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R.I.P. Hugh Martin


Brock
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Songwriter Hugh Martin died yesterday at 96.

 

Martin wrote the music for several Lucy movies including Best Foot Forward (including Buckle Down, Winsocki, The Three Bs, Alive and Kickin' and You're Lucky), Thousands Cheer, Abbot and Costello In Hollywood, Ziegfeld Follies, and wrote "Pass That Peacepipe" which was featured in "The Indian Show".

 

He also arranged the music for the Broadway versions of Too Many Girls, DuBarry was a Lady, and Hooray For What, in which he appeared on stage with Viv as part of the emsemble.

 

He was perhaps best known for writing the music and lyrics for Meet Me In St. Louis including "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "The Trolley Song."

 

R.I.P. :(

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  • 9 months later...

I was just thinking recently how it was kind of sad this was the first Christmas since "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" was written back in 1944 that Hugh Martin was not here. He certainly had a long, blessed life though.

 

I have his excellent autobiography published last year which he discusses the filming of both TOO MANY GIRLS (which he is modest enough to admit it's great claim to fame is it's where Lucy met Desi) and BEST FOOT FORWARD. He tells this terrible story about how awful producer Arthur Freed treated people on the film, including Martin. "...blowing up for apparently no reason was a Freed trademark. It had happened to a humiliated Lucille Ball. Her experience was far worse than mine. I had been alone on a telephone; poor Lucy was excoriated on a huge sound stage in front of a whole mess of stagehands, electricans, cameramen, go-fers, and assorted lackeys. She was devastated and unable to work for a few days. Among the insults Arthur chose to hit her with was 'When I sack you, you can go back to the streets, which is where you belong!'" Of the completed film, Hugh Martin writes, "I like parts of it, especially Lucille Ball as Lucille Ball. Her presence plus the freshness of the young Broadway stars imported from George Abbott's production saved the project from mediocrity."

 

Another tale of interest is his take on the Shuberts replacing Kay Thompson in HOORAY FOR WHAT with Vivian Vance. "They decided (Kay) did not have enough sex appeal, so she was expendable. The order went out 'Get a blonde with curves!' The blonde they got was Vivian Vance. Viv was an excellent comedienne and a sweet person. She would become famous in the fifties as Ethel Mertz in I LOVE LUCY but Kay's shoes were impossible to fill. Vivian fought valiantly against replacing her. Like all of us, she adored Kay." And later in the book discussing being Vivian's vocal coach, "her singing was less than impressive but she had charm and a gift for comedy, so I thoroughly enjoyed working with her."

 

I highly recommend Hugh Martin's book THE BOY NEXT DOOR especially if you're into musicals.

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