Happy Birthday, Yip Harburg
Born this day in 1896, this beloved lyricist (whose favorite songwriters in college were Gilbert and Sullivan), was instrumental in creating material for Bert Lahr in the 1934 Broadway revue Life Begins at 8:40, an experience that prepared him for a similar task in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. He also wrote “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” for Groucho Marx to sing in At the Circus. And he worked on the songs for the musical Moonlight and Pretzels, which I write about here.
Did he do more? Yes, a lot more, but these are the accomplishments I particularly prize him for. Yip passed away in 1981.
To learn more about vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.