Those who have really applied themselves in Lyric Writing Craft will recall that we said in class that the apostrophe can often be a lyricist's best friend, for it can help make a rhyme where it wouldn't otherwise exist. For example, take the first words you hear on the cast album of Look Ma, I'm Dancin': "My mother didn't raise her boy to be a dancer; that was not her mission. My father hoped I'd be an engineer or a financier, that's what he was wishin'."
Note that the last word is "wishin' " with an apostrophe instead of a "g." If the "g" were present, the word would be "wishing," and lyricist Hugh Martin would have missed the rhyme with "mission." But "wishin' " without the "g" takes care of everything.
Here are 50 examples of apostrophic rhymes. Identify the song and the show from which they came. All test papers due are by Friday afternoon, January 21 (you'll find my direct e-mail link at the end of this column). Answers will be posted on the 24th.
1. "Another op'nin, another show, in Philly, Boston, or Baltimo'."
2. "That Puerto-Rican punk'll go down, and when he's hollered 'Uncle!' "...
3. "'Her English is too good,' he said, 'which clearly indicates that she is foreign. Whereas others are instructed in their native language, English people aren'.' "
4. "I finally found the boy I've been missin'. Listen!"
5. "Your special facination'll prove to be inspirational. We think you're just sensational."
6. "I'm gonna put on shows that will enthrall 'em, read my name in Winchell's column."
7. "But we ain't fussin', 'cuz we got us'n."
8. "And when the beef comes out, you do the carvin'. You hate Tom Cruise, but you love Lee Marvin."
9. "Should there be a marital squabble, available Bob'll be there with the glue."
10. "When your best days are yester', the rest're twice as dear."
11. "Kid, my heart ain't made of marble, but your rhythm's really horr'ble."
12. "I do not like polygamy, or even moderate bigamy. I realize that, in your eyes, that clearly makes a prig o 'me."
13. "Dreams the way we planned 'em -- if we work in tandem."
14 "Men say it's criminal what women'll do."
15. "...said this bum'll be Beau Brummel."
16. "But with child-e-ren, it's bewilderin'."
17. "Picture a flailing spermatazoan, not even knowin' where he is goin'."
18. "On the east side of Eden, they did a little lovin', they did a little breedin'."
19. "So when I met Louis Sixteenth of Bourbon, 'twas so disturbin'."
20. "Many a lassie as everyone knows'll try to be married before 25, so she'll agree to most any proposal."
21. "You don't have to shout; from now on, I'm out of the kitchen. What's more, I can't stand your cigarette brand, and I'm switchin'."
22. "Turning down ev'ry chance you're given takes the risk out of life, but friends, how the hell can you call that livin'."
23. "I see cannibals munchin' a missionary luncheon."
24. "I got a hot water bottle, but nothin' I got'll take the place of you holdin' me tight."
25. "If she's wearin' silk and satin, she's for pettin' and for pattin'."
26. "According to a sweet and corny custom, isn't it kinda fun makin' vows, admittin' that we both intend to bust 'em?"
27. "So a job I'm getting, possibly; I wonder who my boss'll be."
28. "Three cheers for Pinchley, he's true blue. We knew essinch'lly he'd come through."
29. "But what's the use of smellin' watermelon?"
30. "Each girl and boy alike, sharing joy alike, feels that passion'll soon be national."
31. "From now on, this pile of flesh'll be considered something pretty special."
32. "She's taken our boys 'nd she oughta be poisoned."
33. "Back home, I dreamt of catchin' fish so big I couldn't carry 'em. They told me that they have my size right here in the aquarium."
34. "I should like a series on young Larry Foreman, who goes around stormin'."
35. "In your book, it may be written that a guy who is quittin' with a dollar-ninety-eight is doin' fine."
36. "There's nothin' worse'n a poor little person."
37. "Lasted up to autumn. Could have caught 'im."
38. "Life without us is quite impossible and devoid of all charms. No amount of idle gossip'll keep them out of our arms."
39. "Although she looks like Venus, she may not be the cleanes'."
40. "...not since Sidon, not since Jericho started slidin'."
41. "Won't you lose your aplomb 'n' take off the domin-o?"
42. "Harriet, who climbed the top of the heap from the bottom. A beautiful life was her aim, and to vary it, she wanted the sun and the moon -- and she got 'em."
43. "Oh, world, we're tired of grap-pa-lin'; we feel like Charlie Chap-a-lin."
44. "We'll never make our fortune just by sitting on the porch 'n' looking wistful."
45. "I'm being wooed by a banker who'd buy a yacht if I got on his knee."
46. "Most people stay and battle on with their boredom, but what's the sense of dreaming dreams if you 'oard 'em?"
47. "You hit it right on the button. We always keep goin', but where do we go, what do we know? Nuttin'."
48. "Let Hollywood have Marlon -- Charlie is my darlin'."
49. "She smiles at you so innocently, and yet it's just as clear as can be, she A-I-N-apostrophe-T."
50. "And every guy I find satisfyin' treats me like I was Margaret O'Brien."
[To contact Peter Filichia directly, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org]
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