Carolina in the Morning


page originally published on 23 May 2010; latest edit, 4 November 2020

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Carolina in the Morning (m.Walter Donaldson, w. Gus Kahn)

Adapted from the Wikipedia page on the song:

1922_carolina-in-the-morning-donaldson_aileen-stanley_1_f44The song had its debut in the Broadway musical revue The Passing Show of 1922 at the Winter Garden Theater, which opened on 20 September 1922, and closed after 85 performances on 2 December 1922. Vaudeville performers incorporated the song into their acts and helped popularize it. Notable recordings when the song was new were made by such artists as Marion Harris, and Van and Schenck.*

Other artists to have later successes with the song included Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Jimmy Durante, Dinah Shore, Judy Garland, and Danny Kaye. During 1957, Bill Haley & His Comets recorded a rock and roll version. It was also covered by Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore on The Dick Van Dyke Show.


1st verse:
Wishing is good time wasted
Still it’s a habit they say
Wishing for sweets I’ve tasted
That’s all I do all day
Maybe there’s nothing in wishing
But speaking of wishing I’ll say:

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning
No one could be sweeter than my sweetie when I meet her in the morning
Where the morning glories
Twine around the door
Whispering pretty stories
I long to hear once more

Strolling with my girlie where the dew is pearly early in the morning
Butterflies all flutter up and kiss each little buttercup at dawning,
If I had Aladdin’s lamp for only a day
I’d make a wish and here’s what I’d say:
Nothing could be finer than to be with Carolina in the morning.

2nd verse:
Dreaming was meant for nighttime
I live in dreams all the day
I know it’s not the right time
But still I dream away
What could be sweeter than dreaming
Just dreaming and drifting away


1922 Carolina in the Morning--Van and Schenck, Columbia A-3712, recorded on 18 September 1922-d40-g151922 Carolina In the Morning, Van and Shenck, Columbia A 3712

Van and Schenk — recorded on 18 September 1922; issued on Columbia A 3712, c/w “I’m Gonna Plant Myself In My Old Plantation Home”; the recording date is two days prior to the Broadway premiere of The Passing Show of 1922


Paul Whiteman Orch. c.1922_1

1922 Carolina in the Morning (Donaldson), Paul Whiteman, Victor 18962-A (1)-f8-hx371922 Cow Bells (Al Piantadosi), Zez Confrey, Victor 18962-B-f8-hx50

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra — recorded on 21 September 1922; issued on Victor 18962, b/w “Cow Bells,” recorded by Zez Confrey and his Orchestra



Marion Harris — recorded in September 1922; issued as the B-side of the Brunswick label single “Homesick” (Irving Berlin) (2329)


Hollywood Dance Orchestra — recorded in September 1922, according to the video provider


The American Quartet (WARNING: includes Billy Murray) — recorded on 4 January 1923; issued on Victor 19006, c/w “Toot, Toot, Tootsie Goo’bye,” recorded by Billy Murray and Ed Smalle


Piano Roll  — date unknown — QRS Roll #Q-113, played by Max Kortlander

Kortlander, whom I had never heard of before, is apparently something of a legend in the field of player piano rolls. See Max Kortlander: King of the Player Piano, a 2001 biography by Lee Barnett, at


Woody Herman and his Orchestra – The first song in the 1938 short film Woody Herman & his Orchestra. The title is a link to my feature page, which includes the complete film.


Al Jolson – 1947


Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli-hug-1952 (1)Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli, hug-1952 (2)

Judy Garland

live at Long Beach, California, 1955 (audio only)


JG with orchestra conducted by Jack Cathcart — recorded on 29 August 1955 for Capitol Records; released on the album Miss Show Business, 26 September 1955


Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore — from The Dick Van Dyke Show, Season 2, Episode 24 (#54 overall), The Sam Pomerantz Scandals, directed by Claudio Guzman, filmed on 5 February 1963 — originally aired on 6 March 1963

episode links:



* Wikipedia also includes Al Jolson among artists who made notable recordings “when the song was new,” and claims, “Al Jolson’s 1947 re-recording of the song outsold the original.” I’ve yet to detect the breath of a whisper of a hint elsewhere regarding the existence of an early Al Jolson recording, let alone get a whiff of the genuine article. The 1947 recording is the only one I’m aware of.

Second Hand Songs rejects the claim, made by Wikipedia for example, that William Frawley introduced the song in The Passing Show of 1922, a musical revue which opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on 9/20/1922 and closed on 12/02/1922, crediting instead Willie & Eugene Howard for introducing the song in the show. Second Hand Songs indicates, however, that Frawley “popularized the song in vaudeville after the show closed.”

Lending support to the Second Hand Songs correction regarding Frawley’s part in the song’s history are the following facts:

  • 1922 Carolina in the Morning-feat. Frawley & Louise-1While “Carolina (in the Morning)” does appear among the opening night numbers at the Internet Broadway Database page on the show, Frawley is not among the listed cast members while brothers Willie and Eugene Howard are.
  • The first Broadway credit for William Frawley recorded by IBDb is for the show Merry, Merry, which opened in 1925.
  • The “Carolina in the Morning” sheetmusic cover (right), with the handwritten date 1922 appearing twice, features an inset photograph of Frawley & Louise, a vaudeville act composed of William Frawley and his then-wife Louise Broedt.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anonna
    Feb 06, 2011 @ 10:25:54

    What a treasure this site is! Thank goodness, I found you, and thank you for all your hard work!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Matt
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 14:16:36

    I’ve heard a version of this song by Louis Armstrong, however I can’t seem to find it anywhere! Can anyone point me in a direction? thanks



    • doc
      Sep 02, 2011 @ 19:05:05

      Hi Matt,

      I’m not aware of a recording of the song by Armstrong. Checked several of my usual recording information resources:,, Second Hand Songs, and found not a trace. A search of Michael Minn’s Armstrong discography also turned up nothing. It’s not included in the master song list, which is in alphabetical order. I detected no mention of the title, and no recordings or live performances of “Carolina in the Morning” in Minn’s Armstrong discography. But I’ll let you know if I come up with something.




    • musicdoc1
      Jun 10, 2020 @ 04:54:28


      It occurred to me today that you may have been thinking of the song “Dinah,” which includes the following lyrics:

      Is there anyone finer
      In the state of Carolina?



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