Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Tale of a Monkey

Today's music video is "The Tale of a Monkey," featuring music by Leo Edwards and lyrics by Vincent Bryan. It was one of a series of "animal fable" songs performed by Cynthia Cynch, the Lady Lunatic.

When Aileen Crater joined the cast toward the end of the Broadway run, the show had a solid and talented Cynthia Cynch—and Crater soon became Mrs. Fred Stone, too.

Sheet Music cover for "The Tale of a Monkey" (1905).

When Julian Mitchell updated the show for its "Edition de Luxe," which premiered in spring 1904, he gave Cynthia a second number in the first act, "The Tale of a Cassowary." It was eventually replaced by "The Tale of a Monkey," which was not in the show very long. It in turn was replaced by "The Bullfrog and the Coon," which proved to be quite popular.

"The Tale of a Monkey" was probably written specifically for Aileen Crater. Vincent Bryan, the lyricist of the song, was a good friend of the Stone family.

"The Tale of a Monkey" might have been planned as a duet for Crater and Fred Stone. The chorus of the song states: "It was quite plain, he had no brain," which easily describes the Scarecrow; and Fred Stone had done a "monkey act" in his vaudeville days in which Stone played a monkey, but there is no evidence the song was ever performed with Stone's assistance.

Vincent Bryan wrote lyrics for many of the most enduring songs in The Wizard of Oz:
"Hurrah for Baffin's Bay"
"T'was Enough to Make a Perfect Lady Mad"
"Down on the Brandywine"
"Under a Panama"
"Sitting Bull"
"The Nightmare"
"Budweiser's a Friend of Mine"
"Pepita Maguire
If you would like a PDF of the sheet music for "The Tale of a Monkey" you may download the sheet music by clicking here.

Copyright © 2019 David Maxine. All rights reserved.

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