Monday, December 26, 2016

the Great Man theory of history

I was watching the 1942 film Holiday Inn, because it's Christmas-time, and because that is a good film:  Fred Astaire performs his famous "firecracker dance" --

as well as other dance numbers, and singing and acting -- a "triple threat"...

Since the making of this film, Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays have been compressed into one holiday, Presidents' Day -- but back in 1942 they were two separately marked occasions.  For Washington's Birthday, there's a played-for-comedy performance in powdered wigs and early colonial ballroom-wear; for Lincoln's birthday they sing...

...When trouble came down from the shelf
Whose heart was bigger than himself?

Abraham, Abraham!

The country's going to the dogs
They shouted loud and long
Then from a cabin made out of logs
The right man came along.

And that is why we celebrate
This blessed February date --

Abraham, Abraham!

The U.S.A.'s united thanks
to one whose name was Nancy Hanks

Abraham, Abraham!

She gave this land the finest son
Who ever went to Washington

Abraham, Abraham!

When someone told him General Grant
Was drinkin' every night
He answered, "Go on out, see if you can't
Get all my generals tight."

That's why we celebrate
This blessed February date --
Abraham, Abraham!


{lyrics and music, Irving Berlin}


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