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-   -   God Bless America (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=59130)

Jenn 26 March 2010 09:10 PM

God Bless America
 
Comment: A touch of nostalgia, may bring a goose bump to all of us "war kids"

In early 1940, Kate Smith, a fiercely patriotic American and the biggest
star on radio, was deeply worried about her country. She asked Irving
Berlin if he could give her a song that would reignite the spirit of American
patriotism and faith. He said he had a song that he had written in 1917,
but never used it. He said she could have it.

She sat at the piano & played it and realized how good it was. She called
Mr. Berlin and told him that she couldn't take this from him for nothing.
So, they agreed that any money that would be made off the song would
be donated to the Boy Scouts of America. Thanks to Kate Smith and Irving
Berlin, the Scouts have received millions of dollars in royalties.

This clip is from the movie "You're in the Army Now". You will see a
familiar face in this one that we are all very proud of. Frank Sinatra said
that when Kate Smith, whom he considered the greatest singer of his
age, first sang this song on the radio, a million guys got 'dust' in their
eyes and had to wipe the tears the 'dust' caused. If you can watch and
listen without 'dust' getting in your eyes, you have no soul. Sit back and
enjoy a Real Star.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnQDW-NMaRs

snopes 26 March 2010 09:22 PM

The New York Times
July 11, 1940, Thursday
IRVING BERLIN SONG TO AID OUR YOUTH

http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstra...DF405B8088F1D3

Quote:

Irving Berlin has established a trust fund for all royalties from his song hit "God Bless America"; which are to be used among the youth of America for patriotic purposes, it was announced yesterday.

The Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of America are the first organizations selected by the trustees ...
The 1940 date in the OP is clearly wrong, as the article notes that the song "was first introduced on a Kate Smith radio program in 1938."

snopes 26 March 2010 09:39 PM

Quote:

For a time, Kate Smith had exclusive rights to perform ''God Bless America'' in public. She relinquished that right when it became apparent the song had achieved a significance beyond that of just another new pop tune.

Mr. Berlin and Miss Smith waived all royalties from performances of ''God Bless America.'' The royalties continue to be turned over to the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.
http://www.nytimes.com/learning/gene...bday/0501.html

Assilem Brandywine 27 March 2010 02:51 AM

I wonder if the writer of the glurge knew that Berlin was both Jewish and Russian. He's also the same guy who wrote "Easter Parade".

DawnStorm 28 March 2010 08:57 PM

My mother remembers some smart-ass in her school class who sang '...land that I hate'. Pretty tame by today's standards, but my mother said that that kid had some 'splainin' to do.

ASL 30 March 2010 09:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenn (Post 1186388)
If you can watch and
listen without 'dust' getting in your eyes, you have no soul.

I have no soul.

Cyrano 30 March 2010 10:37 AM

Why on Earth did I open the link?

Now, I have that earworm stuck in my head for the day. :eek:

Damn.

Simply Madeline 30 March 2010 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL (Post 1188285)
I have no soul.

Nor do I. I absolutely despise that song, though.

Another Kate Smith favorite: That's Why Darkies Were Born.

Quote:

It's probable that it was meant as a satire, but to modern ears, it's among the most offensive popular songs of the Depression era.

htonl 30 March 2010 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL (Post 1188285)
I have no soul.

Nor do I; though presumably only Americans have souls anyway. :fish:

snoozn 31 March 2010 09:26 PM

I wonder why the OP makes it sound like the money is only given to the Boy Scouts, rather than Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. A cynical person would think they're only happy about supporting a group that keeps out teh gays and teh atheists.

quink 31 March 2010 09:40 PM

I didn't have to open the link to start the earworm :)

When I was in high school, we did an Irving Berlin review in musical theatre. Obviously as a Canadian school this song didn't really fit in, so we choreographed it with every American stereotype we could find, capped off with an epic US/Canadian hockey fight at the end. Unfortunately, one of the performers was American and her parents complained when they found out... I can't remember what we ended up doing, but it was pretty tame and bland.

Avril 01 April 2010 12:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL (Post 1188285)
I have no soul.

Nor have I--though Congress singing it spontaneously is at least moving, if not really to "dust."

Here.

Maybe it would bring back memories if I'd lived through WWII, and "dust."

snopes 11 December 2011 11:01 PM

Irving Berlin's gift of 'God Bless America'
 
Berlin instructed attorneys to draw up papers. He wanted to guarantee that every cent "God Bless America" ever earned went to a place that he thought would help to make the country's future brighter and stronger. In those months leading up to the U.S. entry into World War II, he selected the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts to receive the song's earnings -- specifically, he wanted the royalties to go to Boy Scout and Girl Scout programs in impoverished and disadvantaged areas.

His binding legal instructions are in effect to this day, 73 years after "God Bless America" was first sung by Kate Smith and 22 years after Berlin's death. So far, there has been more than $10 million distributed to Scouting programs, and it's still coming in.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/11/opinio...lin/index.html

tsuga 12 December 2011 12:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snopes (Post 1567934)
His binding legal instructions are in effect to this day, 73 years after "God Bless America" was first sung by Kate Smith and 22 years after Berlin's death. So far, there has been more than $10 million distributed to Scouting programs, and it's still coming in.

Good, I can quit buying cookies and popcorn and xmas trees and ...

boogers 12 December 2011 05:53 PM

So I sold all those cookies in subzero January weather to weirdos who tried to lure me into their houses while I was shaking from wind and frostbite--all for nothing? While some guy I'd never even heard of back then was supporting the scouting programs?

