will be stranded if he lets them down. “Start the overture,” says Victor.

On stage, the chorus is singing “We Belong to the Queen’s Hussars.” Backstage, Mlle. Lengel has a problem. She has been gargling with rum for her sore throat. “I think she swal­lowed a little of the gargle,” Charles observes. Mlle. Lengel is consumed with self-pity. She is old, she tells Charles, and ugly. She is a grand­mother. “Is that so?” says Charles agreeably. “Congratulations.”

From the stage, a familiar voice is heard in song. It is Shirley. She has saved the show. Backstage, she tells Victor that she is still marrying Daudet. This time she will do the walking out. She goes to make her costume change while Victor follows, protesting his love. Daudet is waiting in her dressing room. It is he who insisted Shirley come, so that she wouldn’t feel guilty later. He asks Victor to leave while Shirley is dressing, giving us the anticipated lingerie sequence. Victor is surprised. Has Daudet forgotten what he and Shirley have been to each other? (Hollywood shorthand for s-e-x.) “There’s something about the theatre that’s gotten in my blood,” Charles murmurs as Shirley undresses.

Shirley and Victor begin rehearsing their coming scene, but Victor keeps interjecting his personal pleas. Shirley tears herself away and runs onstage to sing “I’ll Bring You a Song in the Springtime.” (Note that Jeanette’s Adrian-designed costume in the finale was originally made for Joan Crawford for the “Let’s Go Bavarian” number with Fred Astaire in Dancing Lady, 1933.)

The second act curtain rises in three-strip Technicolor on a huge snow-covered tree. (1934 saw the introduction of this advance over the earlier two-strip Technicolor, now capable of registering yellow, red, and purple, in addition to the original blue-greens and red-oranges.) A passerby (Christian Rub) asks Victor if “she” will appear, and he replies sadly that “she” has passed him by. Suddenly “she” does appear and they join in a final duet to the melody of “Poor Pierrot.” The snow magically melts, and the tree blossoms with lush green leaves and pink blossoms. The music surges to a climax, and we assume the lovers live happily, one way or another, ever after.


Reviews

William Boehnel of the New York World-Telegram (who would dislike the later MacDonald classic, The Merry Widow) found The Cat and the Fiddle “by far the most tuneful, charming and thoroughly entertaining operetta the screen has offered in years….Jeanette MacDonald [is] more attractive than ever.” The New York Times thought the film captured “much of the [stage version’s] original charm and spontaneity….There are clever performances by Ramon Novarro and Jeanette MacDonald.”

The New York Herald Tribune was more perceptive (from the author’s viewpoint) when they commented: “After great effort has been expended on making the score an integral part of the plot, rather than something superimposed upon it, you suddenly discover that the plot hasn’t really been worth all the trouble.”

Variety was harshest of all: “For better or worse, the original Cat and the Fiddle stage script has been so altered by the film adapters that the only thing of merit remaining is the music. In place of the café scene in which the lovers reunited, so well done in the Max Gordon stage production, the picture uses the stock finish for most backstage stories: the heroine shows up at the last minute to play the leading role in the show-within-the-show and saves it. Even though the heroine is just a music student and, as far as the picture tells, has never before appeared on a stage….There are times when Miss MacDonald and Novarro seem to be of dual height, other times when Novarro looks about an inch taller, still others when he’s two or three heads above the former Chevalier leading lady.”


Recordings

(See Discography for further information)

“Try to Forget” – MacDonald
“Essayons D’Oublier” (Try to Forget) – MacDonald


Music in the Film

All music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Otto Harbach, except where noted. In listing performers after each title, “and” denotes a genuine duet, while commas between names indicate a sequence of singers.

Like its stage ancestor, the film version of The Cat and the Fiddle is one continuous melody line that occasionally forms itself into “songs.” There are a number of recurring orchestral themes without specific names, one of which turns up in the film with two sets of lyrics.

