Staff from the Performing Arts Reading Room frequently wave to their neighbors across the partition in the Recorded Sound Reference Center. In the Muse is now happy to welcome their neighbors in Washington and at the National Audio Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia to the blogosphere as they launch Now See Hear! We plan to collaborate on more blog posts in the near future. I spent my first decade at the Library of Congress in the Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, and look forward to the dulcet sounds, vivid imagery and peerless expertise that will soon waft up from their distant quarters.
Now See Hear! launched yesterday with, among other treasures, tenor Billy Murray’s 1907 recording of “In Washington,” as featured in the National Jukebox. Gertrude Hoffman composed the song, with lyrics by Vincent Bryan, for the 1907 Broadway musical A Parisian Model, produced by the legendary Florenz Ziegfeld and starring French actress Anna Held. The number was conceived as a vehicle for Held, whose big hit from the show, her “sensational eye song,” was “I can’t make my eyes behave.” Held’s signature gesture was a rolling of the eyes. When asked how a Parisian woman flirts, she gleefully replied, “I think the eyes flirt most, don’t you?” Followed by what I am certain was an unrecorded but expert batting of the eyes at the inquisitive reporter.