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Name the pre-1970 film

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Detective work helps to trace the virus to the harbor, and to a foreign cargo ship where the crewmen are puzzled by their skipper, formerally a humorless, overbearing taskmaster, and now capering about, joyfully performing ethnic dances and having a great old time. There's also a strange looking bird, picked up in the tripics and kept aboard as a pet. This seems to be the source of the virus.

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They're preparing to safely capture that elusive tropical bird for research. A trigger is accidentally pulled at the wrong moment, and the tranquilizer dart ends up in the **** of an overworked man who is involved in the effort. He gets a couple of days' much-needed sleep.

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Hardly a classic, was it ..that's probably why it took so long...Anyway, here's the next one:


The Irving Berlin song "Puttin' On The Ritz", written in 1929, originally referred to the popular fad of flashily-clad but poor blacks from Harlem parading down Lennox Avenue. He later revised the lyrics to apply to whites struttin' down Park Avenue...In a later musical, he composed a new song with lyrics similar to the original "Puttin On The Ritz" but with less sarcasm. There was something unusual or new about this number... and a particular reason why Berlin had to compose it. The number also featured a very popular person at that time...

Questions: (1) What was the musical ? (2) What was the title of the song? (3) Who was the famous person in the number ? (4) What was the reason Irving Berlin had to compose the new song ?....Happy hunting...

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I'm not sure I understand the question entirely, but I think my answer here will cover most of the bases. The original lyrics to "Puttin' On The Ritz" were used in the 1939 film "Idiot's Delight" with Clark Gable doing a song and dance with a bunch of chorus girls. By the time Fred Astaire did the number in "Blue Skies" in 1946, the lyrics were considered to be offensive to blacks. Today, we would say they were politically incorrect. Berlin changed the lyrics to give the feeling of making fun of the wealthy by including the name Rockefellers, who "walk with sticks or umbrellas", and using the line "Dressed up like a million dollar trooper, trying hard to look like Gary Cooper, super duper". Here is the original lyric:


Have you seen the well-to-do

up on Lenox Avenue?

On that famous thoroughfare,

with their noses in the air?

High hats and colored collars,

white spats and fifteen dollars;

spending every dime

for a wonderful time.


If you're blue and you don't know where to go to,

Why don't you go where Harlem sits

Puttin' on the Ritz.


Spangled gowns

upon the bevy

of high browns

from down the levee,

all misfits -

Puttin' on the Ritz!


That's where each and every Lulu Belle goes,

ev'ry Thursday evening with her swell beaux ?

Rubbin' elbows.


Come with me and we'll attend their jubilee

and see them spend their last two bits

Puttin' on the Ritz!


And here is the revised lyric:


Have you seen the well-to-do

Up and down Park Avenue

On that famous thoroughfare

With their noses in the air


High hats and arrowed collars

Wide spats and fifteen dollars

Spending every dime

For a wonderful time


If you're blue and you don't know

Where to go to, why don't you go

Where fashion sits

Puttin' on the Ritz


Different types, who wear a day coat

Pants with stripes, and cut away coat

Perfect fits

Puttin' on the Ritz


Dressed up like a million dollar trooper

Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper



Come, let's mix where Rockefellers

Walk with sticks, or umber-ellas

In their mitts

Puttin' on the Ritz


Spangled gowns upon a beauty

Of hand-me-downs, on clown and cutie

All misfits

Puttin' on the Ritz


Strolling up the avenue so happy

All dressed up just like an English chappie

Very snappy!


You'll declare it's simply topping

To be there, and hear them swapping

Smart tidbits

Puttin' on the Ritz

Puttin' on the Ritz

Puttin' on the Ritz


Berlin also had a song making fun of wealthy New york society. It was called "Slumming On Park Avenue" and it was performed by Alice Faye and chorus in a 1937 film called "On The Avenue". And don't forget "A Couple of Swells" from "Easter Parade" in 1948 with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Remember "The Vanderbilts have asked us up for tea, we don't know how we'll get there, no siree".

Berlin's first wife had died and his second wife came from a well to do high society family. Her father was against the marriage because Berlin was an uneducated Jewish immigrant song writer, and not from the same social rank. Perhaps that is why Berlin wrote so many of these types of songs. If you find the 1930 video of Harry Richman and dancers doing "Puttin' On The Ritz", you will probably see why it would be considered offensive later on. By the way, Fred Astaire recorded a version in the early thirties with the original lyrics and many years later, Judy Garland recorded a version that mixed the original and revised lyrics.

Kind of a long-winded answer, but somewhere in there I hope I answered your questions.

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Thanks for your commentary on "Puttin' On The Ritz", Miles, but you didn't mention the movie or the song I was specifically asking for. The movie was made after "Idiot's Delight" . That the song has something to do with color is correct because it pretty much refers back to the original lyrics of "Puttin' On The Ritz" without the sarcasm...But the reason Mr. Berlin composed it has something to do with the time the musical came out, in more ways than one. The popular figure that appeared in the number was neither a singer nor a dancer....That should give anyone interested enough data to find out what I'm talking about. More hints--The song has a long title and is available on You Tube if anybody wants to see and hear it...


(1) What's the title of the musical (2) The title of the particular song or number ? (3) Give at least one reason why Mr. Berlin had to write the song (4) Which popular figure of the time appeared in the number ?


Edited by: mudskipper on Oct 25, 2010 12:24 AM

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Are you referring to "This Is The Army" which featured a song called "What The Well Dressed Man From Harlem Will Wear". The production number featured black soldiers dancing and boxer Joe Louis hitting a punching bag. Why Berlin had to write it, I don't know. The army was segregated at the time and Berlin probably wanted to incorporate black entertainers into the show. He knew that a lot of black entertainers were popular and black soldiers were as much a part of the army as whites. Remember, this was not just a movie. "This Is The Army" was on Broadway and the show toured the country as a morale booster and to raise money for the war effort.

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"This Is The Army" (1943) is correct...The new song was "What The Well Dressed Man From Harlem Will Wear" (...sun tan, shade of green, or an olive drab color scheme, with a tin hat for overseas...)...and the well known individual was indeed the Brown Bomber, boxer Joe Louis...Berlin did want to incorporate blacks in the revival of his original stage production "Yip, Yip Yaphank" (Berlin was stationed at Camp Upton in Yaphank, NY where he staged the original play during WWI..) because blacks were serving in the armed forces. But during that time, because of discrimination, whites and blacks were not allowed to perform in the same number so he had to write a song specifically for colored members of the army...You will notice that the performers in that number are all blacks...and the tone of the song is similar to "Puttin' On The Ritz" although the lyrics are somewhat different...


Your thread, Miles..

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Thanks. Those were probably the longest answers I've ever given. "This Is The Army" starred George Murphy and Ronald Reagan as father and son. Later, both would get into national politics. In an earlier movie, Ronald Reagan played a radio broadcaster (something he had done in real life) in a musical. In the movie he is conducting interviews at a Hollywood premiere. What is the name of the movie?

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Actually, Ronald Reagan played a radio announcer in three movies. (1) In the movie "Hollywood Hotel", he had an uncredited part as a radio announcer at the premier (2) .In "Dr. Clitterhouse" , he provided the uncredited radio announcer's voice... and (3) in "Boy Meets Girl" starring James Cagney and Pat O'Brien, he had a credited role as another radio announcer at a premier,,,

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Thanks...Many of us know that Alec Guinness had eight different roles in "Kind Hearts And Coronets"; Jerry Lewis had seven roles in "The Family Jewels"...There is a very good movie from the 1960s where a supporting actress had six different roles. Name the film and the actress...

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