“My Dog Loves Your Dog.” Music by Ray Henderson, lyrics by Jack Yellen and Irving Caesar for the film “George White’s Scandals (1934).” Recorded by Elsie Carlisle and Sam Browne with orchestral accompaniment on June 22, 1934. Decca F. 5079.
The various annual installments of George White’s Scandals, a famed series of Broadway revues which ran from 1919-1939, were responsible for introducing the world to countless people who would eventually become Hollywood stars, as well as to the early music of George Gershwin. In 1934 the music of the stage show was combined with a somewhat more robust plot and made into a feature film, George White’s Scandals (1934), starring Alice Faye, Rudy Vallée, Cliff Edwards, and Jimmy Durante. One long scene in that movie involves the male characters walking dogs in tandem with the female characters and engaging in lengthy observations about canine amorousness that always lead to the conclusion “If our doggies love each other, why can’t we?” Foremost among the singers of “My Dog Loves Your Dog” is Jimmy Durante, who at one point is shown in a dog collar, with his head in a woman’s lap, having his famously protuberant “schnozz” petted.
In June, Elsie Carlisle and Sam Browne would tackle the song themselves, but with less than three minutes to sing it — including an instrumental interlude — they present a considerably abbreviated version. Their male-female duet adds flavor to the song, though, and ultimately allows the entrance of the element of strife between lovers that one would expect in a Sam-and-Elsie bit. When Sam first accosts Elsie and begins to observe the growing familiarity of their respective dogs, she responds, “Yes. Someone mentioned it today. You can see it in their eyes” in a stilted delivery that must either betoken haughtiness on the part of Elsie’s character or perhaps exhaustion on the part of Elsie herself! Either way, I find her awkward beginning intensely funny. Some very nice singing ensues, but Elsie’s observations about the dogs ultimately serve as a riposte to Sam’s advances. The dogs begin to fight, and the two singers conclude “And if our doggies bite each other, why can’t we?” — a comic twist not present in the movie.
“My Dog Loves Your Dog” was also recorded that year by the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra (as Bob Snyder and His Orchestra, with vocalist Kay Weber), by Cliff Edwards, one of the stars of the original movie sequence, Victor Young and the Brunswick Studio Orchestra, and Harry Roy and His Orchestra (with vocals by Bill Currie). Jay Wilbur and His Band did a medley based on the Scandals in which Mona Brandon and Sam Browne sing “My Dog Loves Your Dog.”