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Edward Heyman & Dana Suesse, also Gertrude Niesen, 1933

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Published on Jun 10, 2009

New York songwriters were utilized frequently by the studios, especially when the films were shot around New York (Paramount and Universal maintained important studios in Astoria, Long Island). Dana Suesse and lyricist Edward Heyman were scheduled to appear in a film short, produced as part of a series by director Fred Waller for Paramount Pictorial. At nine o'clock on the morning of February 9, Eddie and Dana arrived at the studio and began the tedious process of filmmaking. Make-up, hair, light, endless sound checks, rehearsal, Etc.
Dana reminisced 40 years later, "I wore glasses in those days. The makeup man put false eyelashes on me, this makeup, changed my whole face, and when he finally got through, I was walking down to the sound stage...in the morning. I didn't have my glasses on. I was walking down this long, long corridor all by myself. At the end of the corridor I see a figure coming. With my limited vision I guessed that the figure was female, because it had a skirt on. I kept walking and kept wondering, when is she going to move over? She's walking straight in my path, so what the hell is she doing? Does she want the whole corridor to herself? Then I banged right into a mirror at the end of the corridor."
Unaccustomed to publicly performing, Heyman (whose numerous lyrics included Body and Soul, Out of Nowhere and Through The Years) was directed to stand by the keyboard behind an enormous canister shaped microphone and sing songs he had written, accompanied by the composer at the keyboard. He sang only slightly better than Dana, who once told the New York Post, "I sing like an old vulture." Eddie sang "Ho Hum," their runaway hit from 1931, followed by "My Darling," a number he had written with Richard Myers for Earl Carroll's Vanities. Dana obliged and played a florid accompaniment, even though she had not collaborated on that song. This is one of the many times in her career when a manager could have made a better suggestion. Heyman then introduced Gertrude Niesen, who was ascending as one of the greatest torch singers of the decade. Wearing a large corsage on a velvet gown, standing in front of a wall tapestry, Niesen gave all the emotion possible in such a formal, brightly lit environment, and sang the most current Heyman-Suesse song, "My Silent Love." The short subject was titled 'Tableau' and was shown at selected theatres throughout the country during July, 1933, between features, like a cartoon or newsreel. This was the first and last time Suesse and Heyman would be filmed for motion pictures. Fortunately, they had a sense of humor about it. Years later Dana saw the film and laughed, "Look --I wasn't wearing a bra in those days!" The following year, Heyman and Suesse went on to create the song that became Hollywood's unofficial anthem, "You Oughta Be In Pictures."

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