If melodies and poems have hearts, then it was love at first sight when Jimmy McHugh's tunes met Dorothy Fields' lyrics.
So congenial are their words and music that a love song from this fascinating team always means a welcome addition to the language of lovers.
When they wrote I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby these songsters started a million young couples marching blithely to the altar.
Whether her beau sang the light-hearted "proposal" with a daring twinkle in his eye, or awkwardly hummed its inviting strains into the mazes of her curls, the palpitating girl-friend told herself desperately, I Must Have That Man.
Essentially, we are a romantic people but sometimes it is difficult for us to gracefully express our amorous sentiments. Then along come Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh and say-it-with-a-song for us.
Neatly, not too sentimentally, we find ourselves singing, You're Lovely to Look At, delightful to know and heaven to kiss.
We caught Jimmy at his Broadway office. Tall, tanned, and grey-eyed with a very pleasant manner, he is charming to meet.
He was born in Boston, where he attended the Holy Cross School. While his brothers, both of whom are now lawyers, were winning championships as best. bugler and best drummer in the band, Jimmy was craving fame as a member of the school's track team.
His mother enjoyed playing the piano, and both of his sisters were musical. McHugh,
Sr., was a plumbing contractor.
"My father wanted me to be a plumber's helper and follow in his footsteps," said the
composer of Hey! Young Fella.
'When I was eighteen I put the tools on my shoulder and went to it. On a job where
I carried four-inch pipes from one part of a house to another, one of the pipes fell bang on my feet. I said, 'That's the end of plumbing!
'In Squatum, Massachusetts, the Wright Brothers and other noted aviators were having a big meeting. I went there. About that time, an important aviator was killed. Then, I said: 'No aviation for mine.'
"Returning home. I applied for the position of office boy at the Boston Opera House. For three years, that was my place.
"Next, I worked for the Irving Berlin Company, in Boston. I plugged songs and rehearsed acts for $8 a week. There were no regular hours. However, while at Berlin's I received 17 raises in salary."
Finally, Jimmy became professional manager for Jack Mills and later on, a partner in the firm. It was he who employed Al Dubin. Together, they wrote My Dream Of The Big Parade, My Kid, You're The Lonesomest Girl In Town and Hinky-Dinky Parlez-vous.
One day along came the beauteous Dorothy Fields, with her smouldering, dark eyes, lovely teeth, freckles and slick poems.
That changed everything, it started the say-it-with-a-song vogue for. timid lovers, also, for those not so timid. It put a punch into romance. I'm Full of the Devil, sings he.
Learning A Lot From You, she warbles.
Dinner At Eight. My Dancing Lady.
I'm Doing That Thing, she trills ecstatically.
Jimmy told us how he had immediately sensed the tremendous possibilities in Dorothy's lyrics. He had then and there decided that he would quit the pblishing business, and go into song-writing as his profession.
Lew Leslie liked their songs. He engaged them to write his Blackbirds of 1928. In this show were such unsettling numbers as Doin' the New Low-Down, Here Comes My Blackbird, Bandanna Babies, Digga Digga Doo, Magnolia's Wedding Day and I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby.
Dorothy has a slim, dark, athletic type of beauty. Her only facial make-up is lip-rouge, and she uses a colorless nail polish.
"I hope you don't mind the phones - trunks all over, 'n' everything," she smiled. 'You see I only returned yesterday from Hollywood by plane.
"But to go back to songs; after "Blackbirds," we wrote, I'm Looking For Love and other numbers for Florenz Ziegfeld's last Midnight Roof show. Then we did a leg show for my daddy, Hello Daddy."
All of you will remember that beguiling number, Let's Sit And Talk About You.
In the same production were also, Your Disposition is Mine, As Long As We're
In Love and In A Great Big Way.
"For the fourth 'International Revue' we wrote. A Gypsy in Love, That's What We're Dancing, I'm Feeling Blue, Exactly Like You and Keys to Your Heart' Dorothy continued.
"For five years, we've gone to the coast and written a picture, But this trip, we did five musical shows in five months! "There were the new songs for "Roberta," for the Wheeler-Woolsey picture, "NitWits,' and for "Every Night At Eight" with George Raft and Frances Langford.
"Then there was, 'Hooray For Love."
"That ought to be your theme song."
"Oh !" Dorothy laughed.
Dorothy Fields is twenty-eight years old. She has been married for ten years to Dr. J. J. Wiener of New York.
"I like to write early in the morning," she said, "Guess I'll always be kinda Lost
In A Fog Without You, and I Feel A Song Coming On are my favorites."
Now, let us cut back to Jimmy's office.
"I use both the inspirational and manufactural methods. I start off with either one and the other just naturally develops itself," said Jimmy.
Jimmy himself, now worships, of all things, grand opera! His earnest desire is to write an operetta.