DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #5 (From Yankee Doodle Dandy) in MAD ABOUT MUSICALS: THE HISTORY OF THE HOLLYWOOD MUSICALS Posted June 12, 2018 1. Describe how the scenes in today’s Daily Dose were designed to promote American values for audiences during World War II. Be specific. Refer to props, set design, settings, etc. in your answer. As Cohan climbs the stairs at the White House, paintings of past presidents can be seen. In FDR’s office the walls are lined with paintings of ships and there are models of ships, as well. Cohan is wearing a flag lapel pin. The Fourth of July parade is replete with waving flags, and men dressed in solider uniforms. 2. Listen carefully to the dialogue in these scenes. In what ways does the dialogue and/or the screenplay work to boost American morale? Quote specific lines of dialogue in your response. The references to the flag, Yankee Doodle Dandy, the patriotism of the Irish-Americans (who were often depicted as being wholesome, family-oriented, and loyal to their country), Cohan’s description of himself as cocky (which I read as the kind of self-confidence often associated with Americans), and Cohan’s reference to his father “running off to join the Civil War” as a young adolescent all carry overt patriotic themes. White House butler recounting how had seen Cohan in a play: “You were singing and dancing about the Grand Ole Flag. Mr. Teddy used to sing it in his bathtub.” Cohan to FDR: “I was a pretty cocky kid in those days, a pretty cocky kid. A regular Yankee Doodle Dandy, always carrying a flag in a parade, or carrying one.” FDR to Cohan: “That’s one thing I always admired about you Irish-Americans. You carry your love of country like a flag. Right out in the open.” I don’t recall the exact quote, but the reference to Horatio Alger was also interesting. Alger often wrote about impoverished youth who worked their way out of poverty. That could be seen as echoing the “American Dream” in which anyone could “grow up to president” or at least, succeed in life. Cohan’s reply: “I inherited that. Got that from my father. He ran away to the Civil War when he was thirteen.” 3. Since this is the opening of a biographical musical, how differently do you feel this film would be if it opened with the Fourth of July Parade scene in Providence, Rhode Island vs. the opening with FDR in the Oval Office? Defend your answer. Flashbacks have often been used in biographical films. On the one hand, opening with the parade would be a very obvious nod to patriotism. However, to open with a scene that included FDR was a wise idea and I think more effective for what the film was striving to achieve. The scene with FDR would definitely have resonated with audiences of that time period, considering FDR was the president at that time and was leading the country into war after the attack on Pearl Harbor.