The Gold Diggers’ Song (We’re in the Money) and Shadow Waltz


The Gold Diggers’ Song (We’re in the Money)music: Harry Warren, words: Al Dubin

From Wikipedia:

“The Gold Diggers’ Song” (aka “We’re in the Money”) was introduced to film audiences as a big production number in Gold Diggers of 1933, a pre-code Warner Bros. musical film directed by Mervyn LeRoy with songs by Harry Warren (music) and Al Dubin (lyrics), staged and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. It stars Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, Joan Blondell and Ginger Rogers and features Warren William, Guy Kibbee, Ned Sparks and Aline MacMahon.

The story is based on the play The Gold Diggers by Avery Hopwood, which ran for 282 performances on Broadway in 1919 and 1920.[1] The play was made into a silent film in 1923 by David Belasco, the producer of the Broadway play, as The Gold Diggers, starring Hope Hampton and Wyndham Standing, and again as a talkie in 1929, directed by Roy Del Ruth. That film, Gold Diggers of Broadway, which starred Nancy Welford and Conway Tearle, was the biggest box office hit of that year, and Gold Diggers of 1933 was one of the top grossing films of 1933.[2] This version of Hopwood’s play was written by James Seymour and Erwin S. Gelsey, with additional dialogue by David Boehm and Ben Markson.


Gold Diggers of 1933-Ginger Rogers, spotlights-1a

Ginger Rogers and a chorus of girls dressed in scanty outfits sequined with coins perform the number at the very beginning of the Gold Diggers of 1933. Rogers sings most of the third chorus, a repetition of the first (with slight modifications in translation) in Pig-Latin.


Jack Hylton and his Orchestra – 1933


In 1935, The GoldDiggers’ Song was used in a short film called Pirate Party on Catalina Isle, filmed in Technicolor. The dancers are a group named The Fanchonettes. Stars and future stars who appeared in the short, though apparently not in this number, include Errol Flynn, Marion Davies, Cary Grant, and Mickey Rooney.


Ginger Rogers-Gold Diggers of 1933 (1a)-40p

The last several photos in the above gallery are from the Busby Berkeley’s elaborate production number for Shadow Waltz.

Shadow Waltz (m. Harry Warren, w. Al Dubin)

From the Musical Numbers section of the Wikipedia page on Gold Diggers of 1933:

“The Shadow Waltz” is sung by Powell and Keeler. It features a dance by Keeler, Rogers, and many female violinists with neon-tubed violins that glow in the dark. Berkeley got the idea for this number from a vaudeville act he once saw – the neon on the violins was an afterthought. On March 10, the Long Beach earthquake hit while this number was being filmed:

[it] caused a blackout and short-circuited some of the dancing violins. Berkeley was almost thrown from the camera boom, dangling by one hand until he could pull himself back up. He yelled for the girls, many of whom were on a 30-foot (9.1 m)-high platform, to sit down until technicians could get the soundstage doors open and let in some light.[3]*


Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler and chorus in Gold Diggers of 1933 — The number features a Busby Berkeley-choreographed dance sequence by a large group of violin-playing chorus girls. The fake violin props and the bows were trimmed with neon. Though the violin “players” are usually partially visible in segments where the lighting is cut, the neon allowed Berkeley to briefly create the illusion, using distant overhead shots, that the violins are playing and dancing by themselves.

incomplete Berkeley production number


(below) end portion of the number


Dick Powell sings to Ruby Keeler, accompanying himself on the piano — from Gold Diggers of 1933


Original Jazz — recorded in December 1933 — The video artist combines a 1933 instrumental recording by a group called “Original Jazz” with footage of the Berkeley choreographed dance number in the film.


From the 1933 Vitaphone short Harry Warren: America’s Foremost Composer

  • Harry Warren — piano
  • Gladys Brittain and The Leaders — vocals
  • unidentified (and unseen) orchestra


Rudy Vallée and his Orchestra — recorded on 17 April 1933, and issued on Columbia 2773D, c/w “I’ve Got to Sing a Torch Song”


Dick Powell — recorded on 25 May 1933 (matrix # 13338) — The recording was issued on a number of ARC dime-store labels, with catalog numbers including the following: Banner 3287, Conqueror 8183, Oriole 2712, Perfect 12920, and Romeo 2085.

Conqueror 8183


Bing Crosby — recorded on 13 June 1933; issued on Brunswick 6599, c/w “I’ve Got to Sing a Torch Song”


* The silent short film below features footage of some of the damage caused by the Long Beach earthquake of 1933. The provider attaches the following information (from Wikipedia):

The Long Beach earthquake of 1933 took place on March 10, 1933 at 17:55 PST (March 11, 01:55 UTC), with a magnitude of 6.4, causing widespread damage to buildings throughout Southern California. The epicenter was offshore, southeast of Long Beach on the Newport-Inglewood Fault. Forty million dollars property damage resulted, and 115 lives were lost. Many of these fatalities occurred as people ran out of buildings and were hit by falling debris.

The major damage occurred in the thickly settled district from Long Beach to the industrial section south of Los Angeles, where unfavorable geological conditions (made land, water-soaked alluvium) combined with poor structural work to increase the damage. At Long Beach, buildings collapsed, tanks fell through roofs, and houses displaced on foundations. School buildings were among those structures most generally and severely damaged.

The earthquake eliminated all doubts regarding the need for earthquake resistant design for structures in California. So many school buildings were damaged that the Field Act was passed by the California State Legislature on April 10, 1933. The Field Act mandated that school buildings must be earthquake-resistant. If the earthquake had occurred during school hours, the death toll would have been much higher.

The earthquake struck during the filming of the comedy International House (1933), and film exists of the quake striking the soundstage during shooting. (However, the director of the film, A. Edward Sutherland, later claimed that the footage was a hoax, concocted by himself and W.C. Fields, the star of the film.)

The earthquake also interrupted filming of “Shadow Waltz,” a musical scene in Gold Diggers of 1933, nearly throwing choreographer Busby Berkeley from a camera boom, and rattling dancers on a 30-foot (9.1 m)-high platform.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. doc
    Dec 28, 2018 @ 19:34:23



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