Apr 30, 2012

Musical Monday: Inside U.S.A.

"inside u.s.a"

Sixty-four years ago tonight, Inside U.S.A., a new musical revue opened on Broadway. Featuring the songs of Arthur Schwartz and Howard Deitz, the show was literally all-American. Loosely based on the book of the same name by John Gunther, Schwartz and Deitz wrote a seriies of songs about places and states in America. The show starred Bea Lillie, Jack Haley, Jack Cassidy and a young Carl Reiner in his Broadway debut.

The show was a success, running for 399 performances, but because of an impending ASCAP strike, the cast album was recorded before the Broadway cast was fully assembled, so that the biggest hit of the show, "Haunted Heart" was sung by Perry Como who never appeared in the production. Issued originally as a series of 78's, the cast album was never re-issued in the LP era, and it took until 2005 for the tracks to appear on a CD.

Deitz, before he became a popular songwriter and director, was the head of the Goldwyn Pictures publicity department. In 1920 he hired a young kid looking to work off his school-imposed apprenticeship as a gofer in the office. The boy liked to draw and was forever sketching and throwing the drawings into the waste paper basket before Deitz fished one out, thought it was pretty good, and published the first drawing by Al Hirschfeld.