The Shocking Miss Pilgrim

Released by 20th Century Fox on February 11, 1947. Music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. Written and directed by George Seaton. Produced by William Perlberg.  Cast included Betty Grable, Dick Haymes, Anne Revere, Allyn Joslyn, Gene Lockhart, Elizabeth Patterson, and Arthur Shields.

Several times after George Gershwin’s death, Ira Gershwin turned to George’s “trunk tunes” to create a score for a particular project. The first time was in 1939 to create “Dawn of a New Day,” the theme song for the New York World’s Fair. The second was to create the score for THE SHOCKING MISS PILGRIM. What Ira utilized were incomplete songs intended for other projects; with the help of Kay Swift, he took several musical fragments to complete or create other songs.

The film was a story, set in 1870’s Boston, about the first woman typewriter (Betty Grable). Unfortunately, due to the period costumes, Grable wasn’t given an opportunity to display her famous legs in the musical numbers — to the disappointment of her fans. “Aren’t You Kind of Glad We Did?,” an innocent number sung by Grable and Haymes about going out in public without a chaperone, had a hit recording by Haymes with Judy Garland. The recording did not get radio airplay, as censors inferred a more suggestive meaning.