Good Night Mrs Callabash and Good Night Sweetheart

by Steed Dropout
Feb. 12, 2013


I’ve been pushing a “goodnight sweetheart promotion” on my magazine-like Facebook, where we have an editorial policy favoring me. Here at BR, I’m the big cheese, a real Citizen Kane.

Now I’m throwing my weight around at my own Facebook. My Facebook, my rules.

Ted Friedman Berkeley Facebook.

My promotion derives from Jimmy Durante’s “Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.” In the 1940s Durante met a waitress in Calabash, North Carolina and vowed to make the name Mrs. Calabash famous.

Why? The Calabash angle was a moniker — now we say brand — to make your brand original. And here I am borrowing.

I discovered good night sweetheart by serendipity, a weird confluence of events. I have always liked the sophomoric sentiment of this old crooner’s favorite. While searching, I came across some of the most amazing covers of goodnight.

The best was a college student’s, ohhyea09.

I first became smitten with Good Night Sweetheart in 1959, when we first serenaded a brother’s pin-girl (now it’s nailed girl) at Sigma Something or Other at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

We gathered under the balcony of the sorority on the South side of campus. The event was candle lit. Our brother’s beautiful pin-girl (pre-engagement) came to the balcony in a sleeping robe.

She was radiant in the flickering candle light. We sang “Goodnight Sweetheart.”

“A partial list of famous versions of “Goodnight Sweetheart:

Dean Martin (bad); Bing Crosby and Russ Colombo two crooners from thirties — excellent; the; the Flamingos, good; Maguire Sisters — good; Sammy Kay Orch. — excellent; Guy Lombardo, thin but moving. Elvis, o.k.

But the Ruth Etting is a real torcher from the queen of the torch singers. I rank Etting #1, ohhyea09 #2, Ruth Etting, Crosby, Kaye, Lombardo, Colombo share #3. Etting, featured here.

Ohhyea09 just regained top pick. I listen to hers every day, sometimes repeatedly.

She introduces Goodnight by saying these were her grand father’s last words to her before he died; now she sings Goodnight to him.

I have a sixteen year old grand daughter. Ohhyea09 is a college student. Perhaps I am so moved because I imagine my own death and having my grand daughter sing to me.

According to on-line data, 1931 was a big year for Goodnight with most of the above topping the charts. Weirdest version, Fats Domino which suffers from odd phrasings, and strange accents.

The song “may” have been written by Ray Noble, Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connely, and Rudy Valle, whose version is not available on You Tube at this time.

The text of the lyrics varies and has not been established. Etting’s version has much more material and she even jazzes up the last chorus.

“Good night sweet heart, wherever you are.”

ohhyea09 is a a busy college student with no time for Facebook. But she thanked me for my interest.

I am going to make this kid famous.

Durante saw that if you could promote someone else, perhaps someone insignificant, your stature would grow.


I’m auditioning one who is auditioning me, but there was the original. The high school-college sweetheart was a real person, and she’s out there…wherever she is. I’ve tracked her to a phone number.

But maybe she will see my campaign and contact me.

Goodnight, Nancy, wherever you are.

If you read sentimental old feature writers, this is what you get — schmaltz.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.