Johnny Green Fred Astaire – Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off 1937 George Gershwin

“Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” is a song written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin for the 1937 film Shall We Dance where it was introduced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as part of a celebrated dance duet on roller skates. The song is most famous for its “You like to-may-toes and other verses comparing their different regional dialects. The differences in pronunciation are not simply regional, however, and serve more specifically to identify class differences. At the time, typical American pronunciations were considered less “refined” by the upper-class, and there was a specific emphasis on the “broader” a sound. This class distinction with respect to pronunciation has been retained in caricatures, especially in the theater where the longer a pronunciation is most strongly associated with the word “darling.”

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