George M. Cohan - in Popular Culture

In Popular Culture

  • As noted above, James Cagney played Cohan in the 1942 biopic Yankee Doodle Dandy. Cagney played Cohan once more in the 1955 film The Seven Little Foys, starring Bob Hope as the vaudevillian Eddie Foy. Cagney performed this role free of charge as an expression of his gratitude to Eddie Foy Sr., who had done Cagney a favor during Cagney's early vaudeville days.
  • Mickey Rooney played Cohan in Mr. Broadway, a television special broadcast on NBC on May 11, 1957. The same month, Rooney released a 78 RPM record: The A-side featured Rooney singing Cohan's best-known songs, and the B-side featured Rooney singing several of his own compositions, such as the maudlin "You Couldn't Count the Raindrops for the Tears."
  • Joel Grey starred on Broadway as Cohan in the musical George M! (1968), which was adapted into a NBC television special in 1970.
  • Donny Osmond took the Cohan role in a 1982 Broadway adaptation of Little Johnny Jones, which was so poorly received and reviewed that it ran only one night.
  • Allan Sherman sang a parody-medley of three Cohan tunes on an early album: "Barry (That'll Be the Baby's Name)"; "H-o-r-o-w-i-t-z"; and "Get on the Garden Freeway" to the tune of "Mary's a Grand Old Name", "Harrigan" and "Give My Regards to Broadway", respectively.
  • The title of the book and the movie Born on the Fourth of July, about disabled Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic, was directly inspired by a well-known line from Cohan's song The Yankee Doodle Boy.
  • The Pogues song "Thousands Are Sailing," written by Phillip Chevron for their album "If I Should Fall From Grace With God," tells of somebody walking around New York: "Then we said 'Goodnight' to Broadway, giving it our best regards, tipped our hat to Mr. Cohan, dear old Times Square's favourite bard...."
  • Chip Deffaa created a one-man show about the life of Cohan called George M. Cohan Tonight!, which first ran Off-Broadway at the Irish Repertory Theatre in 2006 with Jon Peterson as Cohan. Deffaa has written and directed five other plays about Cohan.
  • The HBO series Boardwalk Empire featured Cohan's song "Life's a Funny Proposition" as the backdrop for the final scene of its first season finale.

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