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  • mistermuse 1:42 am on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Finian's Rainbow, Follow The Rainbow, ,   


    A few weeks ago, I saw a post (on a blog I don’t recall) with a photo of a rare double rainbow. Today, out of the blue, that image came to mind as I was perusing a biography of lyricist E. Y. Harburg of OVER THE RAINBOW fame, who also wrote the score for the 1968 film FINIAN’S RAINBOW….and I thought, now that’s a double rainbow if I ever heard one.

    Everyone knows OVER THE RAINBOW (from The Wizard Of Oz), but how many of you remember FINIAN’S RAINBOW starring Fred Astaire in his last musical at the age of 69? Here is the “Rainbow” song from that film:

    And here he is singing and dancing to one of the film’s definitive songs, WHEN THE IDLE POOR BECOME THE IDLE RICH:

    I say “definitive” because it’s a reflection of E. Y. Harburg’s very liberal leanings, as exemplified in these lyrics from the song:

    When a rich man doesn’t want to work,
    He’s a bon vivant
    Yes, he’s a bon vivant
    But when a poor man doesn’t want to work.
    He’s a loafer, he’s a lounger,
    He’s a lazy good for nothing,
    He’s a jerk.

    If Harburg were alive today, I have no doubt that he would appreciate the ‘music’ of another Rainbow man, name of Randy:

    Yes, friends, let us look to November 3 and the rainbow following the dark storm of the Trump presidency.


    • obbverse 3:39 am on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Julie Andrews will never sound the same thanks to that son of the bleach.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 7:49 am on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply


        The whole country will never be the same if that son of a bleach is reelected. We’ll be lucky if we recover even if he’s defeated.

        Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 5:10 am on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      my photo, my blog MrM … glad I inspired such a cheery colourful post 🙂

      Those conflicting terms are strong for the male/female divide too … a man is assertive but a woman bossy, etc etc ..

      Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 5:14 am on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      that last one is priceless, thanks for the share!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 7:20 am on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Me! It was me! I had a double rainbow in the backyard and will happily accept credit for this post.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 8:06 am on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Judging by calmkate’s first comment above, Rg, you may have to share the honors with her (although I do now remember your double rainbow post as being my ‘inspiration’ — thanks for the reminder). 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • masercot 7:59 am on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      With a little bit of luck, they’ll go out and start supPORTING YOUUUUUUUU!

      Liked by 1 person

    • tubularsock 12:57 pm on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Let us not forget whose policies helped elect the Dump!

      Obummer and Killery!

      Now it is a race between an empty box and an orange turd!

      Either way we’re dead meat! A race to the bottom.

      At least Randy Rainbow makes Tubularsock laugh on the ride down!


      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:35 pm on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Drawing an equivalence between “the Dump” and “Obummer” strikes me as a bit of a stretch, but I guess that’s what tubular socks do. In any case, we agree on Randy Rainbow, and alliances have been forged on matters of far less understanding in common.

        Liked by 1 person

    • magickmermaid 1:40 pm on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      With a little bit of luck the dubious Dr will drink his own cure. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rosaliene Bacchus 4:01 pm on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Randy Rainbow gets right to the issue in his most delightful way 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • annieasksyou 6:31 pm on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      This was such a romp. My sister played in a local production of Finian’s Rainbow when we were young, so I was forced to learn every word. I love the words and music, and Fred Astaire could elevate any scene.
      I liked your pointing out Harburg’s message—also that the cast wasn’t lily white.
      I think we should all declare the evil one irrelevant and just ignore him while we work like hell to overcome all the shenanigans designed to disrupt our reclaiming our democracy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:42 pm on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Annie. In addition to being a superb wordsmith, E.Y. (Yip) Harburg was undoubtedly the most liberal lyricist of the Golden Age of Popular music. If interested in reading his biography (the one I mentioned in my post), the title is WHO PUT THE RAINBOW IN THE WIZARD OF OZ? by Harold Meyerson and Ernie Harburg (Yip’s son).


      • mistermuse 11:17 pm on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        NOTE: Because of what I consider a vulgar rant (since deleted) by a commenter to this post, I have chosen to change my settings to require approval by me of all future comments. This means that comments will no longer appear immediately. However, be assured that this is no reflection on my regular valued followers. It means only that life is too short to take part in diatribes which bring heat but no light to the matter at hand. This is MY blog, after all, and my standards apply. I hardly need add that that commenter is free to run his blog as he sees fit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Catherine Haustein 1:14 am on July 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I saw a production when I was in grade school and adored the show. Great music and message.

        Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 7:32 am on July 2, 2020 Permalink

          I agree, Catherine. You seldom, if ever, see FINIAN’S RAINBOW included among the best movie musicals of all time, but I think it rates at least in the top 40 or 50.


