Thursday Inspiration #105 Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word smoke, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’, or any other song by The Platters, or writing about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, as they are shown dancing to this tune in the video below.  I would love to continue as the host of Thursday Inspiration which I took over from Paula, as I have some pretty good songs already lined up, but it gets frustrating when there is minimal participation, so I want to make this easy and you can basically to this challenge, by writing about anything that you feel fits.  ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ by The Platters went to #1 in both the US and the UK and it was written in 1933 for the musical Roberta, starring Bob Hope.  The lyrics were written by Otto Harbach and the music was composed by Jerome Kern.

Otto Harbach had bounced around between many different professions, teaching English literature at Columbia University and Whitman College, being a newspaper reporter and journalist, working in advertising and insurance, till one day when he took a street car uptown, and passed a giant billboard advertising Miss Fay Templeton, which made him wonder what it would be like to write a musical show and this curiosity led him to a new career.  The song ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ was originally written as an instrumental by Jerome Kern for 1927 musical production Show Boat, but it fell by the wayside, being cut in rehearsal, mostly because there was simply too much music already in this masterpiece.  Five years later Kern reworked this song, but nothing came of it.  A year later the composer and his longtime collaborator Otto Harbach found themselves adapting a novel by Alice Duer Miller called Gowns By Roberta.

Harbach stopped at Kern’s place, and saw this old tune lying on the piano.  He asked Jerry to play it, and the composer obliged.  The notes that had taken Otto’s fancy were short, fast kind of machine-gun notes you can tap-dance to.  Jerry told him the tempo was all wrong for a show like Roberta, but Otto said no, let me hear the short, fast notes again, but this time play them long and slow.  And, when he did, the tune emerged as the great ballad that had been there all along, buried in a discarded pile.  ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ was originally sung by Tamara, who accompanied herself onstage with a guitar.  While she was speaking to Bob Hope’s character about her love for another man, she introduced the song with a spoken line referring to a Russian proverb, “When your heart’s on fire, smoke gets in your eyes.”

Eight months after the Platters took this song to #1, the four male members of were arrested on August 10th 1959 in a Cincinnati motel room.  The smoke that got into their eyes was from illegal narcotics, and there was evidently so much of it in the air they failed to notice the room had filled up with several prostitutes.  It was a catastrophic humiliation, but they said that the women were their girlfriends.  Radio stations, at least temporarily, resisted playing their records, though the whole thing seemed to blow over by year’s end.

“When a lovely flame dies
Smoke gets in your eyes”

18 thoughts on “Thursday Inspiration #105 Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

  1. I’d love to participate in your challenge but with A to Z, and other prompts I am finding it hard. If you can keep at it till May, then I’m sure to participate.

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    1. I completely understand Sadje and besides Thursday Inspiration there are many other Thursday prompts, so I am going to stick it out for a while. I am so happy that I have finished all of my A to Z posts.

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      1. That’s great. I’m just a day ahead so I have to write almost daily. You’re right there are quite a few prompts on Thursday. And just two on Friday. You can shift it to Friday too.

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      2. Last year I scrambled and I thought that I would never finish. This year I picked songs instead of groups and I got an earlier start, so it has been a lot less stressful for me. I am going to stick with Thursday since it is called Thursday Inspiration and I do host another challenge every other Friday.

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  2. Can’t beat Fred and Ginger Jim.
    Here’s my effort, a reblog from my early blogging days.
    Hope you stick with it. I agree with Sadje, April is busy for daily prompts so I;m sure things will pick up.

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