Five For Friday: Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby

I wrote about the songwriting team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby back in 2015, when I said

Bert Kalmar had been a vaudeville performer whose career as a dancer was cut short by a knee injury, after which he turned to writing songs full-time. Harry Ruby, who had worked for Kalmar as a song plugger, got Kalmar a songwriting job at the Tin Pan Alley firm of Waterson, Berlin, and Snyder. After working with several partners, Ruby felt a compatibility with Kalmar, and by 1920 they were writing songs and comedy scripts for Broadway and Hollywood, a partnership that lasted until Kalmar’s death in 1947. The 1950 movie Three Little Words, starring Fred Astaire as Kalmar and Red Skelton as Ruby, is based on their lives and careers.

A lot of their songs were written for Marx Brothers movies, and they contributed some writing to them as well.

Groucho Marx and Cast, “Hello, I Must Be Going”/”Hooray For Captain Spaulding” (Animal Crackers, 1930)

The Marx Brothers (Zeppo, Harpo, Chico, Groucho), “Everyone Says I Love You” (Horse Feathers, 1932)

Cast, “When The Clock On The Wall Strike s Ten” (Duck Soup, 1933)

Bert Wheeler and Dorothy Lee, Robert Woolsey and Ruth Etting, “Just Keep On Doin’ What You’re Doin'” (Hips Hips Hooray, 1934)

Duke Ellington & His Orhestra with The Rhythm Boys, “Three Little Words” (Check And Double Check, 1930)

Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, your Five for Friday, March 17, 2023.

13 thoughts on “Five For Friday: Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby

  1. I enjoyed this 5 as it showcases the Marx Bros films especially Duck Soup a great film. This shows the comical side of these 2 musicians. I like that movie “3 Little Words” with the unique combo of Astaire and Skelton.


        1. Groucho talked about doing the movies on his “An Evening With Groucho” album. Apparently, Margaret Dumont was utterly clueless about some of his lines, like the one where they were getting on a ship. She turns to him and asks “Have you got everything?” and he replies “I haven’t had any complaints.” Somehow, she knew it was funny, but didn’t know why…

          Liked by 1 person

    1. They had such a short career together, because Kalmar died in 1947, but they made the most of it. Have you seen the movie “Three Little Words,” with Fred Astaire and Red Skelton? Fred plays Kalmar and Red plays Ruby…

      Liked by 1 person

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