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Herb Magidson has the distinction of writing the first Academy Award-winning song, “The Continental,” with composer Con Conrad for the 1934 film The Gay Divorcee. Attesting to the song’s staying power, Freddy Cole recorded a lovely version of it in 2005. Magidson subsequently received Oscar nominations for “Say a Pray’r for the Boys Over There,” written with Jimmy McHugh in 1943 for Hers to Hold, and “I’ll Buy That Dream,” written with Allie Wrubel in 1945 for Sing Your Way Home. He and Wrubel also penned two songs that moved into the top echelons of jazz standards and have remained there over the years. “Gone with the Wind” (1937) and “The Masquerade Is Over” (1939) are favored by both vocalists and instrumentalists.
A number of Magidson’s songs made the Hit Parade in their day. “Music, Maestro, Please,” written with Wrubel, went to number one on the charts with Tommy Dorsey’s 1938 recording, while two other versions made it into the top five. Frankie Laine successfully revived it in 1961. “I’ll Dance at Your Wedding,” written with Ben Oakland, spent eight weeks in second place on the charts in 1948. “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later than You Think)” was a hit for Guy Lombardo in 1950.
Magidson worked as a lyricist for a number of films throughout the ‘30s and ‘40s, and a song written with Ben Oakland and George Jessel for the 1937 film The Life of the Party became the opening theme for Jessel’s TV show which ran from 1953-1954.
- Sandra Burlingame
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Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice Brady, Edward Everett Horton, Erik Rhodes
The Gay Divorcee
Turner Home Ent
DVD - Features "The Continental"
Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers
The Gay Divorcee (1934)
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