As Time Goes By

Album: As Time Goes By (1931)
Charted: 1

Songfacts®:

  • This was written by Herman Hupfeld for the 1931 Broadway musical Everybody's Welcome, but was made memorable when sung by Dooley Wilson in the 1942 film Casablanca. The song connected the characters Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman).
  • Casablanca was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. Some of the memorable lines from the film include:

    "Here's looking at you, kid."

    "Sing it, Sam" (Nobody in the film said, "Play it again, Sam").

    "Let's go fishing until she goes home."

    "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world she has to walk into mine."

    "Who are you really? Where were you before? What did you do? What did you think?"

    "We'll always have Paris." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Garry - Anchorage, AK
  • Dooley Wilson was a professional drummer by trade so was forced to mime his piano playing in the film to a recording, likely by studio musician Jean Plummer. For decades, many official sources credited Wilson's friend Elliot Carpenter for providing the piano work - and with good reason. Carpenter was on set for a few days during the production and played on the October 11, 1943 78rpm recording, DECCA 40006A. If that's not enough, a 30th anniversary screening of the film named Carpenter as the pianist for the famous scene. Shortly after, he wrote to his friend Eubie Blake that he'd finally received recognition for his part.

    But a closer look at the film's production notes and financial records points to Plummer - the principal pianist on record for the duration - as the true player. Three pianists were on set when Wilson filmed the "As Time Goes By" scene with Ingrid Bergman, including Carpenter, Plummer, and William Ellfeldt. The film editor's script notes that different personnel recorded the same material on the two-day shoot but doesn't indicate who plays on the final product. Ellfeldt's presence coincides with dialogue scenes, so it was between Plummer and Carpenter. To solve the mystery, a forensic musicologist examined samples from both pianists and determined Plummer's style was consistent with the music in the film. He concluded "the pianist on the soundtrack does very different things than Carpenter does accompanying Wilson in the studio."
  • Jimmy Durante's 1965 version opens the 1993 film Sleepless in Seattle, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
  • Max Steiner, who had composed the score to Gone with the Wind just a few years earlier, was brought in to write the music for Casablanca and promptly decided to cut "As Time Goes By."

    According to Mark Steyn's A Song for the Season, Steiner tried to convince producer Hal Wallis to let him write a replacement song, but it was too late. Director Michael Curtiz had already finished shooting and the cast had moved on to other projects, including Ingrid Bergman, who chopped her hair off for her role in For Whom the Bell Tolls. If they re-shot the scene, the studio would need to create a wig for Bergman to replicate Ilsa's hairstyle. Steiner's orchestrator, Hugo Friedhofer, finally convinced him of the song's value, and he made it the centerpiece of the film.
  • Harry Nilsson had a minor hit with this song when he covered it for his 1973 standards album, A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night.
  • Because of Casablanca's success, 12-year-old versions of "As Time Goes By" from Rudy Vallee and Jacques Renard, which made little chart impact upon first release, hit the charts again in 1943 at #1 and #3, respectively. Warner Bros. chief Jack Warner finally allowed Wilson to record his own version, under the stipulation that the studio would receive most of the profits, but it was too late to make the charts.

Comments: 5

  • Bob W from Los Angelessee:
    https://www.afm47.org/press/three-pianists-of-casablanca/
  • Topher from ThemoonIt's not true that Arthur Dooley Wilson wrote "As Time Goes By". Herman Hupfeld wrote both music and lyrics. There is a disturbing trend on the Internet to insist, and to demand that others embrace, the lie that every song's lyrics and tune was wrote by the performing artist who made it famous. Why is this happening? Why is everyone perpetrating this lie? There are many songs that were written by people who ARE NOT the performing artist who made that song famous! Why would you rather have your entrails dragged out of your body before you will admit that this is so? There are principles worth dying for. Truths worth dying for. No lies is worth dying for. To be in the grip of the idea that if a certain performing artist made a song famous then that artist MUST have written and composed that song is as irrational as, but unfortunately as common as, the idea that everyone who doesn't embrace one true religion is someone who deserves to die.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 6th 1968, Tiny Tim performed a medley of "Hello, Hello," "As Time Goes By" and "I Gave Her That" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    All three songs by him are available on You Tube; the Sopwith Camel's version of "Hello, Hello" peaked at #26 in 1967 and "I Gave Her That" was composed in 1919 and recorded by Al Jolson in 1920...
    Another memorable line from the movie was when Ric says "Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" {https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vY-4zWKsJM}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 26th 1973, "As Time Goes By" by Nilsson entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 at position #96; and on September 16th, 1973 it peaked at #86 {for 1 week} and spent 5 weeks on the Top 100..
    The song was the last track on his album 'A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night'...
    In 1959 Johnny Nash covered it; his version peaked at #43 on the Top 100...
    R.I.P. Harry Edward Nilsson III {1941 - 1994}.
  • Scotty from Cheyenne, WyCarly Simon does a gorgeous version of this on her album "Coming Around Again."
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