Song lyrics to The Ugly Duckling, sung by Danny Kaye in Hans Christian Andersen (1952), music and lyrics by Frank Loesser
There once was an ugly duckling,
With feathers all stubby and brown,
And the other birds in so many words said,
Get out of town
Get out, get out, get out of town
And he went with a quack and a waddle and a quack
In a flurry of eiderdown. (more…)
Hans Christian Andersen (1952) starring Danny Kaye
Synopsis of Hans Christian Andersen
A fantasy fairy tale about the life of Hans Christian Andersen weaving some of his most famous tales into the story, starring Danny Kaye as the great storyteller. It includes some truly great musical moments, such as Inchworm, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, etc.
Review of Hans Christian Andersen starring Danny Kaye
I hadn’t seen Danny Kaye’s Hans Christian Andersen in many years. Not since my childhood, actually. There are certain movies that are magical when you’re a child, but don’t work as well when you re-watch them as an adult. Disney’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a good example. Thankfully, Hans Christian Andersen doesn’t fall into that category. I enjoyed it as much as an adult as I did as a child; perhaps more. (more…)
Review of The Court Jester (1955) starring Danny Kaye, Angela Lansbury, Glynis Johns, Basil Rathbone
I can safely say that The Court Jester with Danny Kaye is one of the funniest movies that I’ve ever seen. The film begins in medieval England with a band of outlaws led by the Black Fox, determined to put the rightful king of England on the throne. The king is only a baby, with the tell-tale birthmark, a purple pimpernel, on his royal bottom.
In charge of the infant is Hubert Hawkins, a carnival performer played wonderfully by Danny Kaye. He and Maid Jean (played by Glynnis Johns) must take the child to safety, hidden inside a secret compartment in a cart, as Danny Kaye pretends to be an old man, who has to ‘interpret’ for his ‘deaf granddaughter’ when interrogated by the king’s men – a very, very funny scene – ‘she stutters’.
They stay in a stable for shelter from a storm, and after revealing their true love for each other, and revealing the rebels’ plan needing to sneak into the castle for the audience’s sake, they are interrupted by another traveler seeking refuge from the storm – Giacomo (pronounced Jock-o-mo), king of jesters, and jester to the king!
A quick blow to the head later, Maid Jean reveals her plan to Danny Kaye. He must impersonate Giacomo, sneak into the castle, meet their “inside man” there. By whistling a certain tune, and open the hidden passage so that the Black Fox and his men can storm the castle. Frightened but willing, Hubert (Danny Kaye) impersonates Giacomo, and the next morning is off to the castle, while Maid Jean plans to take the infant to safety. (more…)
Song lyrics to The Pipes of Pan (1958) – lyrics by Johnny Mercer, music by Saul Chaplin, performed by Danny Kaye and chorus of schoolchildren in the movie Merry Andrew
No, no, no, no no!
I mean the astral alien,
The creature bacchanalian
No good Episcopalian
He was half a quadruped and half a man.
He was mischievous and naughty
And your troubles all began
When you first heard the Pipes of Pan! (more…)
Song lyrics to Everything is Tickety-boo by Johnny Mercer and Saul Chaplin, sung by Danny Kaye the movie Merry Andrew starring Danny Kaye
Everything is tickety-boo, tickety-boo, tickety-boo
Everything is tickety-boo on such a dreamy day-di-li-ootely
You could be a snickety-poo, snickety-poo, snickety-POO
With the sky so blickety-blue it causes one to say
Bless mankind, including my attackers,
I’m inclined the feeling is oh, so jolly well oh, it’s absolutely crackers! (more…)
Merry Andrew (1958), starring Danny Kaye
Merry Andrew is an old English term for a clown. In the movie Merry Andrew, Danny Kaye plays Andrew Larabee, a slightly stuffy professor, who has received permission for an archeological dig at a site in England. The land is owned by an old school friend of his, who is planning to build a dairy on the spot. However, the traveling Circus Gallini is planning on performing on the spot. This causes tension, as well as a small fight with the local police. Larabee’s arrival, with a slight bit of blackmail, postpones the building of the dairy for a week. Giving him time to dig for the artifact that he needs (in order to marry his fiancee). As well as for the circus to complete their engagement. Of course, there’s the slight problem of Danny Kaye’s character falling in love with Selena Gallini, the circus owner’s niece …
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) starring Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Boris Karloff
In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Danny Kayeis a natural to play the part of Walter Mitty, the henpecked man who takes refuge from his boring life by engaging in a series of fantasies – brave sea captain, fashion designer, surgeon, cowboy, etc. Of course, in order to make the movie fit the “romantic comedy” template, the Samuel Goldwyn Company took enormous liberties with the original short story by James Thurber – and changed the character of Walter Mitty from a middle-aged, henpecked husband to a young man who’s living with his overprotective mother, engaged to a young woman with an overbearing future mother-in-law and oppressed by his boss at work. However, I don’t think that anybody besides James Thurber minded. (more…)
Editorial review of The Five Pennies (1959) starring Danny Kaye, Barbara Bel Geddes, Louis Armstrong, courtesy of Amazon.com
Danny Kaye shows off his keen musical sense in the lead role of The Five Pennies, the life story of cornet master Red Nichols–or at least the Hollywood version of Nichols’ life. The movie gets off to a kicky start as Nichols joins a big-city band, meets his future wife (Barbara Bel Geddes), and sits in on a speakeasy session with Louis Armstrong. Armstrong’s in the movie a lot, and there are smaller roles for other musical names such as Bob Crosby and Ray Anthony. The tunes include a batch of standards but also new songs written by Sylvia Fine, Danny Kaye’s wife and the creator of his signature wordplay routines. (more…)
Biography of Danny Kaye (1913-1987), famous movie clown
Danny Kaye (born David Daniel Kaminsky; January 18, 1913 – March 3, 1987) was a celebrated American actor, singer, dancer, and comedian. His best-known performances featured physical comedy, idiosyncratic pantomimes, and rapid-fire nonsense songs.
Danny Kaye starred in 17 movies, notably The Kid from Brooklyn(1946), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947), The Inspector General (1949), Hans Christian Andersen (1952), and — perhaps his most accomplished performance — The Court Jester (1956). His films were extremely popular, especially his bravura performances of patter songs and children’s favorites such as The Inch Worm and The Ugly Duckling. He was the first ambassador-at-large of UNICEF and received the French Legion of Honor in 1986 for his many years of work with the organization.