When the Folks High-Up Do That Mean Low-Down (1930)


When the Folks High-Up Do That Mean Low-Down (Irving Berlin) – sung by Bing Crosby, Bebe Daniels, and June MacCloy (manly voice) in the movie Reaching For the Moon, released in 1930. It was one of the earliest film appearances by Crosby. He performed several songs in King of Jazz with the Rhythm Boys that year as well.


From the article “Irving Berlin on Film,” by Alan Vanneman for Bright Lights Film Journal:

Reaching for the Moon (1930) starred none other than Mr. Hollywood, Douglas Fairbanks, in his second talking picture, and co-starred Bebe Daniels, with Bing Crosby along to do the singing. Berlin’s story* was typical twenties fluff about a dashing Wall Street financier and a madcap aviatrix aboard a luxury liner, made topical by a plot twist involving the 1929 crash. But by the time the picture was finished, in late 1930, studio geniuses decided that “musicals were dead” and cut four of the five songs. The only one to survive was “When the Folks High-Up Do the Mean Low-Down.”


Lenox Avenue is known
For doing the low-down
But you’ll find they’re not alone
In doing the low-down
Fifth Avenue’s learning how
They had to fall
Fifth Avenue does it now
But that’s not all

Whenever the folks high-up do that mean low-down
There is no low-down lower than that

Whenever the swells slow down and become low-down
There is no low-down lower than that

You may believe it or not
When they start getting hot
There is no Hottentot
That’s hotter than that

So you can lay your dough down
When they go low-down
There is no low-down lower than that

*According to IMDb, Berlin shared writing credits. The story was his, but the screenplay was written by the director Edmund Goulding.

Bebe Daniels photo gallery

Homage to Bebe Daniels from the site cinememorials.com


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 17:08:06

    I have a unsigned painting allegedly of Bebe Daniels – she has the look of a
    gypsy holding a basket. Any help in confirming the painting as a portrait of Ms. Daniels would be greatly appreciated.
    Sept. 10, 2011
    Larry Gunett@comcast.com

    Liked by 1 person


  2. doc
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 23:49:44

    I’m not an expert in the field of vintage photographs of film stars, but I’ll have a look.



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