Button Up Your Overcoat

While that’s good advice for a January in the northern hemisphere, this post is not a commentary on winter weather. Rather, I’ve been thinking about popular music that Rose might hum while she works, and Button Up Your Overcoat jumped out of the Wikipedia list of tunes made popular in 1929.

This song was first recorded by Ruth Etting in 1928 but was made famous by Helen Kane’s 1929 recording. Don’t recognize the name Helen Kane? Neither did I. But, if you were an avid watcher of old cartoons (by old, I mean early Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny), you’d know her voice as that of Betty Boop¹.

Jack Haley & Zelma O’Neal singing
Button Up Your Overcoat
from the 1930 movie Follow Thru.

Throughout the year of 1929, the song was also featured in the Broadway musical Follow Thru. Of course, Rose would only have heard of that; no chance for a poor farmer’s wife to get halfway across the country to a Broadway show. But in September of 1930, the Broadway production was released on film—one of the first movies in Technicolor—and you can bet that Rose made Harold take her to see it.

There’s also an entire verse that’s very appropriate to Harold & Rose’s plot line:

Keep away from bootleg hooch
When you’re on a spree²
Oh, take good care of yourself
You belong to me

Oh, yes… there’s certainly a spree in store for Harold. Maybe I should sign off and explore that a bit…

So, until next Tuesday, in the parlance of Helen Kane and company… Take good care of yourself!



¹Watch this fun video version by Helen Kane/Betty Boop

²The full song lyrics are quite entertaining (and not all were recorded). You can enjoy them here.

3 thoughts on “Button Up Your Overcoat

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