Honorable Mentions

William Carey Duncan worked with Oscar Hammerstein II on Vincent Youmans’ Mary Jane McKane (1923.45); later Duncan would work with John Welles on Youmans’ Great Day (1929.37), a disappointment for all with only 36 performances.

Zelda Sears worked as librettist on Youmans’ Lollipop (1924.02).

Laurence Stallings Photo 1918 wearing Croix de Guerre WWI, American Playwright

Laurence Stallings

Laurence Stallings worked with Hammerstein on Rainbow (1928.44), a Youmans show that ran for only 29 performances.

William A. McGuire tried his hand at writing a book for the Youmans show, Smiles (1930.39), which closed after only 63 performances.  He had experienced a much happier outcome when he wrote the book for Walter Donaldson’s big hit, Whoopee (1928.47).  While not a major writer for the stage, McGuire did a number of other notable projects: working with Guy Bolton on the George Gershwin/Sigmund Romberg show Rosalie (1928.03); writing the book for Rudolf Friml’s show The Three Musketeers (1928.12); and providing the book for Gershwin’s Show Girl (1929.27).

Brian Hooker took his turn working with Youmans; he wrote the libretto for Through the Years (1932.03).  

We think it is important to note that after Hit the Deck, all of Youmans’ Broadway attempts were unsuccessful.  It is interesting that the same man wrote the score for the movie, Flying Down to Rio (1933), which was sensational. Among the many songs of note in the movie, there is the enchanting tango called “Orchids in the Moonlight.”

Besides a wonderful score and a silly plot, this movie represents the first time that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were paired together as dance partners.  As they say in show business, the rest is history.

As for Youmans, although he had some key Broadway hits, it appears that the right entertainment medium for him may have been the movies.