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Posted By: Jeff on: 03/11/2010 18:00:03 EST
Subject: RE: There's a classic song behind those

Message Detail:
In the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" there are several scenes where George and Mary (Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, of course) start singing this catchy little ditty that goes "Buffalo gals, won't cha come out tonight, aaaaaaand dance by the light of the moon." It comes to symbolize their relationship together, and remember Mary had a phonograph record of it that she tearfully broke when she thought George wasn't romantically interested in her? That song has a really long and winding history. It started out as a so-called darky minstrel tune from 1844 that went "Lubly Fan, will you come out to-night"--I think the first two words are supposed to be stereotypical black dialect for "Lovely Fan[nie]." It became a popular tune in its day, and as minstrel shows traveled from place to place the performers changed the lyric to fit the young ladies in whatever city they happened to be in--Washington gals, Baltimore gals, Charleston gals, etc. (Same principle as the 20-some versions of Tommy Facenda's "High School USA," one tailored for New York, one for Chicago, one for D.C., as so on.) For some reason "Buffalo Gals" caught on better than all the other variations, and much of the rest of the lyrics were changed/cleaned up to more properly suit white audiences. Before long "Buffalo Gals" became a national hit and remained an enduring standard for decades. In the 1940's, a number of big band leaders and singers reshaped it again, leaving the melody and most of the lyrics intact but changing the refrain from "Buffalo gals, won't cha come out tonight" to "Gonna dance with the dolly with the hole in her stocking." In 1944 Russ Morgan's version was a major Top 10 hit in this country. I suppose Joni Mitchell's remake turned out to be her "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy" moment. And now you know...the rest of the story!!!


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