Hooray For Hollywood

Bryan RipperBlog

The classic Disney attraction, known as The Great Movie Ride, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been in the park since the park’s opening in 1989. There are many things that make this attraction a “must-do” (as referenced in Episode 202 of the All About the Mouse Disney Podcast titled, “The Must-Do’s of Disney’s Hollywood Studios), but one thing that makes this attraction special is the music. Yes, you heard me right. The music is a key attribute of this attraction, much like many other classic Disney attractions, and one piece of music that has become, in a way, this attraction’s theme song is “Hooray for Hollywood”, the song from the 1937 classic motion picture “Hollywood Hotel”. Anyone under the age of 60, who isn’t necessarily a fan of the classic silver screen, (myself included) might think this song was written just for the attraction. After all, how else did Donald Duck make it into the lyrics of the song? However, much like the ride and the films featured in the attraction, this song has a history and some interesting facts.

The music was composed in 1937 for the Warner Brothers movie “Hollywood Hotel” by Richard A. Whiting, who had done many film scores before including, “Monkey Business”, “Bright Eyes”, and “Sing, Baby Sing”. He would go on to do only one more film score after “Hollywood Hotel”, which was “Cowboy from Brooklyn”, because he would pass away the very next year at the height of his career in 1938. He was just 46 years old.

The lyrics were penned by legendary and famed songwriter Johnny Mercer. For those of you unfamiliar with the songwriter from Savannah, GA, Johnny has written such classic songs as “Jeepers Creepers”, “Come Rain or Come Shine”, “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive”, and “Moon River”, which won an Academy Award for the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

“Hooray for Hollywood”
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer

Hooray for Hollywood
That screwy, ballyhooey Hollywood
Where any office boy or young mechanic
Can be a panic, with just a goodlooking pan
Where any shopgirl can be a top girl,
If she pleases the tired businessman

Hooray for Hollywood
Where you’re terrific, if you’re even good
Where anyone at all from TV’s Lassie
To Monroe’s chassis is equally understood
Go out and try your luck, you might be Donald Duck
Hooray for Hollywood

Hooray for Hollywood
That phoney, super-Coney Hollywood
They come from Chillicothes and Paducahs
With their bazookas to get their names up in lights
All armed with photos from local rotos
With their hair in ribbons and legs in tights
Hooray for Hollywood

You may be homely in your neighborhood
But if you think that you can an actor
See Mr. Factor, he’d make a monkey look good
With a half an hour, you’ll look like Tyrone Power
Hooray for Hollywood

In the movie, the song was performed by Bennie Goodman and his orchestra and was sung by Johnnie Davis and Francis Langford.

Despite the bitter stinging tongue in cheek lyrics about Hollywood, the song has become a staple and anthem for the Academy Awards. In fact, it wasn’t really until the Oscars started using the song in the 1950’s that it really took off, because neither the film “Hollywood Hotel” nor the song was originally much of a smash hit. However, the song quickly took off once it became the anthem for the Hollywood actors and elites. Such notable performances of the song have been done by Doris Day and have been included in a wide array of television and film from the Robert Altman film “The Long Goodbye” to episodes of “The Brady Bunch Variety Hour”, “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, and even “The Simpsons”.

So, next time you’re taking a tour on The Great Movie Ride in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, listen a little closer to the song that’s playing as you’re loading and unloading the ride. It’s more than just a catchy melody with some throw-away lines. There’s rich history in that song that goes all the way directly back to the golden age of Hollywood, and it’s just waiting to be explored.