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Otto Harbach (1873 - 1963)

Otto Harbach gave up careers as professor of English, New York newspaperman, and advertising executive for the musical stage. He had minor successes with his early collaborator, Karl Hoschna, but later turned out hit after hit.

Rose Marie, Harbach’s play with Lucien Hubbard, was a silent film with Joan Crawford before becoming a successful operetta in 1924 with music by Rudolph Friml. The 1936 film Rose Marie starred Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in memorable performances of its title cut and “Indian Love Call.” Another partnership with Friml produced The Firefly, which was adapted for film in 1937 by Ogden Nash and included the additional song “Donkey Serenade”.

Sunny (1924), a play written with Oscar Hammerstein II, became a musical starring Marilyn Miller. In addition to the title cut, Jerome Kern’s score also produced “Who.” In 1930 another Harbach play became the musical No, No Nanette with music by Vincent Youmans. Two of the hit songs were “I Want to Be Happy” and “Tea for Two,” the latter, the title of a 1950 Hollywood musical starring Doris Day.



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