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DO YOU REMEMBER THIS?

This day and age we're living in gives cause for apprehension, with speed and new invention and things like fourth dimension. Yet we get a trifle weary with Mr. Einstein's theory, so we must get down to earth at times, relax, relieve the tension.

Those wise words might well have been composed this year, but in fact they're the opening lines of a song that was little known when first recorded back in 1931, during the Great Depression, yet is now a classic.

The words and music were written by Broadway composer Herman Hupfield (1894-1951) for the musical revue Everybody's Welcome. Can you guess its title?

Hupfield, who also wrote When Yuba Plays the Rumba on the Tuba called it As Time Goes By. The song was pretty much forgotten until receiving worldwide acclaim when it was chosen for a Hollywood blockbuster 12 years later. It was, of course, Casablanca, the classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Before long, filmgoers were quoting the dialogue and singing the nostalgic song.

Ever since then, the song has been a hit, and the famous film has been constantly in the news. It was voted "the greatest love story," in a 2002 survey by the American Film Institute.

When a new 35mm print was launched in New York four months ago, members of the stars' families revealed that Bogart and Bergman had disliked the film, and probably each other too.

Bogart's widow, Lauren Bacall, their son, Stephen Bogart, and Bergman's daughters, Pia Lindstrom, Isabella Rossellini and Ingrid Rossellini, had agreed on that point when they appeared together for a 60th anniversary screening of the film.

The song received renewed popularity in Britain when  the BBC later made a delightful comedy with the same title, As Times Goes By. Starring Goffrey Palmer and Judy Dench, 65 episodes in nine series were produced between 1992 and 2002. Millions of viewers around the world enjoyed the series.

As Herman Hupfield wrote 73 years ago: This day and age we're living in gives cause for apprehension... we must get down to earth at times, relax, relieve the tension.

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Copyright 2004

Eric Shackle

Story first posted January 2004

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