DEAR JERRY: In the early 1960s, I usually heard the local Top 40 on WHIL (1430-AM), and they played a record that I have never gotten out of my head. Unfortunately, after it ran its course, I never heard it again. Not on any oldies show. Not online. Not anywhere.
I don't know the singer, bit I recall how the lyrics revolve around girls' names, including some uncommon ones.
I say this because I was shocked and amused to hear my very unusual name included.
Since this must be the only time in history for this, I need the necessary details to find this song.
How can I put an end to this 50-year search?
Gwenevieve Mason, Everett, Mass.
DEAR GWENEVIEVE: I believe you just did.
Rather than a recollection of Gwenevieve mentioned in a song, it is the rest of your description that pointed me to “Girls, Girls, Girls,” by Steve Lawrence (United Artists 233).
My suspicion grew stronger when I flipped through my WHIL Top 30 surveys and found “Girls, Girls, Girls” at No. 18 on July 11, 1960.
Yet only by listening to the lyrics would it be possible to confirm Gwenevieve is one of these girls, girls, and more girls. I did, and your's is the 19th name mentioned.
In order heard, and omitting duplicates, let's meet those girls: Donna; Peggy Sue; Susie; Mary Lou; Sheila; Shirley; Catherine; Tina; Lena; Marilyn; Toni; Joni; Mary Jean; Janet; Mary; Francine; Phyllis; Connie; Gwenevieve; Lilly; Molly; Joyce; Eve; Carol; Jane; Joanne; Darlene; Lorraine; Mona; Rona; Natalie; Sunny; Bunny; Beverly; Brooke; Eve; Hazel; Ruth; Adele; Doris; Iris; Michelle; Debbie; Brenda; Arlene; Audrey; Eydie; Maxine; Judy; Annie; Helen; Sandy; Corky; Bunky; Vicky; Bobbie; Nancy; Dottie; Etta; Ruthie; Peggy; Rosie; Karen; Alice; Lindsay; Zelda; Phyllis; Marsha; Myrna; Terri; Lucy; Rhoda; Flossie; Clara; Ethel; Lois; Mina; Nana; Mattie; Lana; Patty; Lizzy; Betty; Zsa Zsa; Dora; Becky; Billie; Eva; Gertie; Anna; Sadie; Minnie; Angie; Shelly; Bessie; Sharon; and Barbara.
Most of these names are sung or spoken by Steve Lawrence, though an unidentified male collaborator does rotate the name-calling at times. Probably to allow Steve to take a breath.
Breath and energy conservation may be why we only hear Lawrence sing “Girls, Girls,” dropping the third word of the title.
For the record, some names supposedly overlooked in pre-1960 songs were not really ignored, and many on the list have since been honored in song. Gwenevieve, meaning “white wave” in Ireland, is not among them, sorry to say.
Noteworthy is the inclusion of Eydie, no doubt a nod to Steve's wife, Eydie Gorme.
DEAR JERRY: Being a fan of music as well as movies, I am quite aware of how often big hit songs originated in a film soundtrack, then made it onto records.
It seems odd that Alfred Hitchcock, with four or five dozen films to his credit, has only one with Oscar-winning music.
That of course is “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera),” as recorded by Doris Day, from “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956).
Is this one song the beginning and the end of Academy Award winners from Hitchcock films?
Gerry Guillotte, New York City.
DEAR GERRY: Indeed it is, but the void is not limited to award-winning songs. Doris Day's “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” is the only HIT song from Sir Alfred's 51 years of films (1925-1976).
IZ ZAT SO? Considering his lofty ranking as one of the greatest directors if not the greatest Hitchcock received just one Oscar, that being the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award (1967).
In the competitive categories, Hitch garnered six nominations: (1940) Best Director (“Rebecca”); (1941) Producer for Best Picture (“Suspicion”); (1944) Best Director (“Lifeboat”); (1945) Best Director (“Spellbound”); (1954) Best Director (“Rear Window”); and (1960) Best Director (“Psycho”).
Of these, the master of suspense won none.