You Oughta Be In Pictures

Album: Rudy Vallee: The Voice That Had Them Fainting (1934)
Charted: 5
  • songfacts ®
  • Written by Dana Suesse and Edward Heyman, "You Oughta Be In Pictures" debuted in the Broadway musical revue Ziegfeld Follies of 1934, sung by Jane Froman. Several acts recorded it that year, starting with Arthur Nichols & His Orchestra. Shortly after, Rudy Vallee and His Connecticut Yankees recorded it for RCA Victor as the B-side to "Without That Certain Thing" and hit #5 on the pop chart. The tune quickly became an unofficial anthem for Hollywood, where young hopefuls from all over the country flocked for the chance to see themselves on the silver screen. (In the early days of Hollywood, movies were often called "pictures.") Vallee thinks his girl, who has a voice to thrill a nation and a face to be adored, is a sure thing, especially if the audience gets a load of her kissing skills.
  • Suesse and Heyman previously collaborated on the popular song "My Silent Love." Suesse was a classically trained pianist and one of just a few successful female lyricists of the '20s and '30s. She favored jazz and classical music but wrote pop songs to pay the bills. "My goodness, during the Depression, I was making $10,000 a year when graduate students were selling apples on the street corner," she explained in Michael Whorf's American Popular Song Composers: Oral Histories, 1920s - 1950s. "In the early thirties that was a fortune. It would be like making $75,000 today. Needless to say I was very happy doing this."
  • Little Jack Little notched a bit higher with his version, which hit #2, and the Boswell Sisters also took it to #17, both in 1934. It was also covered by Al Bowlly, Connie Francis, and Doris Day, among others. Day sang it to a group of wounded soldiers in the 1951 movie Starlift.
  • This was used in several Looney Tunes cartoons, including the 1940 short "You Ought To Be In Pictures" following Daffy Duck and Porky Pig's adventures in Hollywood. It was also featured in the classic TV shows 77 Sunset Strip and M*A*S*H.
  • Woody Allen used Little Jack Little's version in his 1998 movie Celebrity. It also appeared in Allen's Café Society (2016), performed by Bert Ambrose and His Orchestra.
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