Saturday, March 05, 2011

Mae West: Irving Kahal

In the 1935 MAE WEST comedy "Goin' to Town," there are several favorites on the soundtrack.
• • "Love Is Love" — Music by Sammy Fain; Lyrics by Irving Kahal; Sung by Mae West
• • "He's a Bad Man" — Music by Sammy Fain; Lyrics by Irving Kahal; Sung by Mae West
• • "Now I'm a Lady" — Music by Sammy Fain; Lyrics by Irving Kahal and Sam Coslow; Sung by Mae West
• • Past columns have focused on both Sammy Fain and Sam Coslow so let's get better acquainted with Mr. Kahal.
• • Born in Houtzdale, Pennsylvania in the month of March — — on 5 March 1903 — — Irving Kahal was initiated into variety and, eventually, performed with a troupe led by Gus Edwards [1879
1945]. During this time Kahal met vaudevillian songwriter Sammy Fain in New York City. That meeting began one of the most prolific collaborations from Tin Pan Alley and lasted until Kahal's death in 1942. In 1927 they produced their first song, "Let a Smile be Your Umbrella," a chart-topper covered by many vocalists.
• • In 1930, Paramount Pictures signed Kahal and Fain to write a song for the Maurice Chevalier movie The Big Pond. They traveled to Los Angeles, composed "You Brought a New Kind of Love To Me" (written with Pierre Norman), and adopted that California city as their new base of operations.
• • For the remainder of their partnership, Kahal and Fain worked for several movie studios, mainly focused on providing one or two numbers to be included in a variety of films. They continued to create instant classics and they also wrote for Broadway musicals.
• • Unfortunately, 38-year-old Irving Kahal died at the height of his success on 7 February 1942 in New York, New York. Kahal was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1935 • •
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  1. Was he gay? I just think only a gay man could have written "I Can Dream Can't I". But I may be wrong. Plus there's the Mae West connection, and I can't find any evidence of a marriage.

  2. Irving Kahal (5 March 1903, Houtzdale, Pennsylvania — 7 February 1942, New York City) was a popular lyricist active in the 1920s and 1930s. Perhaps his concentration on his career, his demanding deadlines for Paramount Pictures, and his life in Hollywood kept him too busy to marry. Or maybe he was gay. He was a very successful songwriter when he died in 1942 at the young age of 38.