Borrowed Tunes: Bali Ha’i edition, pt. 2
A while back I posted some observations on what my ears heard as the influence of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Bali Ha’i” (from South Pacific, the Broadway soundtrack of which came out in 1949) on pop songs like Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” After having watched a deleted scene from The Wizard of Oz (1942), though, I’m realizing that Rodgers and Hammerstein may have actually borrowed from Harold Arlen. The most expensive, elaborate deleted scene included an Arlen song (lyrics by E.Y. Harburg) called “The Jitterbug,” in which Dorothy and friends dance frenetically under the influence of the song title’s creatures (only the grainy version above, shot by Arlen himself, exists). Although “The Jitterbug” never made it to the final cut of the film, it did appear in a 1942 stage musical version, which is one way it might have seeped into Rodgers and Hammerstein’s consciousness.