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Centennial Summer

Centennial Summer(1946)

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The film's title card reads, "Jerome Kern's Centennial Summer." When Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the rights to Albert E. Idell's best seller in 1943, it apparently did not intend to make the property as a musical, as indicated by early 1944 screenplays in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library. By late 1944, however, the project had been turned into a musical. According to documents in the Jerome Kern file of the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also located at UCLA, Kern was contracted in late January 1945 to supply the music for ten songs for $100,000. With Kern's approval, Leo Robin was engaged to write lyrics. Robin's fee was $40,000. According to a modern source, friction developed between Robin and Kern, because the lyricist was taking too much time. Both Oscar Hammerstein II and E. Y. Harburg were subsequently assigned to contribute lyrics to keep the project on schedule. One song written for the film, "Duettino," was not used, but was later published as "Two Hearts Are Better Than One," with lyrics credited to Robin. However, studio documents credit Johnny Mercer with the song's lyrics. Alfred Newman received an Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture for Centennial Summer, and "All Through the Day" won the Academy Award for Best Song. While the film was still shooting, Kern died of a cerebral hemorrhage on November 11, 1945. Avon Long, who performs the "Cinderella Sue" number, had previously appeared in Kern's Broadway production, Very Warm for May.