DEAR JERRY: Having recently watched “Brigadoon” on television, I was a surprised to not hear “Come to Me, Bend with Me.” I figured it probably was one of those segments that gets dropped or edited when they modify movies for TV.
However, because it's my favorite “Brigadoon” song, I ordered the original, full-length, theatrical version from Netflix.
Still, there was no “Come to Me, Bend with Me.”
Now I'm really confused. Am I mistaken about this song being in “Brigadoon”?
Norman R. Stewart, Brown Deer, Wis.
DEAR NORMAN: Yes and no.
In case you are even more confused now, here is the expository explanation.
Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's “Brigadoon,” a mythical Shangri-la-like village in the Highlands of Scotland, opened on Broadway March 13, 1947, at the Ziegfeld Theatre.
Sandwiched between “The Heather on the Hill” and “Almost Like Being in Love,” was “Come to Me, Bend with Me,” performed by Lee Sullivan.
The LP had not yet been invented, so, in what would be RCA Victor's first ever original cast album, there were five 78 rpm singles (RCA Victor K-7). In 1951 the “Brigadoon” original cast appeared for the first time on long-playing vinyl records (RCA Victor LOC-1001), and the first track on Side 2 is “Come to Me, Bend with Me.”
After many years out of print, RCA Victor repackaged the original cast in 1981 (AYL1-3901).
All of RCA's original cast records include Pamela Britton's “My Mother's Wedding Day,” an accounting of a wedding that turned into a drunken brawl spiced up with an alcohol-fueled tryst.
Considered a bit too rowdy at the time, “My Mother's Wedding Day” was not chosen for use in the upcoming (1954) MGM film soundtrack.
Stronger objections were made to “The Love of My Life,” thus it did not appear on record until 1958, when the censors began to loosen their grip on pop culture.
“Brigadoon” became Lerner and Loewe's first truly successful musical, but Lerner alone wrote the screenplay, which he completed in 1953. Late that year, MGM began the recording sessions for the music to be heard in the film, including “Come to Me, Bend with Me,” voiced by John Gustafsen.
At the time, the plan was to have Jimmy Thompson, the actor cast as Charlie Dalrymple, lip-sync to Gustafsen's audio track.
The film, starring Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, and Van Johnson, premiered in 1954.
Unfortunately, the “Come to Me, Bend with Me” and “There But for You Go I” sequences remained on the cutting room floor. Silly as it seems by modern standards, “My Mother's Wedding Day” and “The Love of My Life” were summarily scratched.
After these cuts, MGM was left with just enough film music to fill about one-half of the soundtrack album. But by reinstating “Come to Me, Bend with Me” (John Gustafsen) and “There But for You Go I” (Gene Kelly), plus some incidental music by the MGM Studio Orchestra, they beefed up the running time to nearly 30 minutes.
Inexplicably, the front cover and record label both state: “Recorded Directly from the Sound Track of the M-G-M CinemaScope Film." This is false, since roughly half of this LP (MGM E-3135) is material that is neither in the film nor on the sound track.
MCA reissued this MGM soundtrack in 1986 (MCA-39062), providing you with one more source for “Come to Me, Bend with Me.”
Finally, in 1958, a “Brigadoon” studio cast came out with “My Mother's Wedding Day” and “The Love of My Life,” both brilliantly performed by Susan Johnson. Also headlining this cast are Shirley Jones, Jack Cassidy, and Frank Porretta.
Except for the 1958 “Brigadoon” (Columbia CL-1132) widely regarded as the most desirable collection all of the above records, plus several others not discussed here, are easily available on compact discs for less than $10.
Here is “My Mother's Wedding Day” with lyrics
IZ ZAT SO? So what is it about “The Love of My Life,” a truly marvelous song, that spooked the producers for so many years?
What we have here is a 16-year-old Scottish lass, whose father encourages her to “audition” several candidates in search for a husband.
One by one, her outdoor overnight rendezvous in the glen end badly. Not once does she find the love of her life. Ever the optimist, before spending the night with each lad, she is convinced he is the real love of her life.
For all we know, she may still be conducting interviews.
To give you an idea, here's the official summary of applicant number one:
At sixteen years I was blue and sad
Then father said I should find a lad
So I set out to become a wife
And found the real love of my life
His name it was Chris, and the last was McGill
I met him one night pickin' flowers on the hill
He had lots of charm and a certain kind of touch
And a certain kind of eagerness that pleased me very much
So there neath the moon where romance often springs
I gave him my heart … and a few other things
I don't know how long that I stayed up on the hill
But the moon had disappeared, and so had Christopher McGill
So I went home and I thought I'd die
Till father said, make another try
So out I went to become a wife
And found the real love of my life
Here is “Love of My Life” with lyrics