Overture: based on themes used in stage overture. Evolves into: Victor’s piano concerto,
based on recurring orchestral themes.
March (orchestral) possibly caricaturing the can-can theme from La Belle Hélène by Jacques
Offenbach.
Musical piano battle. (Victor and Shirley each playing their half-finished compositions)
Based on similar scene in stage play. “Finaletto” to Act I, containing fragments of
“Peer Gynt” by Edvard Grieg and “Impressions in a Harlem Flat.” (See below)
“Funeral March” by Fredric Chopin.
Victor’s audition – recurring themes, especially from Act I, scene 2.
“The Night Was Made for Love” (MacDonald and Novarro)
“The Breeze Kissed Your Hair” (Novarro) – as in stage play, verse for:
“One Moment Alone” (Novarro and chorus)
“The Night Was Made for Love” reprise (MacDonald)
“Impressions in a Harlem Flat” (piano) – based on melody in “Finaletto.”
Concertina melody (chorus vocalizing) – based on “La Jeune Fille est Malade,”
Act I. Evolves into:
“Poor Pierrot” (dance with chorus vocalizing)
“She Didn’t Say ‘Yes’” (chorus and MacDonald)
“Don’t Tell Us Not to Sing” (chorus) – originally “Don’t Ask Me Not to Sing” – song
was cut from stage play but used in film. Kern reused the song during the fashion
show sequence in the stage version of his Roberta, but it was not sung in the film
version with Astaire and Rogers. Evolves into:
“The Night Was Made for Love” success montage (MacDonald and chorus in English,
chorus in French, music box reprise)
“I Watch the Love Parade” (Novarro, Mac Donald)
“A New Love is Old” (Vivienne Segal)
“A New Love is Old” reprise (Novarro)
“The Crystal Candelabra” (orchestra with MacDonald humming “I Watch the Love
Parade”) – identical to stage sequence.
“Hh! Cha Cha!” (Earl Oxford and Segal with chorus)
“Try to Forget” (MacDonald)
Le Chat et le Violin:
Overture: identical to film overture
Chorus based on recurring theme – “This is the day that the masses…” Lyricist uncertain.
Chorus based on bridge in “I Watch the Love Parade” – “We belong to the Queen’s hussars…” Lyricist uncertain.
“A New Love is Old” reprise (MacDonald)
Waltz – a recurring theme in stage play.
“I bring you a song in the springtime…” (MacDonald – based on recurring theme,
lyricist uncertain.
“Try to Forget” reprise (Novarro)
“Try to Forget” reprise with new lyrics (MacDonald and male chorus)
Musical bridge based on Act II, Scene 6 theme in stage version.
“I Watch the Love Parade” (Novarro, MacDonald)
“Poor Pierrot” with new lyric (“Long, long ago…”) (MacDonald, Novarro, chorus)
Finale: fragments of “She Didn’t Say ‘Yes’” and “The Night Was Made for Love”

Songs from stage version used in the movie were “One Moment Alone,” “The Night Was Made for Love,” “She Didn’t Say ‘Yes’,” “I Watch the Love Parade,” “A New Love is Old,” “Hh! Cha Cha!,” and “Try to Forget.” “Poor Pierrot” was used with new lyrics.


Trivia

Jeanette and Nelson might have appeared in a Kern musical together. According to research by Amy Asch, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II copyrighted at least four unpublished songs on 4/30/35, written for a proposed Mac­Donald-Eddy film, Champagne and Orchids: “Dance Like a Fool,” “Singing a Song in Your Arms,” “Champagne and Orchids,” and “When I’ve Got the Moon” (aka “Banjo Song”). The index of Kern manuscripts at the Library of Congress notes that “Dance Like a Fool” was also intended for but not used in a film called Rise and Shine.

The Hammerstein papers at the Library of Congress also contain a “temporary complete” screenplay for Summer Breeze, dated 3/8/35, labeled “MGM Production #1790” (or #1796). Story, dialogue, and lyrics by Hammerstein with music by Kern. The characters were “typed” for Jeanette, Nelson, Wallace Beery, Clifton Webb, Elizabeth Patterson, Constance Collier, Vilma Ebsen, Buddy Ebsen, and Donald Meek.

A small town with financial troubles hopes to capture tourist trade by setting up a summer theatre. The plot, borrowed directly from the plot of the Kern/Hammerstein hit Music in the Air, has an estranged leading lady (Jeanette) and leading man (Nelson) accepting parts without realizing that they’ll be working with each other. Two local sweethearts get romantically involved temporarily with the older couple, the boy with the actress, the girl with the actor. Songs were to be “Summer Breeze,” “Happy Am I” (a comedy song), “Dance Like a Fool” with a big production number, and various untitled solos and duets for the Jeanette and Nelson characters.

Another Library of Congress file for an untitled Kern/Hammerstein project contains songs assigned to “Ross,” “Tibbett,” “Jeanette,” “Beery,” “Webb,” “Parker” (no first names listed) and chorus. The cast and the song titles—“Summer Breeze,” “Bone of Contention,” “Whispering Chorus,” “Volunteer Fireman,” “Production Number,” “I Can’t Sing,” “Opera Wardrobe,” “Duet Rehearsal,” “Reprise Duet,” “Reprise in Show,” “Finale”—suggest some overlap.