The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #37834   Message #2021887
Posted By: Amos
10-Apr-07 - 11:43 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown
Subject: RE: Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown
The movie was called "Broadway Serenade".

"The film opens in the Naughty Nineties Club in Greenwich Village, where a new act, Hale and Seymour, is entertaining the elite who have come slumming. Jimmy Seymour (Lew Ayres) is at the piano in derby and false moustache while Mary Hale (Jeanette) prances alluringly in a shorter, fancier version of her dance-hall dress in San Francisco.

As the formally dressed patrons arrive, they are handed derbies and can-can bonnets and seated at small tables where they can drink, watch the show, join in the old time songsā€”and drink. One patron (Paul Hurst) has overindulged and becomes boisterous, irritating Jimmy no end. Mary makes little soothing gestures, but when the drunk aims a champagne cork and hits Mary in the face, Jimmy leaps up and slugs him. The scene has been followed with interest by a distinguished gentleman at a back table.

The manager, Mr. Parks (Morgan Wallace), tells Jimmy that three knockouts in one week are enough and fires him. Mary can stay on, he says, but she chooses to depart. In their dressing room, Jimmy pitches his hat across the room onto the hat rack, a gesture he will repeat throughout the film. Mary gives Jimmy a cigarette ("Same thing as counting ten, only easier"!) and consoles him. After all, he is a musical genius. All this will just make copy for his press agents when he is famous. Jimmy hugs her and tells her he's beginning to like having her for a wife.

At their colorful boardinghouse, full of colorful characters, a Christmas surprise is being planned by "the gang," Mrs. Olsen (Esther Dale), Herman (Al Shean, the "Professor" of San Francisco), and the rest. Although they are obviously supposed to be a unique and lovable group of individuals, neither the script nor the director gives them any background, so they are a faceless bunch. A small feast is laid out and a present, a water jug that plays "Auld Lang Syne," is being wrapped. When the couple arrives, Jimmy finds a letter announcing that he has won a scholarship for a year's study in Italy. If he and Mary can raise just one thousand dollars, they can spend a glorious year together on a belated honeymoon.

Old Herman starts a melody on his cello and ends up playing "The Blue Danube." It's that restaurant he works in, he complains. He has played "The Blue Danube" until he is blue in the face. "It's a good thing for you the 'Black Bottom' is out of date," comments Mrs. Olsen.

Jimmy is sure he can sell his new song for the thousand dollars they need. The trouble with people today, he says, is that they are too busy to learn new songs. As an example he plays "A Tisket, a Tasket," then enjoying current popularity in an Ella Fitzgerald recording. He, too, will give them an old one: Tchaikovsky's "None but the Lonely Heart." He pulls out his version and Mary sings "For Ev'ry Lonely Heart." Then they rush off to sell it to the biggest producer in New York, Cornelius Collier.

Mr. Collier (Frank Morgan) is busy, his secretary tells a group of costumed chorines. His business turns out to be another chorus girl, Pearl (Virginia Grey), who is protesting the concealing costume that has been assigned her. Now, if she had one more like this: she strips off the ruffled gown and is clad in a bathing suit.

Judith (Rita Johnson) walks in on this attempted takeover of her man, and the two square off. Judith seizes Collier's cigar and, as Pearl bends to retrieve her costume, the cigar follows her out of the picture. A loud yell from Pearl, and Judith comments that now she'll be known as "Lady Scarface." Pearl protests volubly. It will show in the bathing suit number. Judith coolly remarks that if that spot shows, the police will close the show. "I'll get the police after you!" cries Pearl. "For defacing public property?" sneers Judith."