George Gershwin

George & Ira Gershwin's Contract to Write a New Song for the Motion Picture "Girl Crazy"

George & Ira Gershwin's Contract to Write a New Song for the Motion Picture Girl Crazy


3pp typewritten document signed by American musicians and brothers George Gershwin (1898-1937) as "George Gershwin" and Ira Gershwin (1896-1983) as "Ira Gershwin" on the last page. Signed in New York City on November 27, 1931. Also signed by RKO Radio Pictures, Ltd. Vice-President Lee Warens. Double hole punched at top, expected light paper folds and staple marks, else near fine. 8.5" x 11". Stored in a custom green cloth-covered case with gilt labels.


This business contract outlined terms for a new song to be written by the Gershwin brothers for the upcoming motion picture, Girl Crazy.


In part:


"We entered into an agreement dated March 9, 1931, with you, John McGowan and Guy Bolton and Freelex Productions, Inc. in which we purchased the motion picture rights in and to the dramatic co-musical material entitled 'Girl Crazy'.


You have advised us that you are willing to write for us a wholly original song or musical composition (hereinafter called 'the musical number') to be sung by Bert Wheeler and Dorothy Lee in a motion picture to be produced by us based on 'Girl Crazy.'


We hereby engage and employ you to write the musical number for us, upon the terms and conditions hereinafter provided. You agree to write the musical number for us; you will begin work upon the same immediately upon the execution hereof and you will deliver it to us as soon as possible after the date hereof, but in any event not later than December 7, 1931…


In consideration of your services in writing and composing the musical number and of the rights herein granted and agreed to be granted to us and the warranties herein made, we will pay you, upon delivery to us of the musical number, the sum of Two thousand ($2000) dollars..."


According to George Gershwin's biographer, Edward Jablonski, Girl Crazy remains "one of [the brothers'] most inspired scores, including as it does the classic 'I Got Rhythm' [and] 'Embraceable You'. Girl Crazy converted the Alvin box office into a gold mine after its opening on October 14, 1930." Said one observer, as quoted in Jablonski, "The premiere performance was conducted by George Gershwin, and he got as much applause as anyone on the stage." American theater critic Brooks Atkinson called the theatrical production of Girl Crazy "an agreeable diversion," and predicted that it would last. It did: for 272 performances.


Jablonski continued: "The single Hollywood assignment of the next year, 1932, was one song, 'You've Got What Gets Me,' for the film version of Girl Crazy, starring the team of (Bert) Wheeler and (Robert) Woolsey. The studio's song doctors by not very deft surgery eliminated most of the Broadway score (although inexplicably retaining 'Barbary Coast' and the Mexican Dance as instrumental pieces). 'But Not For Me,' 'Bidin' My Time' and 'I Got Rhythm' were all that remained of the original. The song which the Gershwins wrote was taken from 'Those Eyes,' also known as 'Your Eyes, Your Smile,' which was shelved by a producer five years earlier, but which the Gershwins preserved for later use. When called upon to write this new song for the film version, "the brothers remembered the bridge (the B section between choruses) [and from it,] developed the main strain of the chorus of 'You've Got What Gets Me.'"



Item: 65967

Price: $6,000.00
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