New York: Simion and Schuster, 1949. 8vo. Original cloth. Pp.125-6 removed, lower corners of preliminaries with soft creases, spine faded, some wear at ends of spine and corners. Provenance: Julius La Rosa (embossed stamp, his highlighting, underlining, and notes). Item #400731
FIRST EDITION. JULIUS LA ROSA'S COPIOUSLY MARKED COPY OF OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II'S LYRICS. Born in Brooklyn in 1930, La Rosa was a celebrated singer in the 1950s on television, stage and nightclubs. He had reinvented himself after a humiliating on-air firing by Arthur Godfrey when he was only 23 years old. It was the moment Godfrey's avuncular image began to crumble, and far from killing La Rosa's career, it opened even larger avenues. La Rosa was hired by Ed Sullivan at three times his salary and by 1955 "The Julius La Rosa Show" was on television three times a week.
La Rosa's annotations to Hammerstein's lyrics -- among the greatest of the 20th Century -- reveal the performer's focus on certain lines, as he highlights in yellow or green, or underlines in pencil. Two pages bear small pencil notes, but La Rosa saved his most insightful note to the end: for the lyric "When I Grow Too Old to Dream" (for the picture 'The Night is Young') he writes in blue pen: "Only one word has more than 1 syllable 51 words!' And his most extensive notes are on the rear endpaper, where he lists pages of songs and tells himself "get Flower Dream song & Sound of Mus.[ic]." And he makes a note to "Get music to song on p.155" -- "Now is the Time."