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The Ballad of John LatoucheAn American Lyricist's Life and Work$
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Howard Pollack

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190458294

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190458294.001.0001

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Banjo Eyes

Banjo Eyes

(p.137) 9 Banjo Eyes
The Ballad of John Latouche

Howard Pollack

Oxford University Press

During the period 1940–41, Latouche became involved with the Kurt Kasznar revue Crazy with the Heat, the Ice-Capades of 1941, and other lesser efforts. However, his largest achievement immediately following Cabin in the Sky was Banjo Eyes, a show written for Eddie Cantor’s triumphant return to the Broadway stage, with music by Vernon Duke. The musical was an adaptation of John Cecil Holm and George Abbott’s popular 1935 farce Three Men on a Horse. After mixed reviews on the road in New Haven and Boston, management fired Latouche—or he quit, depending on the source—for not writing in a more accessible vein. The producers subsequently hired Harold Adamson to work with Duke as the show moved to Philadelphia and New York. The musical enjoyed a fair success on Broadway, but closed prematurely when Cantor decided to leave it on account of an undisclosed malady. Although the show has long been forgotten, some of the songs remain in the repertory.

Keywords:   Kurt Kasznar, Ice-Capades, Vernon Duke, Banjo Eyes, Eddie Cantor, Harold Adamson, Three Men on a Horse

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