Thursday, December 25, 2014

Keep Your Skirts Down Mary Ann

Monroe was definitely not a natural blonde. I've never seen such an explicit
image as this one from the subway photo shoot - it's from this German web site.
Another piece of music that I plan to use in my play about Marilyn Monroe is Keep Your Skirts Down Mary Ann, which, although published in 1925, appears to be in the public domain, at least according to archive.org. The song is much less famous than "All By Myself" by Irvin Berlin, and was not recorded by Fitzgerald - it's a slightly risque novelty song, not a classic by an American master - but I think it's pretty appropriate considering that the famous photo shoot of Marilyn's skirt being blown up over the subway grate was considered by many to be a critical component of the demise of Monroe's marriage to Joe DiMaggio - allegedly DiMaggio was very upset by the whole thing - although it appears that it was Monroe who actually filed for the divorce.

I have been unable to find a transcript of the lyrics so I guess I'll have to do it myself. The song is set up as two women with Irish brogues, Mrs. Clancy and Mrs. McCann talk about the daughter of one of them, Mary Ann (so I guess her name is Mary Ann McCann har har) who then shows up herself to argue over her sartorial preferences with her mother:

Mrs. McCann
How do you do, Mrs. Clancy?
 
Mrs. Clancy
I'm well thank you, Mrs. McCann and how is yourself?
 
Mrs. McCann
Sure I'm all in after the week's wash. Me daughter Mary Ann alone gives me enough to break the back of me.
 
Mrs. Clancy
Well after the looks of her today, your wash will be much lighter next week. I'm just half seeing her coming down the street and all I can say is I'm just glad all my girls are boys. Here she comes now.
 
Mrs. McCann
Well well will you look at her. (Unintelligible. "Hand gunner"?)
 
(sings) 
Mary Ann Mary Ann 
Mary Ann
Yeah?
 
Mrs. McCann
I'm ashamed your name's McCann
 
Mary Ann
What's the matter, Mamma dear?
 
Mrs. McCann
Mary Ann come over here. Faith is that the dress your bought?
 
Mary Ann
Don't you know they wear 'em short?
 
Mrs. McCann
You'll get pinched if you get caught.
 
Mary Ann
Well whaddya want from me?
 
Mrs. McCann
Keep your skirts down
 
Mary Ann
Aw
 
Mrs. McCann
Keep your skirts down
 
Mary Ann
Gee
 
Mrs. McCann
Keep your skirts down, Mary Ann
 
Mary Ann
Aw, applesauce
Gee I have a lovely dimple on my knee.
 
Mrs. McCann
Don't I know it.
Faith it wasn't put there for the world to see.
Keep your skirts down. 
 
Mary Ann
Whaddya mean, down?
 
Mrs. McCann
You know what I mean. When you sit down, if you can.
You'd make any man in town a nervous wreck
 
Mary Ann
Why?
 
Mrs. McCann
Remember you can wear your beads around your neck.
 
Mary Ann
Aw Pete's sake
 
Mrs. McCann
Keep your skirts down
Keep your skirts down
 
Mary Ann
They're goin' up
 
Mrs. McCann
Well keep 'em down Mary Ann.
Mary Ann, Mary Ann, sure you'll never get a man.
 
Mary Ann
Oh I'll grab one never fear
 
Mrs. McCann
Mary Ann just listen here
Men like the old fashioned kind
 
Mary Ann
Mamma dear, you're way behind.
 
Mrs. McCann
Sure you'll make em lose their mind.
 
Mary Ann
Well what am I gonna do?
 
Mrs. McCann
Keep your skirts down
Mary Ann
Aw
 
Mrs. McCann
Keep them way down
 
Mary Ann
Gee whiz
 
Mrs. McCann
Keep your skirts down, Mary Ann
 
Mary Ann
You make me tired
I might catch a fellow with my stockings rolled
 
Mrs. McCann
All that you will ever catch will be a cold
Keep your skirts down
 
Mary Ann
Aw whaddya mean down?
 
Mrs. McCann
Keep 'em down, when you sit down, if you can
 
Mary Ann
Nowadays you must dress like this to win a lad
 
Mrs. McCann
Hmm, faith I didn't do it and I won your dad.
 
Mary Ann
Well he was no bargain.
 
Mrs. McCann
Don't get fresh.
Keep your skirts down.
 
Mary Ann
They're goin' up!
 
Mrs. McCann
Well keep em down, Mary Ann
I never really thought about it before, but I was surprised that the phrase "gee whiz" has been around since at least 1925. The song is pretty silly but the graphic that accompanied the sheet music is quite beautiful. It seems that graphic design for sheet music was at a generally high level if this page is to be believed.



1 comment:

  1. I love the Andrews Sisters version of it. I told Maxene that when I met her.
    shanethemovie@yahoo.com

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