Hanging around the house today, I was browsing through Will Friedwald’s Stardust Memories: A Biography of Twelve of America’s Most Popular Songs (2002). Here’s something from the chapter on Herman Hupfeld’s 1931 song “As Time Goes By”:
The Warner Bros. cartoon division was keen to capitalize on “ATGB”’s hit status, especially since their parent company already owned the rights to the song. It appears in one form or another in almost a dozen Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, but gets its best moment in Unruly Hare (1944). That’s the one where Bugs Bunny sings a generous chunk of Hupfeld’s lyrics on screen, and, upon reaching “Woman needs man / And man must have his mate,” the philosophical rabbit turns to the animation camera and directly addresses the audience with the affirmative observation, “Ain’t it the truth?”
Bugs is right, and so is Hupfeld. It’s been seventy years since “As Time Goes By” was first unleashed, and, old-fashioned as it sounds, the world is still welcoming lovers. They may not be traditional lovers circa 1931, they might be men with long hair and women in pants, or they might be of the same sex, as Hupfeld’s own loves seem to have been. But love goes on, and it’s still the only thing that will redeem us all. And that, my friends, is something that no one can deny.