September 15, 2022

Ray Hahn

Anything Goes; Illustrated

by Cole Porter

Cole Porter

Times have changed
And we’ve often rewound the clock
Since the Puritans got the shock
When they landed on Plymouth Rock

Plymouth Rock

If today
Any shock they should try to stem
‘Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock would land on them

In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking
But now, God knows
Anything goes

Good authors, too, who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
Writing prose
Anything goes

If driving fast cars you like
If low bars you like
If old hymns you like
If bare limbs you like
If Mae West you like
Or me undressed you like
Why, nobody will oppose

Mae West

When ev’ry night the set that’s smart is
Intruding at nudist parties
In studios
Anything goes

Mrs. Ned McLean

When Missus Ned McLean (God bless her)
Can get Russian reds to “yes” her
Then I suppose
Anything goes

When Rockefeller still can hoard
enough money to let Max Gordon
Produce his shows
Anything goes

Max Gordon

The world has gone mad today
And good’s bad today
And black’s white today
And day’s night today
And that gent today
You gave a cent today
Once had several chateaus

When folks who still can ride in jitneys
Find out Vanderbilts and Whitneys
Lack baby clothes
Anything goes

Sam Goldwyn

When Sam Goldwyn can with great conviction
Instruct Anna Sten in diction
Then ‘Anna’ shows
Anything goes

Anna Sten

When you hear that Lady Mendl standing up
Now does a handspring landing up-
On her toes
Anything goes

Lady Mendl

Just think of those shocks you’ve got
And those knocks you’ve got
And those blues you’ve got
From those news you’ve got
And those pains you’ve got
(If any brains you’ve got)
From those little radios

So Missus R., with all her trimmings
Can broadcast a bed from Simmons
Cause Franklin knows
Anything goes

Click Below to Listen to Anything Goes

7 Comments
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Never knew there were so many contemporary references. Just goes to show our forefathers were smart and gossipy like us.

I thank you for the work you do. It is most certainly appreciated.

What a hoot. Great accompanying images suggesting once again, you can find anything on postcards (and other ephemera).

A great song. It’s wonderful (to borrow a phrase from George and Ira Gershwin) how you were able to find postcards to illustrate it. The first time I heard this version I had to do some digging to find out who was Lady Mendl (a prominent American actress and later interior designer). She was an early practitioner of yoga in the U.S. hence the references by Porter.

This was creative, and beyond good! It was delightful. Thanks Ray Hahn for putting it together!

Evelyn Walsh (Mrs. Ned) McLean was a mining heiress and socialite who once owned the Hope Diamond. Max Gordon’s successes included the original stage production of The Jazz Singer and the Broadway play Born Yesterday. I wonder what Porter would think of some of the fashions and explicit lyrics of today.

Completely impressive and most entertaining article. Thank you so much for this very clever feature!

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