Cohan, of course, had a legendary Broadway career as a songwriter, actor, director, and producer (and according to historians, not a particularly nice guy at all, despite Cagney's portrayal), creating such classic songs as "You're a Grand Old Flag," "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Over There," "Mary, "Harrigan" and countless others. But few people have ever actually seen him.
Well, here he is.
This is from a 1932 movie late in his career, co-starring with my fave Jimmy Durante, in a picture called, Someone Ought to Wave the Flag. And you not only get a scene with George M. Cohan here -- you get a musical number with him, singing (and even a couple of small dance steps towards the end)! And for good measure, Jimmy Durante gets a long solo later in the number.
Mind you, I can't say that this scene will convince anyone why George M. Cohan was legendary, but it's at least wonderful to have some footage.
By the way, fine, detailed-minded reader Dough Molitor reminds me that this movie was also known by it's better name, The Phantom President. I wasn't aware that this was one in the same.
The score to The Phantom President is by Rodgers & Hart. And Cohan did not get along with them at all, which is putting it mildly, in large part likely because their popularity greatly had eclipsed his and marked a change in Broadway. He regularly referred to them derisively as "Gilbert & Sullivan." Yet despite this, he went on to star in their subsequent Broadway show, I'd Rather Be Right, which was a respectable hit and brought Cohan back to the limelight.
But before that, there was this --