Here's another really wonderful song from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas that most people don't know because it was cut out of the movie.
Actually, it wasn't so much "cut out" as never intended to be used. This is one of those songs that got dropped because Dolly Parton's deal was that she could write a certain number of new songs in place of the already-existing score. And she wrote a new song that would have replaced this one. And her's was never used either -- I don't think it was even filmed.
The original song by Carol Hall was "The Bus from Amarillo," sung by Miss Mona, played on Broadway by Carlin Glynn. The only reason I know about Dolly Parton's song is because the lyrics are in the screenplay I got when I worked at Universal Pictures at the time.
The songs cover similar ground, but for different angles. "The Bus from Amarillo" is a more general, bittersweet song, about having goals and dreams and how we often get in our own way, turn off that path and end up somewhere else. In Miss Mona's case, where she eventually ends up in her life is as the madam of a whorehouse. Dolly Parton's song is much darker, and specific to Miss Mona's life. I still have the screenplay, and here's how the song begins --
Bein' born was the worst and the first
Mistake I ever made
The doctor didn't spank me
He just slapped me in the face
And the cup of love was always quenchin'
Someone else's thirst
Leaving me to swallow
The bitter taste of hurt.
'Casue I was raised an orphan
Never wanted as a kid
Until the year I turned thirteen
Then everybody did
Strangers passed me back and forth
Men just took me as they pleased
And others had a Cinderella slave
To cook and clean and weave
Though the deck is stacked against you
Win or lose you have to play
The hand that life had dealt you
And it's a gamble either way.
And her life sort of goes downhill from there. The lyrics are sort of interesting, but as you can see, it's pretty specific and personal and gloomy. Not knowing the music, I can't really compare the two songs. I just know that I really like "The Bus from Amarillo" a lot.
What I also know is that if it had been kept in the movie, it would have at least stood a chance of being released as a single by Dolly Parton, singing a song that everyone could relate to, having lost dreams and changed plans in your life. This new song likely wouldn't have ever had a life outside the movie. That doesn't mean it wasn't good -- some of the greatest Broadway scores haven't had a life outside their source. But given that "The Bus from Amarillo" actually existed first, and fit the show wonderfully, I just find it a shame that such a terrific song got dropped. And you know, I think Dolly Parton would have sung the bejeepers out of it.
By the way, a note about Carlin Glynn. Her husband Peter Masterson co-wrote the book of the show and directed it. And her daughter is the actress Mary Stuart Masterson, of Some Kind of Wonderful, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Benny and Joon.
(Let's play musical chairs. Fried Green Tomatoes that Mary Stuart Masterson starred in was based on a book written by Fannie Flagg -- who replaced Carlin Glynn, Mary Stuart Masterson's mother, on Broadway in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.)
So, this swirl aside, here's that wonderful, original song from the show, "The Bus from Amarillo," which you probably don't know because it was dropped from the movie.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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