I wish’t I was in Peoria

You haven’t seen much of me lately. I apologize for that. But… well, things got a bit crazy here, what with storms and rising water and holidays and new homes.

Still, Rose and Harold are with me every step of the way. In fact, I’ve been listening to 1920s and 1930s music to get a bit closer to them… and to my grandparents who were young newlyweds during this time.

Suffice it to say that I was surprised to hear this 1925 hit about my own hometown, Peoria.

It makes me happy to think of Rose listening (and dancing, even though Harold is pretty awkward and steps on her toes a lot) to this tune. And like the singer, I often wish “I was in Peoria.” Not because of the “goils” but for the people I love who are still there.

Chorus:  Oh, how I wish’t I was in Peoria, Peoria tonight.
Oh how I miss the “goils” in Peoria, Peoria, tonight.
Oh you can pick a morning gloria right off the sidewalks of Peoria.
Oh, how I wish’t I was in Peoria, Peoria tonight.

All the lyrics here (plus a bonus rendition–scroll to the bottom of the lyrics–of the song by Bill Edwards)


Boogie Shoes

Yikes! That’s not from the 1930s!!!

And yet, that first line expresses Harold’s sentiments perfectly.

In the late twenties and early thirties, there seemed to be two main pastimes: dancing and going to the pictures (and even the picture shows featured dancing). Practically every little town hosted a Friday or Saturday night dance… in the armory, in a barn, at a local church, wherever space allowed.

Imagine how that would be for a fella with two left feet! Especially since Rose loves to dance. Poor Harold. Even the “simple” dances of the era–foxtrot, waltz, castle walk–were challenging. But that didn’t stop him. If dancing was what Rose wanted, well… Continue reading

A Tribute

I recently did a music/movie post, but that was before I noticed that Singin’ in the Rain was a song from Rose’s era. So, in tribute to my favorite movie ever and remembering all three of its stars now deceased—Gene Kelly, Donald O’Conner, and Debbie Reynolds, here is the original version of the song.

This version is from the movie The Hollywood Revue of 1929, sung by Cliff Edwards—aka Ukelele Ike—who was also the voice of Disney’s Jiminy Cricket. Actually, The Hollywood Revue was less of a movie and more of a variety show on film. There was no plot, no main character, just all of MGMs greatest stars trotted out on after the other to sing, dance, or… Gee, what is the verb form of comedian? Comede????

What’s a bit ironic, though, is that the movie Singin’ in the Rain is set at just exactly the time that the real song came out—the late twenties at the advent of talking pictures. So, while I watch this old video, I can picture Rose watching from her seat in the Rialto Theater and I can imagine Gene, Donald, and Debbie maybe hanging out backstage while the scene is being filmed.

For the weirdest version of Singing in the Rain ever, watch this finale from the Hollywood Revue of 1929.

It defies words… Really.


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? Continue reading