03 15 2008 748

Puttin on the Ritz’

"Puttin' on the Ritz" is a popular song written and published in 1929 by Irving Berlin and introduced by Harry Richman in the musical film Puttin' on the Ritz (1930). The title derives from the slang expression "putting on the Ritz", meaning to dress very fashionably. The expression was inspired by the luxuruious Ritz Hotel. The film shows actor Gary Cooper as an example of someone who puts on the Ritz.

The original version of Berlin’s song included references to the then-popular fad of well-dressed but poor black Harlemites parading up and down Lenox Avenue. Berlin later revised the lyrics to apply to affluent whites strutting "up and down Park Avenue". Other lyric changes included:

Original: Spangled gowns upon the bevy of high browns from down the levee, all misfits
Revised: Different types who wear a day coat, pants with stripes and cut away coat, perfect fits

Original: That's where each and ev'ry Lulu-Belle goes, ev'ry Thursday evening with her swell beaus
Revised: Dressed up like a million dollar trouper, trying hard to look like Gary Cooper

Original: Come with me and we'll attend the jubilee, and see them spend their last two bits
Revised: Come, let's mix where Rockerfellers walk with sticks, or umber-ellas In their mitts

Hit phonograph records of the tune in its original popularity of 1929-1930 were recorded by Harry Richman and Fred Astaire

 

source: wikipedia / famoushotels archives 

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