A Valentine Present: Jimmy Durante!
Jude Wanniski
February 12, 2001


Memo To: Husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: A Valentine idea

Our daily “Memo on the Margin” is of course my personal idea of what is “on the margin” on any particular day. Sometimes the margin involves matters of global significance. Sometimes the most important thing going on in the world is what is happening between two people, young lovers or old lovers, i.e., couples. It is two days until Valentine’s Day, but if you are going to think of how to express your love for the other side of your “couple,” you really should make a decision today on what it will be. A card is nice. A compact disc of Jimmy Durante singing love songs is even nicer -- “As Time Goes By: The Best of Jimmy Durante.” His songs work for young lovers and old lovers and everyone in-between. Even if the embers are dying out, but a spark is left, it will not hurt to try these Durante gems. Tears are guaranteed, flames are possible. The memo we ran last year mentioned a young married couple who were in difficulties of the heart. Jimmy helped fix them up and they are as good as new today!

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For as long as I can remember, there was always Jimmy Durante, a comedian who played in the MGM musicals I watched at the Boro Park Theatre when I was a little kid growing up in Brooklyn in the 1940s. I always loved "The Schnozz," as he called himself because of his trademark outsize nose. What a funny fellow and what a sweet man. His best role was playing a Harpo Marx character in George S. Kaufman’s "The Man Who Came to Dinner" with Monty Wooley, a movie videotape I highly recommend. I met him once in Las Vegas at the Sands in the early 1960s when I was a young reporter for the Review Journal and he was near the end of his life. Thank goodness he was as nice and sweet to me as if I were someone important or it would have spoiled my fondness for him on the screen. The reason he is "on the margin" today is that there is a young couple I know who are recently married and in love, but are having a rocky time figuring out marriage, even wondering if the trouble is worth staying together. Advice from an old guy is the last thing they need, so I am sending them a compact disc of Jimmy Durante singing love songs in a way only a young old guy can sing, with a lifetime behind him. If you are in love or would like to be in love or have friends or parents or grandparents who are in love, or would like to be again, this is the disc for you -- a perfect anniversary gift, which you will realize when you hear it. As Durante once put it: "Sometimes I sing so pretty, I like to break my own heart."

Here are the tunes.... Amazon.com has it for about 12 bucks and you can even sample some of the tunes on-line before you buy. It is a keeper. My favorite in the bunch is "Make Someone Happy."

1. As Time Goes By (Herman Hupfeld)
2. If I Had You (Ted Shapiro)
3. Smile (Charlie Chaplin, John Turner, Geoffrey Parsons)
4. Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo (Kaper & Deutch)
5. Make Someone Happy (Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Jule Stein)
6. Young At Heart (Johnny Richards, Carolyn Leigh)
7. Hello, Young Lovers (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
8. Try A Little Tenderness (Harry Woods, Jim Campbell, Reg Connally)
9. The Glory Of Love (Billy Hill)
10. I'll Be Seeing You (Irving Kahal, Sammy Fain)
11. September Song (Kurt Weill, Maxwell Anderson)
12. I'll See You In My Dreams (Isham Jones, Gus Kahn)