JOE BLITMAN'S
FASHION & CELEBRITY DOLLS
2021 HOLIDAY ADVENT CALENDAR
DAY 10




16 Dartmouth Drive
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270
323-953-6490

 
joeblitman@aol.com





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CAROLYN LEIGH

1926-1983




Lyricist Carolyn Leigh was born in the Bronx, educated at Queens College and NYU, and spent her early 20’s working with words as a copywriter for radio stations and ad agencies.
 



She also wrote stories and poetry, which led to a contract to write song lyrics.



Leigh once explained “I wasn’t especially educated for this business.  Oddly enough, I don’t think you can be.  There is no course in writing lyrics.” 


There's no course in collecting dolls, either; it's just fun.

Of course, there are a few good books on dolls out there ....

 

and some nice websites that feature fun items for sale:

Oh look!  Here are the 11 fun items we are featuring on our website today:




BARBIE-LOGO RING LIGHT
(PEOPLE-SIZED)
2021 BARBIE CONVENTION GIFT
(2021)
NRFB
$29.99


BARBIE INFLATABLE POOL FLOAT
PEOPLE-SIZE

(2021)
NRFB
$99.99


RED RIDING HOOD & THE WOLF
(1964)
NRFB
$599.00


LIL' GENTLEMAN TOMMY
NRFB
$6.99


CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN
BARBIE SHOE PAK
(2010)
NRFB
$250.00


ROME FASHION DOLL CONVENTION
SET OF SOUVENIRS
(2021)
$75.00


SCARLETT O'HARA BARBIE
in the
GREEN VELVET DRAPERY DRESS
(1994)
MIB
$25.00

AFTER FIVE
(1962)
Fabric Variation
Excellent+ & Complete
$125.00


ZURI OKOTY
DANGEROUS CURVES
METEOR
(2021)
NRFB
$160.00


BLOND #4 PONYTAIL BARBIE
(1960)
$495.00


GIFT CERTIFICATES
IN ANY AMOUNT YOU WANT





In 1953, at the very start of her song-writing career, Carolyn Leigh wrote the lyrics to “Young at Heart,” an instrumental composition by Johnny Richards.
 




It was a monster hit for Frank Sinatra.
  




Already her work showed her deftness with words and the cleverness in her rhymes:

"And If you should survive
til a hundred and five,
think of all you’ll derive
out of being alive."

Derive! 

What a wondrous word to put in a song. 

When’s the last time you heard “derive” in a lyric? 

Here’s your opportunity with Sinatra singing:




Director Jerome Robbins had the idea to star Mary Martin in J. M. Barrie's 1904 play about Peter Pan, but with a few songs added in here and there. 




Moose Charlap (what a name!) was hired to do the music and Carolyn Leigh was hired to write the lyrics.






Together, they wrote a lot of songs, 8 of which were put into the play.


But the play got negative notices out of town, and Robbins wanted to add more songs so that the show could be a full-fledged musical.

For whatever reason, Robbins hired the writers Comden & Green
(see Day 4 of this Advent Calendar)  and the composer Jule Styne
 


who quickly came up with 6 more tunes to add to the ones Leigh and Charlap had already written.



Three of the Leigh/Charlap songs from the show are classics:

I’ve Gotta Crow



I Won’t Grow Up



and the soaring “I’m Flying,” performed here by Cathy Rigby (and, boy, can she fly!)




Following "Peter Pan," Leigh partnered with Cy Coleman (see Day 8 of this Advent Calendar) for the better part of a decade.



They wrote pop hits whilst trying to get a gig writing a Broadway score.

Three of their pop songs have become standards:

Standard Number One: 

The Best Is Yet to Come,” sung here by Peggy Lee, who was a longtime fan of Leigh/Coleman songs:
 



Standard Number Two: 

“A Doodlin’ Song,” performed here by Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, who clearly were Leigh/Coleman fans, too. 



And Standard Number Three: 

When In Rome.

Here’s a dazzling rendition by Barbra Streisand from her “People” album: 




Also on Day 8 of this Advent Calendar, we gave you links to two other Leigh/Coleman pop standards -- “Witchcraft” and “Pass Me By” -- as well as songs from Leigh/Coleman’s two Broadway musicals:

“Wildcat” with Lucille Ball (“Hey Look Me Over”),




and “Little Me” (“I’ve Got Your Number”)




Another hit from “Little Me” is “Real Live Girl,” sung by Sid Caesar:
 







There’s a very funny story about Carolyn Leigh when “Little Me” was trying out in Philadelphia prior to the show's New York opening: 

The song created for the end of the first act - “Lafayette, We Are Here” -- wasn’t working. 

The audiences were sitting on their hands. 

The creative team tried re-staging the number, but it was still DOA. 

The producer (Cy Feuer), the director (Bob Fosse), and the composer Cy Coleman all agreed that the number had to be cut and replaced. 

But Leigh, who was very possessive and protective of her songs, was determined to keep it in the show.  

Feuer said the song was gone. 

Leigh said that that was a violation of the Dramatists Guild contract they all had signed.  (Which it was.)

Feuer said he didn’t care.

At that point, Leigh stormed out of the theater, only to return minutes later dragging a cop behind her. 

“Arrest him!” she screamed, pointing at Feuer.

“And him!” pointing at Fosse. 

“But not him,” she said, pointing at Coleman. 

“I may need him later.” 

"Under what charge?” asked the cop. 

Leigh heatedly replied:  “For violating the Dramatists Guild contract.”


Such intractability may have had something to do with the bust-up of Coleman and Leigh’s partnership.


In 1968, Carolyn Leigh worked with Elmer Bernstein



on the score for “How Now, Dow Jones,”
 




She also supplied the story, which was this:

A man and a woman are dating.

The man says he can’t get married until the Dow Jones average hits 1000. 

(This was in the days when the Dow Jones was around 500.) 

It just so happens that the woman’s job is to announce the Dow closing every day. 

Guess what she does to hasten the nuptials? 

Economic chaos ensues.

That was it.

The show opened on
December 7, 1967, and closed on June 15, 1968.

(Could anyone really say they were surprised?)

Here, sung by Tony Roberts with a troupe of dancers clad in Mod Era green, and choreographed by an uncredited Michael Bennett, is one of the numbers from the show -- “Step To The Rear”: 





Over the next 20 years, Carolyn Leigh worked continuously on a series of projects with a variety of composers.  But it was the equivalent of spinning wheels, because none of the projects ever came to fruition. 

There were successful revivals of "Peter Pan" and "Little Me." 

And her songs continued to be sung and recorded. 

But her glory days were behind her.

And what glorious songs she left behind.










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