Did you ever have the feeling you've been cheated? Hey, I have tears in my eyes now.

smallpotatoes 14 December 2011 02:35 AM

I wish people could get the name right. It's Girl Scouts of the USA, not Girl Scouts of America.
/end rant.

boogers 18 December 2011 02:06 AM

Also, I once heard a choir singing the song. The problem was that I was on a crosstown bus and choirs generally don't sing on busses and this was back in my college days so I'd engaged in extensive partying the night before. I shook off the hallucination, left the bus and walked home...no tears. I just figured I'd had an international experiance. I'd heard a song about America written by a Russian Jew after I'd smoked Columbian.:fish:

TrishDaDish 22 June 2012 04:27 PM

♫ Stand beside her and guide her through the night with a light from a bulb... ♫

damian 22 June 2012 05:06 PM

I think the song is a little presumptuous. Who says God even likes you?

NobodyAtAll 27 June 2012 11:38 PM

I can't hear this song (which we sing once a week at school) without hearing the Firesign Theater singing 'Bless the postman, bless the milkman white with foam!'
Tho' only a small cross section of any group would recall the Firesign Theater I guess. I think that was on 'All Hail Marx and Lennon' meaning Groucho and John.

GenYus234 27 June 2012 11:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by damian (Post 1637439)
I think the song is a little presumptuous. Who says God even likes you?

If God didn't like the USA, why did Jesus move here?

Brad from Georgia 28 June 2012 12:37 AM

I think I spotted Eddie Munster in the audience in that clip. And Ronnie Reagan later. It's odd that Reagan later recalled his service overseas in WWII, since he never actually went overseas, though.

UrbanLegends101 31 August 2017 06:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenn (Post 1186388)

This clip is from the movie "You're in the Army Now". You will see a
familiar face in this one that we are all very proud of.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnQDW-NMaRs


I could not match that movie title, but it appears the actual movie is This is the Army from 1943


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNYl15DXSjU

DrRocket 01 September 2017 01:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NobodyAtAll (Post 1639116)
Tho' only a small cross section of any group would recall the Firesign Theater I guess. I think that was on 'All Hail Marx and Lennon' meaning Groucho and John.

I've got a couple of their albums on CD. :lol:

He crosses MacArthur Park and walks into a great sandstone building. "Ow, my nose!"

Dr. Winston O'Boogie 01 September 2017 05:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DrRocket (Post 1957885)
I've got a couple of their albums on CD. :lol:

He crosses MacArthur Park and walks into a great sandstone building. "Ow, my nose!"

Relentlessly.
Ruthlessly. "I wonder where Ruth is"

I did this with a couple of buddies as a "radio play" for a class in high school. I think I can still remember (almost) all of the script.

"You haven't heard the last of me!"
"No, but the first of you turns my stomach!"

E. Q. Taft 02 September 2017 12:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr. Winston O'Boogie (Post 1957955)
"You haven't heard the last of me!"
"No, but the first of you turns my stomach!"

One of my favorite lines from Futurama: "You haven't seen the last of Barbados Slim! Now, good-bye forever!"

Eoin 04 September 2017 10:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Assilem Brandywine (Post 1186676)
I wonder if the writer of the glurge knew that Berlin was both Jewish and Russian. He's also the same guy who wrote "Easter Parade".

Easter Parade is ironic since Easter is what makes Christianity distinct from Judaism. God Bless America, on the other hand, works for any monotheistic religion.
Quote:

Originally Posted by damian (Post 1637439)
I think the song is a little presumptuous. Who says God even likes you?

The words are "God bless America" (a petition), not "God blessed America" (a statement). Perhaps you're confusing it with the Roy Rogers song God Must Have Loved America.

Mouse 05 September 2017 02:07 AM

Clearly my soul is nonexistent and my heart is truly black as pitch, because I've never been crazy about "God Bless America." It's smaltzy as hell and I'm always like, "Y'know given the wealth and influence America has, maybe we should ask God to bless other nations. I mean, you don't give the blue spiny shell to the guy in first place." Then again, given that the developed world has us beat on everything except imprisoning people and our bloated military budget, maybe the song is more apropos then I think. Though I don't know...

The best thing to come out of this song was Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land. He wrote that song as a Take That against "God Bless America" with the chorus originally being "God blessed America for me" rather than "This Land was made for you and me."

Woody Guthrie's song has been out long enough that it can be safely glurgified, especially if you take out this verse:

Quote:

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;

By the relief office, I'd seen my people.

As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,

Is this land made for you and me?
How dare Woody Guthrie celebrate a bunch of welfare queens. :fish:

thorny locust 05 September 2017 02:39 AM

This verse is usually dropped also:

Quote:

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

gopher 05 September 2017 11:37 AM

I think you will find God is too busy saving the Queen to bless America.

Richard W 05 September 2017 11:45 AM

You wouldn't believe some of the scrapes the Queen gets into and has to be saved from. It's a full-time job.

ChasFink 05 September 2017 02:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gopher (Post 1958184)
I think you will find God is too busy saving the Queen to bless America.

If things keep progressing as they seem to be, He'll be saving Mrs. Ethel Shroake of 393A High Street, Leytonstone instead.

Crius of CoH 11 September 2017 03:12 AM

I don't find God Bless America particularly schmaltzy or offensive or stirring or anything, really; it was merely part of the standard background sound of my childhood. However, nowadays when I hear it, all I can think of is the ending of Once Upon A Time In America.


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