‘LEARN TO CROON’–ALFALFA VS. THE COMPOSER

‘Learn To Croon’ is a song written by Sam Coslow and Arthur Johnston for the movie ‘College Humor’ (1934) and was introduced by Bing Crosby. If anyone remembers the song today though, it’s because of the excruciating rendition given by Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer in ‘Our Gang Follies of 1938’. If you missed yesterday’s post you might want to give it a cursory glance to see my theory of how these hilarious performances of Switzer’s may well have lead to his tragic fate twenty years hence. Or you may just want to enjoy his hilarious performance of ‘Learn To Croon’. I posited yesterday that, in addition to intentionally placing the song in a key too high for him to sing comfortably in, they seemed to force him to read the lyrics off of a cue card thus further unsettling him. But that’s not the case here–Alfalfa mugs exuberantly throughout the song at the bevy of girls that surround him, drawing the disgust and ire of Spanky and the other boys who clearly are astonished that his lousy singing is having such a positive effect on his audience.

Once you’re done with the above video check out the one below. It’s a lovely Decca recording of the song as sung by its composer Sam Coslow. There’s no information anywhere on what (if anything) Coslow thought of Alfalfa’s butchering of his charming little confection. If I were Coslow and were given the choice of being amused or pissed I’m quite certain I’d choose the latter.

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