Notes on If I Only Had A Brain

If I Only Had A Brain

The Wizard of Oz (1939) dir. Victor Fleming, George Cukor (uncredited)

Starring Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton

Academy Award Best Original Song – Over the Rainbow

Academy Award Best Original Score – Herbert Stothart


Harold Arlen (1905 – 1986)

Pianist/singer worked as an accompanist in Vaudeville

Cotton Club (1923 – 1940) songs with Ted Koehler (1894 – 1973)

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (1931)

I’ve Got the World On A String (1932)

Stormy Weather (1933) introduced by Ethel Waters (1896 – 1977)


It’s Only A Paper Moon (1932) from film version of Take a Chance (previously used on Broadway in The Great Magoo (1932)with title If You Believe In Me) with lyricist E. Y. “Yip” Harburg

The duo also wrote Lydia the Tattooed Lady for Groucho Marx  film At the Circus (1939)


Broadway Musicals (selections)

Bloomer Girl (1944) lyricist E. Y. Harburg

House of Flowers (1954) lyricist Truman Capote

Jamaica (1956) lyricist E. Y. Harburg

Saratoga (1958) lyricist Johnny Mercer


E. Y. “Yip” Harburg (1896 – 1981)


High School chum of Ira Gershwin (1896 – 1983) who shared his love of Gilbert and Sullivan.


Brother Can You Spare A Dime?, music by Jay Gorney (1896 – 1990) from Americana(1932) an Earl Carroll Broadway review – became the unofficial anthem of The Great Depression with popular recordings by Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallée.


Broadway Musicals (selections)

Bloomer Girl (1944) music Harold Arlen

Finian’s Rainbow (1947) music Burton Lane(1912 – 1997)


Blacklisted in 1950 by HUAC


Ray Bolger (1904-1987)

Boston street busker, vaudevillian – as “Sanford and Bolger,” star of musical revue, Broadway, film & television

Long time friend of Harold Arlen’s.

starred with Bert Lahr – Life Begins at 8:40 (1934) review – music, Harold Arlen, lyrics, Ira Gershwin & E.Y. “Yip” Harburg

On Your Toes (1936)

created the role of Phil Dolan III, “Junior,” who danced, to George Balanchine’s choreography, the “Slaughter On Tenth Avenue” ballet – music, Richard Rodgers, lyrics, Lorenz Hart

By Jupiter (1942) – music, Richard Rodgers, lyrics, Lorenz Hart

Where’s Charley? (1949) music/lyrics Frank Loesser, featuring the ever-popular “Once In Love With Amy”-Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Final Broadway musical appearance – All American (1962) music, Charles Strouse – lyrics, Lee Adams