THIS MONTH’S PARODY (Aug 14) Puttin’ on the Ritz

Puttin’ On The Ritz

Irving Berlin

Berlin wrote these ingeniously syncopated lyrics as a stand-alone song in 1927 (published 1929). It was recorded, most famously, by Fred Astaire (see the parody, below, in which he is mentioned) in 1930. When the song was used in the 1946 film ‘Blue Skies’, Berlin rewrote the lyrics changing the location from Lennox Avenue, where flashily-dressed but poor Harlem inhabitants lived, to the white middle class Park Avenue. Black or white, the song is about those folks who like to dress up and strut their stuff for effect, inspired by the opulent Ritz Hotel founded by the Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz.


Irving Berlin

 

[Original 1928 lyrics]:

Have you seen the well-to-do up on Lenox Avenue

On that famous thoroughfare with their noses in the air

High hats and colored collars, white spats and fifteen dollars

Spending every dime for a wonderful time

 

If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to

Why don’t you go where Harlem sits

Puttin’ on the ritz

 

Spangled gowns upon a bevy of high browns

From down the levee, all misfits

Puttin’ on the ritz

 

That’s where each and every lulubelle goes

Ev’ry Thursday evening with her swell beaus

Rubbing elbows

 

Come with me and we’ll attend their jubilee

And see them spend their last two bits

Puttin’ on the ritz

 

[Berlin’s revised 1946 version]:

Have you seen the well-to-do up and down Park Avenue

On that famous thoroughfare with their noses in the air

High hats and Arrow collars, white spats and lots of dollars

Spending every dime for a wonderful time

 

If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to

Why don’t you go where fashion sits

Puttin’ on the ritz

 

Diff’rent types who wear a day coat, pants with stripes

And cutaway coat, perfect fits

Puttin’ on the ritz

 

Dressed up like a million dollar trouper

Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper

Super duper

 

Come let’s mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks

Or “um-ber-ellas” in their mitts

Puttin’ on the ritz

 

 

PARODY BY ANON.

 

Have you seen the well-to-do having sex like me and you?

They’re afraid of STDs and unwanted pregnancies

The AIDS scare’s reached it’s apex

But who cares?  I want my safe sex

You feel that way too?  Then the Ritz is the rubber for you.

 

If you screw and you don’t know who you do screw

Why don’t you use the brand that fits

Puttin’ on the Ritz.

 

Girls, you’ll see, will be receptive

They don’t want the contraceptive pills and kits

If you’re puttin’ on the Ritz.

 

Other brands?  Well, friends, you can’t compare theirs

When you can wear the brand that Fred Astaire wears

And the Care Bears.

 

It’s a glitzy, ritzy condom

Worn by even Stephen Sondh’m who admits

To puttin’ on the Ritz.

 

You won’t need no diaphragm to trap her

Just slap your Mister Happy in that wrapper

And you’ll look dapper

 

With your playmate you will get much more play

She’ll help to put it on you during foreplay

At work or play.

 

Keep a few right in your wallet

If you do then I can call it quits,

Puttin’ on the Ritz.

 

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