“Ain’t We Got Fun” is a roaring twenties era song, but in this case I am applying it to Thanksgiving, as a reminder of how much fun Thanksgiving can be…even in the preparations (I find singing while mashing potatoes helps enormously).
The song was originally written in 1921 by composer Richard A. Whiting (“Hooray for Hollywood”) and lyricist Raymond B. Egan and Gus Kahn (Doris Day later played the wife of Gus Kahn in the film I’ll See You in My Dreams). The song is a foxtrot and is associated with the roaring twenties and the nonstop, breathless good times of the era, but the song was written during a depression (there was a depression during 1920-1921) and if you listen to the original lyrics you can tell (if you can stand the singing – the recording is from 1921 and grates on the ear rather quickly, but it does write all the lyrics out). There are lines about how “the rich get rich and the poor get poorer,” “times are bum and getting bummer,” and ” the rent’s unpaid, dear – we haven’t a bus – but smiles were made, dear – for people like us.” It’s sometimes hard to tell if the song is supposed to be tremendously ironic regarding the prospects of a newly married couple (“twins and cares, dear – come in pairs, dear”) or if it is meant to be unrelentingly upbeat in spite of it all, as if they are all the happier for having nothing.
But when Doris Day and Gordon MacRae sing it (with revised lyrics) in the 1953 film By The Light of the Silvery Moon it is more about approaching work with happy anticipation and carefree abandon. Along for the song is Rosemary DeCamp and the always delightful Mary Wickes.
I’m afraid when I’m cooking and cleaning, I don’t quite look like Doris Day, but at least I can strive for some of the spirit. Happy Thanksgiving preparations to all!