“Where or When”

Image: Friedrich Nietzsche in 1882.

From Wikipedia:

“ “Good Morning” is a song with music by Nacio Herb Brown and lyrics by Arthur Freed, originally written for the film Babes in Arms (1939) and performed by Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.”

“Babes in Arms is the 1939 American film version of the 1937 coming-of-age Broadway musical of the same title. Directed by Busby Berkeley, it stars Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland (in their second film together), and features Charles Winninger, Guy Kibbee, June Preisser, Grace Hayes, and Betty Jaynes. The film concerns a group of youngsters trying to put on a show to prove their vaudevillian parents wrong and make it to Broadway. The original Broadway script was significantly revamped, restructured, and rewritten to accommodate Hollywood’s needs. Almost all of the Rodgers and Hart songs from the Broadway musical were discarded.”

“Babes in Arms is a 1937 coming-of-age musical comedy with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart and book by Rodgers and Hart. It concerns a group of small-town Long Island teenagers who put on a show to avoid being sent to a work farm by the town sheriff when their actor parents go on the road for five months in an effort to earn some money by reviving vaudeville.

Several songs in Babes in Arms became pop standards, including the title song, “Where or When“, “My Funny Valentine“, “The Lady Is a Tramp“, “Johnny One Note” and “I Wish I Were in Love Again“.

The film version, released in 1939, starred Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney and was directed by Busby Berkeley. Its radically revised plot retained only two songs from the original stage version—”Where or When” and “Babes in Arms“. The film is credited with popularizing the “kids putting on a musical for charity” trope…

Where or When” is the first number to appear in the original Broadway production of Babes in Arms. The musical opens in Seaport, Long Island on a hectic morning that finds most of the adult population embarking on a five-month vaudeville tour. Soon after his parents’ departure, 20-year-old Valentine LaMar (played by Ray Heatherton) discovers at his doorstep a young hitchhiker named Billie Smith (played by Mitzi Green). Instantly smitten, he engages her in a discussion of movie stars, self-defense maneuvers, and Nietzsche’s theory of individualism, at which point Val impulsively steals a kiss. Both admit to a powerful sense of déjà vu and sing “Where or When” as a duet…

people also tend to experience déjà vu more in fragile conditions or under high pressure, and research shows that the experience of déjà vu also decreases with age…

…The original version had strong political overtones with discussions of Nietzsche, a Communist character, and two African-American youths who are victims of racism. In 1959 George Oppenheimer created a “sanitized, de-politicized rewrite” which is now the most frequently performed version. In the new version, the young people are trying to save a local summer stock theatre from being demolished, not trying to avoid being sent to a work farm. The sequence of the songs and orchestration are changed drastically, and the dance numbers eliminated.

The sanitized version was the only one available for performance until 1998 when the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music presented the original version (with a few race references slightly re-edited).”

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