Now that I’m back to wandering through the local antique stores and malls looking for original movie posters and lobby cards I’m always reminded of one certainty. Very rarely do I actually find anything that catches my eye from the golden age of Hollywood unless I’m interested in sheet music. Yes there are always star studded cover sheets of lyrics and music notes available for those looking to learn the latest song sung by Eddie Cantor or Judy Holiday. I always picture these opened atop a piano which only confirms my suspicions that piano’s were in far more homes in the 30’s and 40’s then they are today.
If only movie posters from this era were so cheap and easy to trip over. As it is I can’t read music so I’m not likely to sit down and play On the Sentimental Side on my guitar from the latest Crosby picture but I guess if I knew the tune I might be able to play and sing it by ear. No I don’t collect these so they are not in my personal collection but I thought I was a little overdue at taking a second look at the sheet music that was relevant back in the golden age of Hollywood using the images of the box office stars to separate film fans from the their small pocket change.
To view my first look at sheet music and the stars, click here to sing along.
Judy Holiday sings Just in Time. The film, Bells Are Ringing released in 1960 has been a long time favorite of mine that teamed Judy with Dean Martin.
The popular team of McDonald and Eddy at MGM. Absent from the cover art is that film newbie, James Stewart. I wonder how he made it in Hollywood?
A silent film star sings! Ramon Navarro of Ben-Hur fame moved into the talkies and little did I know, sang in the 1929 film, The Pagan.
“Let’s Put Our Heads Together” Sounds appropriate considering our stars Joan Blondell and Dick Powell were soon to be married following the production. The pair were married on September 19th, 1936. The film released shortly thereafter.
We can always count on Bing Crosby to grace the cover of sheet music. To this day he’s still one of my favorite crooners. Here he is starring and singing in the 1938 release, Doctor Rhythm.
Now here’s a title I’d love to see some hotshot singer of the modern era remake. “Oh! Gee, Oh! Gosh, Oh! Golly I’m in Love.” Maybe “The Biebs” whose home town of Stratford, Ontario I had breakfast in just this morning. Not likely to happen so if you want to hear it I guess you’ll have to seek out Eddie Cantor’s version.
For me, Shantytown is an unknown movie as is the actress, Mary Lee, and the song, “On the Corner of Sunshine and Main” proving once again that when it comes to film history there is always something more to learn. A quick look at the IMDB reveals she was a frequent costar of singing cowboy, Gene Autry.
The 1933 MGM release with Marion Davies has sheet music to accompany it that can be yours for the low low cover price of just .35 cents.
The popular Tracy/Dunne film of 1943 offered up some sheet music of it’s own.
Thank Your Lucky Stars was the big budget WW2 effort from Warner Brothers featuring the majority of their top talent they had under contract during the war years. The sheet music wisely put those faces on the cover.
I’ll close with a clip from the film featuring your singing film star, Bette Davis. Surprised?
Love all these covers. Several songs I’ve never heard of . Always remember Irene Dunne singing “I’ll Get By” in A GUY NAMED JOE. “Bells Are Ringing” had a great Jule Styne score. So glad Judy Holliday’s performance was captured on film.
I’ve always enjoyed Guy Named Joe and so right about Judy filming Bells. We lost her way too early. A real treasure.
very nice, I had no idea that Bette Davis tried her hand at singing, that’s pretty cool. That’s a lost art anymore, having a tie in song with a film.
I kind of forgot she sang in that. Been years since I’ve seen it but always enjoyed it. One of those putting on a show routines for the boys in uniform.
No idea why sheet music is less expensive than posters from the same era, especially when some of the covers are so distinctive. They were seen as a marketing tool as much as anything else. In the days when 78s were still expensive, sheet music could usually be guaranteed to get a bit of a display in record stores in much the same way as paperback movie-tie-ins did decades later. i always wondered if they sold the sheet music to an entire soundtrack by the likes of Jerry Goldsmith or Maurice Jarre rather than just the hit single. Didn’t know Bette Davis had a voice.
Agreed, I can always find sheet music in antique malls. But then movie posters weren’t marketed then as they are now. Bette could do it all or at least try.
Another fun fact about Rose Marie (1936). Alongside that other up and coming actor, James Stewart playing Jeanette’s brother was another up and comer named David Niven(s) appearing in the beginning of the film as ‘Teddy’, a would be suitor of Jeanette MacDonald’s character, Marie de Flor.
Niven was in a few films prior to the war when he went back to England to fight. Fortunately he made it through and came back to continue his career. Always worth watching.