Bunch Courtney Queries : Memory Plays Tricks! #bunchcourtney #film #music #ww2 #amwriting

Not sure this is a Bunch Courtney Investigates  issue so much as a word of caution.  Never rely on your memory for the facts!

I was just about to paraphrase a song title in my work in progress, set in 1941 and I was 99% certain that it was a valid choice.

But out of sheer habit I turned to the musical databases to check it out.

Arooga!  Warning!  Incorrect!

But how was I so convinced that the song fitted the time?

It appears thar ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs (In the Spring Again)’ was not penned by Ivor Novello, or at least it was not performed,  until 1945 for his hit musical ‘Perchance to Dream’. This song was recorded by Muriel Barron & Olive Gilbert (1945), and by Geraldo and his Orchestra, who reached the UK charts with it in 1946.  Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra (vocal by Stuart Foster) made it a minor hit in the USA in 1946. This is a  song that evokes the English Countryside with the sights and scents of Lilacs in springtime. A metaphor for the emotions of parted couples waiting to be reunited. It was played at Novello’s funeral in 1951.

Now the song and the stage production were before my time, but the radio program, Family Favourites (in all its various titles from 1950s onwards), played it a great deal, so it was very familiar to me.

Lilacs in the Spring2 - Poster.jpg

I suspect my ‘false memory’ however, actually came out of the film Lilacs in the Spring. A 1954 British musical film starring Anna Neagle and Errol Flynn,  (and, I am told, contains the debut appearance of Sean Connery).

Lilacs in the Spring depicts a young actress, Carole, is being  wooed by a producer Charles King. She is unsure about him and when she is caught by a bomb explosion during an air raid in the London Blitz (1940!)  Carole is knocked unconscious and in her confused state a series of fantasies set at various points in history flash through her mind as she is pursued and wooed by King.

Now this film was still made before I was born (just) but as a youngster I had a lot of illness and many an afternoon was spent swathed in bed quilts (this was pre-duvet years!) watching TV. As there were very few channels to choose from and this was also the pre-video era,  viewing was limited.  But quite often (especially on Saturday afternoons – remember Saturday Cinema slot, you oldies?)  there were what to me at that age were creaky old films being broadcast. Mother had a liking for old movies so the TV would always be on for those and so I have no doubt I saw this movie at least once – doubtless on a black and white tv – though the film was made in colour – which probably added to the WW2 feel!

I was so certain that the song itself was WW2  Blitz era… and I was so very wrong!



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