Category Archives: Video

GROUCHO AND CAVETT (and Yip)

Yip Harburg is featured in Groucho and Cavett, a 2022 installment of the PBS series American Masters. The episode recounts the years-long friendship between talk show host Dick Cavett and comedian Groucho Marx. One of Groucho’s favorite songs was “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady,” written by Yip with Harold Arlen for the 1939 MGM feature film At the Circus. Groucho performed it often throughout the ensuing decades, including on Dick Cavett’s talk show. Yip talked about Groucho and the song on one of Cavett’s 1978 PBS broadcasts, excerpts from which are part of this documentary.

CHER AND MELISSA SING YIP… FOR JOE BIDEN

Cher has contributed a slightly rewritten lyric to the Yip Harburg-Harold Arlen classic “Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe” as her pitch for the 2020 Presidential candidacy of Joe Biden. See it here. Previously, Broadway singer Melissa Errico, accompanied by Lara Downes, performed the same song for the same campaign, with her own rewrite of the lyric. See it here. Melissa and Errico have also released the track for streaming and it can be accessed here.

GLORIFYING THE AMERICAN GIRL

This 1929 Paramount release featured Yip’s first widely released song, “What Wouldn’t I Do for That Man?” (composer, Jay Gorney). In the film, Helen Morgan sings it perched on a piano, her trademark performing pose. The Kino BluRay edition was released in December, 2019 (Kino 24183). The song was also used in a dramatic context in another 1929 Paramount feature, Applause, in which Helen Morgan sings it while holding a portrait of the man she loves.

(“Over the Rainbow”) The Song of the Century

Everyone knows the songs from The Wizard of Oz; in fact, Over the Rainbow is often cited as the greatest movie hit of all time. Few, however, know the names of the men who wrote Rainbow and the rest of the classic Oz score.

The remedy for their anonymity now is in the hands of Aaron Harburg — great-grandson of The Wizard of Oz lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg — who has begun production on The Song of the Century.

Visit the Official Site >

Finian’s Rainbow: An “Unbelievably Current” Classic “Old-Time Musical”

The 2009 revival of Finian’s Rainbow brought Cheyenne Jackson, Jim Norton, Christopher Fitzgerald, and Kate Baldwin to the St. James Theatre to revisit Yip’s still timely lyrics and Burton Lane’s glorious score that raise issues such as racial harmony, social equality, and living beyond one’s means.

 *

“Finian’s Rainbow overflows with songs that are pure heaven, propelled by Yip Harburg’s wit and Burton Lane’s timeless sense of melody. Scrumptious!” – Elizabeth Vincentelli, The New York Post (2009)

“Infectious song and exuberant dancing are on abundant display in this thoroughly winning, joyous production.” – Charles Isherwood, The New York Times (2009)

*

Applause

Applause (1929). Groundbreaking early talkie directed by Rouben Mamoulian and starring Helen Morgan; contains Yip’s first film song, written with composer Jay Gorney, “What Wouldn’t I Do for That Man?” One of the extra features of this DVD is Morgan’s performance of the same song in another 1929 release, Glorifying the American Girl. Kino BluRay K24183.