Monday, May 8, 2023


I always get excited to watch a Bing Crosby movie, whether I have seen the film one or one hundred times! I was especially excited to watch the underrated musical, Mr. Music. Based on the play Accent on Youth written by Samson Raphaelson, the story was actually made into a movie three times. It was filmed in 1935 by Paramount with Hebert Marshall in the title role. Then after the Mr. Music version, it was also filmed again by Paramount in 1959. This time the film was called But Not for Me and starred Clark Gable. The filming of the Bing Crosby version took place from June to August in 1950 in Hollywood. The New York premiere would be at the Paramount Theatre on December 20, 1950. Directed by character actor Richard Haydn, Haydn also appeared as an eccentric millionaire in the film. Film audiences will know him best as the manager of the Von Trapp Family in 1965’s The Sound of Music. The choreography in Mr. Music was done by the great Gower Champion, who also appeared with his then wife Marge Champion in the movie.

The plot is not much, but Bing Crosby plays Paul Merrick, a once successful songwriter, who now prefers to waste time at the horse track and golf course instead of working and writing new songs. At the beginning of the movie, Bing is nearly broke, and he travels back to his old college with his long-suffering producer (Charles Coburn). Instead of working on their new play, Bing wants to go to the college to see them put on a production of an old show of his. Getting off the train at the station, Bing thinks the college crowd is there to see him, but they are there to greet the college hero (played by a young Robert Stack). Bing is greeted by a young lady that works for the alumni office (Nancy Olsen). She is prim and proper, and very structured. Nancy has Bing’s schedule down to the minute while he is there at the college. 

Charles Coburn gets a bright idea to hire the young Nancy to watch over Bing and make he writes his next play. She takes her job quite serious, and she interrupts Bing during everything that he constantly does besides working like horse racing, golfing, and his gold digger girlfriend. The last straw happens when Bing is golfing. He makes a bet with golfer he is playing with. If he wins the match, then he will disappear and never write the songs for the show. So, Nancy shines her pocket mirror in Bing’s way when he is putting, and Bing loses the bet. Bing gets enraged and fires Nancy. Nancy fights back and tells Bing that he just isn’t lazy he is afraid to continue writing, because Bing is afraid of failure and not matching his past successes. This makes Bing think and deep down he knows she is right. Charles Coburn talks him into giving her another chance, and Nancy inspires Bing to write his first song he had written in years. 

Realizing that he can still write, Bing starts writing the new songs one after one. He is so engrossed in writing that he does not realize that Nancy is starting to fall in love with him. Nancy and her Aunt Amy also have moved into the guest room at Bing’s house to keep a closer eye on him. Bing is falling for Nancy, but his ex-girlfriend (Ruth Hussy) keeps showing up, so Nancy starts dating the all-American college hero Robert Stack to make Bing jealous. A snag in the show happens when Charles Coburn runs out of money for Bing’s show, however Aunt Amy’s boyfriend (played by Richard Haydn) agrees to be another producer of the show. In the end, Bing gets the girl, returns to fame with a successful show, and everyone lives happily ever after...


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