While listening to a movie related podcast the other day, I heard the popular tune “Hooray for Hollywood” and I have not been able to get it out of my head since! I didn’t know much about the song, but because I was pretty sure it held a significant place in the history of Hollywood, I felt like I should know more about it. I’ve heard the melody many times but realized that I didn’t even know any of the lyrics to the song other than the words of the title, so I thought I’d do a little research on its history.
The song “Hooray for Hollywood” was composed in the late 1930’s by Richard Whiting, who is also known for the standards “Ain’t We Got Fun” and “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” the latter made famous by Shirley Temple in the movie Bright Eyes (1934). It was first featured in the movie Hollywood Hotel (1937) starring Dick Powell, Rosemary & Lola Lane, and Ted Healy. It was sung by Johnnie Davis and Frances Langford, who were accompanied by Benny Goodman and his orchestra.
The lyrics were written by lyricist and singer, Johnny Mercer, who also wrote lyrics to more than 1,500 songs throughout his career including favorites like “Jeepers Creepers,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Moon River,” “Days of Wine and Roses,” and “Summer Wind”. I can’t seem to find a site showing the full lyrics as they appeared in the movie, but you can hear them in this video clip from the movie.
Recorded Versions of Hooray for Hollywood
Since its appearance in Hollywood Hotel, the lyrics to the song “Hooray for Hollywood” have changed slightly over time and the song has been recorded by several different people including Nancy Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Sammy Davis, Jr., and jazz singer Anita O’Day.
But possibly the most well known version was the one sung by Doris Day as part of a two volume set of standards that she released in late 1958 and early 1959. The album, which was actually called Hooray for Hollywood, included Doris’ versions of hit classics such as “Cheek to Cheek,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Over the Rainbow”, and “Three Coins in the Fountain”.
I’ve never seen the movie Hollywood Hotel, but after watching the clip I linked to above and reading more about it, I really want to see it now. Despite the fact that the movie hasn’t gotten the greatest reviews, I plan on watching it soon and writing a post about it as I have already discovered some interesting background information that I’m excited to explore further!
If you were already familiar with the song “Hooray for Hollywood,” do you have a favorite version?
P.S. The song’s melody has also been used for several other purposes including as the final theme song to the Jack Benny radio show, the opening to Disney’s Hollywood Studios Great Movie Ride, and as part of the soundtrack at Academy Awards ceremonies.