    • annieasksyou 10:57 pm on July 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Speaking of liberals, I wrote a tweet to Rob Reiner, who had written that he was heartbroken over his father’s death. Someone put up a photo of Carl, his daughter (Annie, it so happens), and Mel Brooks wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts just last week. There was also a video Carl had made urging everyone to vote in 2018, very fiery, and concluding that he just hopes he’ll be around in 2020 to vote the unmentionable one out. So I plan to dedicate my vote to Carl Reiner in November.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 12:59 pm on July 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Great comment, Annie. My memory of Carl goes back to Sid Caesar’s YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS in the early 50s. Those were the days, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 3:36 pm on July 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve never even heard of Finian’s Rainbow before, and I call myself a Fred Astaire fan – sheesh! I need to see this one, just because.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 5:55 pm on July 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Yip Harburg conceived and cowrote the book (as well as wrote the lyrics) for FINIAN’S RAINBOW, which opened on Broadway in 1947 and ran for 725 performances before being made into a movie in 1968. His son, Ernie Harburg, calls it “Yip’s most complex and fully realized achievement.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 1:22 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I often wonder whether I’ll be able to write harmless humor again when Trump is gone, Sr. Muse, but I fear Randy Rainbow will be clean out of a job.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 3:03 pm on July 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I have faith in you to keep after the cowering inferno of Trump as a loser, Ricardo. Megalomaniacs do not go softly into that good night, so until he ends up in a padded cell where he belongs, I’m sure he’ll provide continuing fodder for skewering by you and Randy.


  • mistermuse 11:25 am on January 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: blacklist, Burton Lane, Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead, Finian's Rainbow, , , If I Only Had A Brain, L. Frank Baum, , , The Merry Old Land Of Oz, We're Off To See The Wizard, ,   


    My melodies always sounded better with a Yip Harburg lyric.  –Burton Lane, composer (Finian’s Rainbow)


    I have the rainbow reflection of Yip Harburg’s lyrics on, and in, my mind as I write this review of a biography I received for Christmas. The book, titled Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz?  was co-written by his son, Ernie Harburg, and Harold Meyerson….but in a sense, it was written by Yip himself, suffused as it is with the words of his songs, his quotes and, above all, his spirit.

    Yip, as you no doubt know if you know anything about the Golden Age of popular music and movies in America, is the man who put the rainbow in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz (as well as in the 1947 Broadway musical Finian’s Rainbow). Actually, there was no reference to a rainbow in the book on which the film is based, L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). The idea of a rainbow was the creation of Yip Harburg, who “told Harold [composer Harold Arlen] about it and we went to work on a tune.” That “tune” was, of course, Over The Rainbow, which went on to win  the Academy Award for Best Original Song and was named #1 on the American Film Institute’s list of 100 top songs. How hard was it to write? It was the first song in the film, but the last to be written, after the whole score had been finished: a score which included We’re Off To See The Wizard, The Merry Old Land Of Oz, If I Only Had A Brain, If I Were King of The Forest and Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead.

    But….the witch wasn’t dead. Little did Yip know that little more than a decade later, he would be off to see the witch hunters of the McCarthy era and blacklisted for suspected Communist sympathies (he was never a Communist Party member, though admittedly “an avowed democratic socialist,” which wasn’t/isn’t unlawful but was and continues to be conflated with Communism in some circles, even today). Shunned by Hollywood, TV and radio throughout the 1950s, Harburg still had standing on Broadway, but his shows never again attained his previous success.

    In addition to his creative talent and sense of social justice, Harburg had a great sense of humor: One of the things that bothered me about my society was that there were so many problems in the world. My approach to solving these problems was to make people see the folly of them, the foibles of them, or the mythology of them. If you look at them like Puck in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and say, “What fools these mortals be,” then you can make people laugh and see their follies.
    That doesn’t say humor is the only approach. Everybody approaches his art through his own psyche and methods. I am giving you mine. My approach is through satire because humor is the greatest solvent that I know of. It takes the arrogance out of people. We all hear many different political views. People disagree so strongly they even want to kill each other.

    Just as Harburg’s socialism ran afoul of political spoilsports like Joseph McCarthy, so his humor was hounded by the Hayes Office (Hollywood’s censorship czar) in the late 1930s. The following song, which he wrote for Groucho Marx in AT THE CIRCUS,  was censored until he added a final verse (listen for it) to legitimize it. Say, have you met Lydia?


    • Daniel Fergus Tamulonis 3:32 pm on January 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      How extraordinary and welcome are your thoughtful comments on Harburg and his refreshing look at the world. The Harlem Repertory Theatre is in the middle of producing a double bill of “Finian’s Rainbow and Flahooley, both with books and lyrics by Harburg. The latter was written in response to Harburg’s grossly unfair treatment in Hollywood and truly Puck-like, he thumbs his nose at the injustices of those witch hunts. If you are anywhere near New York City, please pay us a visit and thank you for your comments. Your prose merits at least a free front row seat! (Tell them I told you so!)
      Sincerely and gratefully …


    • mistermuse 5:12 pm on January 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I am extremely pleased by your comment, Daniel, and would certainly take you up on your invitation to visit if I lived anywhere near NYC, but unfortunately I do not. It is good to know that “Finian’s Rainbow” and “Flahooley” are still alive and well at The Harlem Repertory Theatre, and I urge my blog friends in the area to pay you a visit in my stead and enjoy the show. Look to the Rainbow!


    • Don Frankel 5:06 am on January 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I actually saw Harburg on TV getting interviewed years ago. He was explaining how he had come up with the lyrics to Somewhere over the Rainbow. He was playing the opening notes and showing how the word somewhere seemed to be the only word to fit. It was priceless. You don’t get to see stuff like that very often.


    • mistermuse 4:52 am on January 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Don. The book of which I write in this post devotes over four pages just to the difficulty Harburg and Arlen had writing this song, including this Harburg quote: “he [Arlen] gave me a tune with those first two notes an octave apart. I tried I’ll go over the rainbow, Someday over the rainbow [etc.]. For a while I thought I would just leave those first two notes out.. It was a long time before I came to Somewhere over the rainbow.”

      I would love to have seen that interview you saw.


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