Love Letters

by Mark Steyn

Jay, I hate to be a pedant, but, re Ira Gershwin’s favorite joke, the chorus girl (auditioning in London) actually sang, as Ira told it, “You say eyether and I say eyether”, not “You say eether and I say eether”. So there.

I thought of that joke the other day when readers emailed me about Matt Lauer, at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, introducing “‘SWonderful”, the Gershwin song of romantic elision, as “Ess Wonderful“. Ira always hated singers who sang “It’s wonderful, it’s marvelous”, which he felt defeated the point of the number. So I’d like to think he’d give Matt Lauer points for originality:

Ess wonderful
Ess marvelous

For the guys who load the prompter, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Any day now on NBC, President Obama will be honoring a corpseman while the band plays “Ess Wonderful”.

Bonus Gershwin story: Years ago, Sarah Vaughan recorded a very minor Gershwin song, “Aren’t You Kind Of Glad We Did?”, which includes the lines:

Socially, I’ll be an outcast
Obviously, we dined alone
On my good name there will be doubt cast
With never a sign of any chaperone…

Miss Vaughan, sight-reading without her glasses perhaps, sang “With never a sign of any Chapter One”, which not only doesn’t rhyme but makes no sense whatsoever. Yet in a roomful of producers, engineers, conductor and orchestra, not one person said “What the hell are you on about?” Decades later, it’s still there on the record. (If memory serves, Jennifer Aniston once sang it on “Friends”, and did less damage.)

PS Mr Lauer’s S Wonderful would make a great name for a wholesome rapper.

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