Old Chris, Anna Christie's father, sings his favorite tune "My Yosephine" four times in the play. The song survived through two versions of the play and the sound film starring Greta Garbo. It was composed by "Lefty" Louis, a bartender at one of O'Neill's early hangouts, The Golden Swan Saloon, nicknamed "The Hell Hole" by its patrons. On December 2, 1919, O'Neill wrote to his wife Agnes, who had been concerned that using the song might involve the payment of royalties, that "Lefty" was
"Lefty" never heard the actor Emmett Corrigan sing the song on Broadway, for the play , then entitled Chris Christophersen, closed out of town. He may, however, have heard it when the successfully rewritten play, "Anna Christie," opened in 1921 with George Marion replacing Corrigan. Since the words are the same in all versions, there is no reason to assume that Lefty's tune was not used in "Anna Christie" or that the song was changed when Marion took up the role again in the Greta Garbo sound film.
Chris—Ay yust come ashore. Give us drink, Larry. Ay vas a little drunk, not much. Yust feel good. (He laughs and commences to sing in a nasal high-pitched quaver.... He waves his hand as if he were conducting an orchestra.) [I, 961-1; 965, 967, 993; cf. Chris Christophersen, I, 802, 808, 813, 826, 841, 889]
My Yosephine - words and music by "Lefty" Louis
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