Anyone recognize an obscure Show Tune?
January 28, 2011 9:41 AM   Subscribe

In Bob & Ray's soap opera parody "Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife" the characters put on a show, and during one rehearsal a musical number is played, called "In Your Hat". It's obviously an original cast recording from some obscure musical, but what? Google returns no results except for references to the Bob & Ray usage itself. The lyrics are odd and the meter is strange, and the featured male singer sings off-key several times, but its no amateur production, as it has a full orchestra and chorus. Can anyone recognize it from the lyrics below?

In your hat, by Lilly Dasche
And your gown by Scap-arelli
You’re as pretty as the big gold rhinestone in your hat
(unintelligible) and when you’re passing by
How could any mortal such as I
Keep from sigh----ing
"Isn’t She Lovely”
Don’t I adore
The way her gorgeousness
Has thrilled me to the core
She’s so lovely
And so divine
I’d swim the Pa-na-ma Canal
To make her mine
She’s a vision of beauty
And the beauty part
Is the beauty of the feeling she will start in your heart
In your hat by Sally Victor
You’re an invitation to a fond caress
And when you pass my way
You’ll always here me say
“Isn’t She Lovely” (recording ends)
posted by bigguy1960 to Media & Arts (9 answers total)
Response by poster: If you want to hear this recording, go to, and listen to # 27, "The Meredith Jinx" - its about 5 minutes long, and the recording starts at 2:35
posted by bigguy1960 at 9:45 AM on January 28, 2011

Response by poster: Incidentally, "In Your Hat" was one of the phrases prohibited by the Hayes Office during 1930's movie censorship.
posted by bigguy1960 at 9:47 AM on January 28, 2011

Should be "Lilly Daché" and "Schiaparelli" (both famous designers of the 1950s) but Googling those doesn't help.

It's absolutely possible that Bob and Ray confected this whole thing themselves and recorded it when an orchestra happened to be in the radio studio for something else.

You know who would know? Larry Josephson, who maintains the official Bob and Ray site. If all else fails, he can ask Bob himself.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:51 AM on January 28, 2011

Seconding that -- if anyone would know, it would be Larry Josephson.
(Wish I could still hear him on the radio!)
posted by Rash at 1:22 PM on January 28, 2011

Incidentally, "In Your Hat" was one of the phrases prohibited by the Hayes Office during 1930's movie censorship.
OK, I couldn't resist looking this up and since it's basically the title of the piece, it's probably even relevant.

The Grammarphobia blog has this:
Another heady phrase, “in your hat,” has been used to express “derision or incredulity” since the 1920s, according to Random House.

An article in Vanity Fair in 1927 said, ” ‘In your hat’ is equivalent to ‘applesauce,’ ‘boloney,’ ‘hooey,’ or ‘banana oil.’ ” (A little aside here. I had a blog item a while back on the subject of “Phooey!”)

But why “in your hat” rather than, say, “in your shoe”? Random House compares “in your hat” to a more vulgar expression, “go shit in your hat,” which it traces to the poet William Blake’s satirical work An Island in the Moon (circa 1784): “I’ll sing you a song said the Cynic. The Trumpeter shit in his hat said the Epicurean & clapt it on his head said the Pythagorean.”

Here are two more modern examples: From Jerome Weidman’s novel I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1937), “All I have to say is: In your hat and over your ears; you look good in brown.” And from Calder Willingham’s novel End as a Man (1947), “Go shit in your hat.”
posted by flug at 5:50 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

  • the fact that there doesn't seem to be any musical by the title "Westchester Curioso" (referred to in the dialogue),
  • the overdrawn parodic style of the performance (particularly the male vocalist),
  • the broad and continual references to "in your hat" (assuming that it was a widely known crude/vulgar phrase as the references above seem to indicate, but also has an often-used and completely innocuous meaning--so a sort of double-entendre sort of effect),
my guess is that it's a parody of Broadway songs of the time, that has been written and performed especially for the show.

A full orchestral number isn't that unusual or impossible for the time & place--note the theme of the series, for instance.
posted by flug at 7:10 PM on January 28, 2011

Also the spoken word line, "In your hat - by Sally Victor" seems to be a reference to noted hat designer Sally Victor, probably in about the same league as Lilly Daché and Schiaparelli.

But again it seems to be a comedic or parodic reference--I'm pretty sure Sally Victor was designing hats, not writing songs about them . . .

(BTW there is probably a nice MeFi post about Sally Victor to be written by someone very interested in hats.)
posted by flug at 7:23 PM on January 28, 2011

Yes, Sally Victor was an awesome hat designer, and as well-known as the others at the time! I just didn't mention her because the OP transcribed the spelling of her name correctly, so that wasn't a Googling challenge.

A full orchestral number isn't that unusual or impossible for the time & place--note the theme of the series, for instance.

"Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife" was one of many brief recurring sketches on the various Bob and Ray shows--it was a parody of the hit show "Mary Noble, Backstage Wife" (also known just as "Backstage Wife") that ran from the 1930s to the 1950s.

But, as you say, there were often orchestras in radio stations for other things, and everyone loved Bob and Ray and would have been glad to spend a few minutes doing them a favor. They were legendary for getting the most out of their tiny production budgets thanks to their personal charisma.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:33 PM on January 28, 2011

Response by poster: I still say its a cast recording, not made for the show. This was during Bob & Rays days in New York, and they seemed to have access to a lot of odd recordings through the radio station, including a record of the sound of an actual chicken gizzard (grinding food with and without gravel), a recording of some woman describing her cat that died in 1929, a recording of a woman doing bird calls, a recording of some French conductor rehearsing an orchestra and yelling at them, a "captain of the keys" ceremony from some army, a recording of someone singing "goodby, goodby, I wish you all a fond goodby...." etc. etc. etc. They used these recordings sometimes as interview 'subjects', or as live remotes (the French Conductor was warming up The Bob & Ray Orchestra"). The "In Your Hat" episode is from 1959, no radio station at that time still employed a live orchestra.

I did eMail Mr. Josephson, and he said he would ask Bob Eliot and see if he remembers.

By the way, You wont find "Westchester Furioso" anywhere because it was a joke based on the title "Orlando Furioso", a book from about that time. "Westchester Furioso" seemed to involve musical numbers, tap dancing and ping pong, and it was explained in one episode that the play was about a man from Westchester who was furious about something.
posted by bigguy1960 at 8:07 PM on January 29, 2011

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