Take a Picture of the Moon

“Take a Picture of the Moon,” Sheet Music

I go through annoying cycles of having the same song stuck in my brain for six months at a time. Sometimes it’s a snippet of a few bars, other times, it’s only a verse/melody that I can remember. There was a period of three months last year where “Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can!” was this annoying blip right at the surface of my consciousness. So much so, that I would sing everything in that verse and just change the words. For example, if I was at the ice cream parlor, and I needed to go to the back to get paper towels, I would sing to myself “Paper towels, paper towels, gonna need more paper towels.” in the Spiderman tune.

I must sound like a shoe-in as a candidate for the spin bin. Surely there is a proper psychiatric diagnoses for this condition? Maybe it can be a lumped in diagnosis with my photic sneeze reflex and the way cilantro tastes like handsoap to me. We can call it Foxtrot Syndrome. But, I digress.

Six years ago, I was listening to The Old Codger on WFMU (If you have not listened to this podcast, I demand that you listen to one episode immediately). Let’s all think back to what the internet was like in 2006: to get on Facebook, you needed a school email address, Youtube had some videos but not a breadth of old songs, and most of us were still Livejournaling. I had a distinct interest in being a scholar of the past, but no one to guide or teach me. Enter podcasts, and Courtney T. Edison, host of The Old Codger. I’d like to single handedly thank this entity for carving out my musical tastes, and giving me many jumping off points to start my own musical collection.

One song played on the program was “Take a Picture of the Moon.” Click on this link to listen to the mp3, and I’ve written down the lyrics for you as well:

Do you ever get a disappointment
Just because the moon don’t shine?
Do you ever sit around and mope
groan a little bit and give up hope?
There’s a way to keep a love appointment
even though the moon don’t shine
should yours be a case like this
try this plan of mine:

take a picture of the moon above
in May or June
then you can make love
morning, night, and noon
by the light of the same old moon

Take a picture of the moon on high
when it’s in sight
then you can be dry on a rainy night
when you feel like you’d like to spoon

you have the proper atmosphere
when you’re cuddling someone
take out that little photograph
you can laugh and laugh at the blazing sun

I think this is such a sweet sentiment – the whole song. I imagined myself taking a polaroid snapshot of a full moon, and carrying this crumpled token around in my pocket as an amulet.
So, yes. Incredible sentiments in this song. But WHAT was this singing? Especially towards the end where her voice got guttural and growling? Was this a recording of a young Sophie Tucker?

I can honestly say I had to shut my own mouth when I saw that it was a nine year old girl! I love watching Baby Rose Marie sing – it always cracks me up, especially in this video of her singing “Sentimental Gentleman from Georgia.” I love her hamming it up, wrapping her hands around that beefy man’s neck and doing a little Boswell Sisters scat at the end.

A very short video of her, quite young.

My Bluebird’s Singing the Blues, 1933

Rose Marie discusses being a child star.


She went on to be in many TV shows (including the Dick Van Dyke Show) and is still alive – she’s 89 this year. “Take a Picture of the Moon”is still stuck in my head.

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