Thursday, October 25, 2012

Allan Sherman's Lost Lyrics Friday, vol. 4

Sherman was fascinated by nursery rhymes, lullabies, and other children's songs. It started in junior high with his parody of "Humpty Dumpty," and he was still at it in college at the University of Illinois.

In the spring of 1944, Sherman wrote and starred in a hit student musical called Mirth of a Nation, a farce set during the twelfth Roosevelt administration. It won raves in the student Daily Illini and also the alumni monthly. Mirth's "gags were better than most we've heard on the professional stage this year."

His parody of the Mother Goose rhyme "Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been" pokes fun at Eleanor Roosevelt and her hectic travel schedule, which earned her the nickname Rover. It's a clever piece of work and has a wonderful sense of fun about it, a joyous freedom to fool around with words and make them do  tricks.

Eleanor, Eleanor, where have you been?
I've been to London to visit the queen
I've been to Manchuria
And I can assuria
I've been to more places than you've ever seen!

Eleanor, Eleanor, why did you go?
Life at the White House was boring me so
Have you forgotten?
My husband goes yachtin'
Sometimes with Winston and sometimes with Joe!

When people criticize me 
Because I gad about
They really do surprise me---
'Cause hasn't a lady the right to go out?

Eleanor, Eleanor, whither away?
I'm getting tired of this USA
I'm off to Algeria
To gather materia'
For my newspaper seria, which is known as MY DAY!

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