vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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Just a gigolo, everywhere he goes...

That's the great Louis Armstrong, recorded in Los Angeles in March 1931, doing "Just A Gigolo." The song actually dates back to Austria following World War I, the bittersweet story of a former soldier now reduced by poverty to performing as a hired dancer. It became popular throughout Europe, and a New York publisher bought the rights and hired Irving Caesar to write lyrics that would appeal to a U.S. audience. He did, and the song became popular on the American side of the Atlantic. Armstrong, whose charming, soulful vocals was making him a favorite with Tin Pan Alley, tried his hand at it and won acclaim for his version. (Marlene Dietrich, no doubt familiar with the song from its original 1920s incarnation, recorded it with David Bowie for the 1979 film "Just A Gigolo.")

A quarter-century after Armstrong's version, Louis Prima recorded a version of it as part of a medley with the standard "I Ain't Got Nobody." Prima, a New Orleans-based swing pioneer dating back to the 1930s (he composed "Sing, Sing, Sing"), was gaining renown for his Las Vegas shows and this became a substantial hit. In the mid-1980s, David Lee Roth recorded his own version of the medley and also enjoyed chart success.

Armstrong's recording was on the market in May 1931 when "Ladies Man," starring William Powell as a gigolo of sorts and co-starring Kay Francis and Carole Lombard, arrived in theaters. And a rare still from the film, one I've never seen before, has surfaced on eBay. Here's what it looks like after I worked on it and converted it to greyscale:

The photo was actually done in sepia, which makes it look like this:

It's considered in good condition despite a bit of discoloration.

Fans of Lombard and Powell might well be interested in this photo. As of this writing, no one has bid on it; bidding starts at $24.99, and closes just after 4:05 p.m. (Eastern) on Sunday. Should this strike your fancy, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/1931-Carole-Lombard-William-Powell-Ladies-Man-PHOTO-36n_W0QQitemZ200395948000QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item2ea8877fe0.

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