DEAR JERRY: Is it possible that a soundtrack LP was never issued for “Casablanca”?
Lots of people recorded “As Time Goes By,” but who, if anyone, had a hit with it? Maybe the one who sings it in the movie?
“Casablanca” is an award-winning classic, repeatedly shown for 70 years. How could its music, with numerous instrumentals and vocals, not have been issued by someone.
Leslie Robinson, Hagerstown, Md.
DEAR LESLIE: Someone did, but not until 55 years later, and still not on LP (i.e., vinyl).
From 1942 until 1997, most of the original “Casablanca” recordings were presumed to be lost forever.
Then, while looking for something else, a Warner Brothers employee unearthed those “missing” optical nitrate “Casablanca” recordings.
From that discovery, Turner Classic Films teamed with Rhino Records to produced a 20-track soundtrack CD (Rhino 0034X).
In the film and on the album, “As Time Goes By” is performed by Arthur “Dooley” Wilson. He also sings “Knock on Wood”; “Dat's What Noah Done”; plus a medley of “It Had to Be You” and “Shine.”
The two most commercially successful singles of “As Time Goes By” are tunes you are not likely to hear in the mainstream media: by Rudy Vallee (Baritone with Orchestra) (Victor 20-1526), and Jacques Renard & His Orchestra (Brunswick 6205). Though not credited, the Renard Orchestra's vocalist is Frank Munn.
“As Time Goes By” may be perpetually associated with “Casablanca,” but Herman Hupfeld originally wrote the tune for the short-lived Broadway musical “Everybody's Welcome.”
This show opened at the Schubert Theatre on October 13, 1931, and closed four months and 139 performances later (February 13, 1932).
On that stage, Polly Bascom sang “As Time Goes By” in Act 1, then is joined on the Reprisal by Biny Hatfield in Act 2.
Meanwhile, one mile south at Tin Pan Alley, Hupfeld's song was snatched up by both Rudy Vallee (Victor 22773) and Jacques Renard (Brunswick 6205).
Renard's track is the same as reissued 12 years later to coincide with “Casablanca,” but Vallee's 1931 waxing is completely different than on his 1943 single. That original even features this rarely-heard, one-minute intro:
This day and age we're living in gives cause for apprehension
With speed and new invention, and things like third dimension
We get a trifle weary with Mr. Einstein's theory
So we must get down to earth at times, relax … relieve the tension
No matter what the progress, or what may yet be proved
The simple facts of life are such, they cannot be removed
Most singers of “As Time Goes By” omit these lyrics, but not Rod Stewart. His 2003 remake, billed as the lead track on the “Great American Songbook, Volume II,” faithfully reproduces Rudy Vallee's 1931 intro.
“Casablanca,” the 1943 Academy Award winner for Best Picture, is the legendary Humphrey Bogart's screen debut in a romantic lead role. He previously specialized in portraying gangsters.
IZ ZAT SO? “Casablanca is not the only film starring Humphrey Bogart to have a soundtrack caught up in unexpected and out of the ordinary events.
In 1954, “The Caine Mutiny” soundtrack LP (RCA Victor LOC-1013) was withdrawn and destroyed before all but a few copies made it out of the plant, all caused by squabbling and disagreements over the content.
Because only a handful survived, an authentic original can now fetch in the neighborhood of $10,000.
Adding to “The Caine Mutiny” lore is RCA Victor's official catalog at the time, announcing a seven-inch EP (extended play) containing selections from the 12-inch album.
Based on nothing other than no one seems to have ever seen one, most in the industry assume none were produced in this format.
Still, should a copy of the EP (EOD-1013) surface, its value would easily exceed that of the LP.