Tuesday 27 February 2007

They used milk, you know.

The death of the great Betty Comden gives Mark Steyn another opportunity to roll out my favourite theatrical anecdote of all time:

Arthur Freed, the pre-eminent producer of musicals in the post-war era, had started out as a lyricist in the Twenties. One day in 1953, he called Comden and Green into the office. “Kids, I want you to take all my old songs and make a picture out of them. We’re gonna call it Singin’ in the Rain.”

“All we knew,” Comden told me, “is that somewhere we’d have to have a scene where it was raining and a guy was singing.”

“In it,” added Green.

Next time some tortured artist tells you that money corrupts art, remember that: the greatest musical of all time was created for no other reason than to boost the royalty take on some old songs.

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