Guys and Dolls : Changed Lyrics

Changed Lyrics

In the song "I'll Know," the original Broadway version has Sky Masterson singing to Sarah Brown: "You've wished yourself a Scarsdale Galahad/The breakfast-eating, Brooks Brothers type." In the movie it was changed to: "You've wished yourself a small-town Galahad/The breakfast-eating, four-button type." Now, I can understand deleting the reference to Scarsdale -- residents of that town might take offense at being stereotyped as "squares." But you'd think Brooks Brothers wouldn't have objected. After all, they're known for conservative, traditional men's clothing. Perhaps there was some legal hangup about using the name.

Incidentally, the song "Guys and Dolls" mentions two men's grooming products by name -- Vitalis hair tonic and Barbasol shaving cream. Those references were left in.

All the universe . . . or nothingness. Which shall it be, Passworthy? Which shall it be?

Re: Changed Lyrics

It has nothing to do with offence. It is because the movie was for international release and it was felt that people outside the US (at that time) would not know where Scarsdale was, or who the Brooks Brothers were. The same is true of Adelades Lament where Saratoga, is changed to Yonkers Racetrack. Also in Kiss Me Kate, a line in the song Too Darn Hot is changed from 'Acording to the Kinsey report', to 'Acording to the latest reports' for the same reason.

Re: Changed Lyrics

Yes, the musical started in 1950 and the movie was in 1955, so some references already seemed passe or maybe too much of a local reference. Even in "Take Back Your Mink" the original lyrics were "the necklace, the hat, the bag, and and shoes - that was late '48, I recall" was changed to "what wonderful gifts I recall," (or something to that effect) which I think wasn't necessary since the musical is obviously dated and meant to be. But often these changes are changed back and now if you see a production on stage the original lyrics may be put back in.

Lyrics are changed all the time, but as long as they have permission, it's cool. Sometimes songs or dialogue are changed for foreign releases because they might be deemed offensive to the foreign country - a line derogatory to Germany might be funny to a British audience but not so funny to a German one.

Re: Changed Lyrics

Along those same lines, "PS" is lengthened to "Public School" in "Oldest Established" ... Similarly, in "South Pacific" the movie, a reference to "DiMaggio's glove" is altered to "baseball glove", though it is hard to imagine anyone in the late 50's unaware of who he was, especially after he was married to Marilyn Monroe.

Re: Changed Lyrics

Additionally, the dialogue is changed slightly in spots, including changing Buick to station wagon, and majordomo to deputy.

And why was it necessary to change Arvide from being Sarah's grandfather to her uncle?

Re: Changed Lyrics

Keep in mind that many, if not most, of the Broadway musicals/plays of the era are New York City cast and derived, as that is the base from which the bulk of their early live audience derives. Lyricists would take advantage of that by utilizing terms and places known to local citizens. Scarsdale was and is a wealthy "bedroom community" suburb north of NYC in Westchester County. Brooks Brothers a well known men's store of the time. Damon Runyon made use of terms such as these and the many dialects he was familiar with in NYC.

Of course, when many of these musicals were made into film, local terms such as the above were altered so as to provide a better understanding for a national audience or to censor the language somewhat for a more sensitive audience, e.g. original "West Side Story" had its language modified for film in several aspects, the one I always remembered was changing the lyrics "sperm to worm" to "Womb to tomb."

Re: Changed Lyrics

additionally, they changed the lyrics at the end from "hollanderize it" to something ridiculous (take back your mink, those old worn out pelts, and go shorten the sleeves for somebody else.)

Re: Changed Lyrics

No, leader-7 I'm afraid you're mistaken. Those are the original lyrics, ridiculous though they may seem to you.

4th paragraph:

So take back your mink
To from whence it came
And tell them to Hollanderize it
For some other dame

7th (last) paragraph:

Take back your mink
Those old worn out pelts
And go shorten the sleeves
For somebody else