Music Friday: Frank Sinatra and His Pals Sing About a Ruby and ‘Lifting Platinum Falderal’ in ‘Guys and Dolls’

July 11th, 2014

 

For today’s Music Friday feature, we join Frank Sinatra, Stubby Kaye and Johnny Silver as they stroll the streets of 1940s New York City singing the title song Guys and Dolls.

In this comical tune about how guys in love often do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do, ruby and platinum make their big screen debut.

 


Based on the unsavory activities of petty criminals and professional gamblers, Guys and Dolls, which was a hit Broadway play in 1950 and an equally successful movie in 1955, seems to be written in a language all its own.

For instance, take this verse written by Frank Loesser: “When you meet a mug / Lately out of the jug / And he's still liftin' platinum falderal / Call it hell / Call it heaven / It's a probable twelve to seven / That the guy's only doin' it for some doll.”


A loose non-poetic translation would be, “When you meet an ugly guy who's been recently let out of jail, and he still finds it necessary to shoplift platinum trinkets, you can agree or disagree with what he's doing, but it's a good bet that he’s doing it to impress a woman.”


The ruby line in the spoken introduction to the song needs no translation: “What's in The Daily News? / I'll tell ya what's in The Daily News. / A story about a guy / Who bought his wife a small ruby / With what otherwise woulda been his union dues. / That's what's in the Daily News.”


The Broadway premiere of Guys and Dolls was in 1950. It ran for 1,200 performances and won a Tony Award in 1951 for Best Musical. The film adaption by Samual Goldwyn Productions cost a then-unheard-of $5.5 million and starred Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Sinatra and Vivian Blaine. It ended up grossing $20 million at the box office.


We welcome you to enjoy the video of Sinatra (as Nathan Detroit), Kaye (as Nicely-Nicely Johnson) and Johnny Silver (as Benny Southstreet) performing the classic “Guys and Dolls.” The lyrics are below is you’d like to sing along:

 


“Guys and Dolls”

Music and lyrics by Frank Loesser

(spoken intro)...

What's playin' at The Roxy?

I'll tell ya what's playin' at The Roxy.

A picture about a Minnesota man

So in love with a Mississippi girl

That he sacrifices everything

And moves all the way to Biloxi.

That's what's playin' at The Roxy.

What's in the Daily News?

I'll tell ya what's in the Daily News.

A story about a guy

Who bought his wife a small ruby

With what otherwise woulda been his union dues.

That's what's in the Daily News.

What's happenin' all over?

I'll tell ya what's happenin' all over.

Guy sittin' home by a television set

Who once used to be something of a rover.

That's what's happenin' all over.

Love is the thing that has licked 'em.

And it looks like I'm just another victim.

(song begins)...

When you see a guy

Reach for stars in the sky

You can bet that he's doin' it for some doll

When you spot a John

Waitin' out in the rain

Chances are he's insane

As only a John

Can be for a Jane

When you meet a gent

Payin' all kinds of rent

For a flat that could flatten the Taj Mahal

Call it sad

Call it funny

But it's better than even money

That the guy's only doin' it for some doll

When you see a Joe

Savin' half of his dough

You can bet there'll be mink in it for some doll

When a bum buys wine

Like a bum can't afford

It's a cinch that the bum

Is under the thumb

Of some little broad

When you meet a mug

Lately out of the jug

And he's still liftin' platinum falderol

Call it hell

Call it heaven

It's a probable twelve to seven

That the guy's only doin' it for some doll

When you see a sport

And his cash has run short

You can bet that he's bankin' it with some doll

When a guy wears tails

With the front gleaming white

Who do you think

He's tickling pink

On Saturday night?

When a lazy slob

Gets a good steady job

And he smells of Vitalis and Barbasol

Call it dumb

Call it clever

But you can get odds forever

That the guy's only doin' it for some doll

Some doll

Some doll

The guy's only doin' it for some doll!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KqkOGt0-Ouk

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