Variety, March 1, 1923


Speaking of “Molly Darling” and
“Cabaret Girl”

Aiken, S. C., Feb. 24.

Editor Variety:

Owing to Guy Bolton (whom I hereby publicly denounce in the hope of bathing him in confusion and remorse) not forwarding on my mail as I begged him to do when I left Palm Beach for Aiken, your issue containing the article about the similarity between “The Cabaret Girl,” of which I am part-author with George Grossmith, and “Molly Darling” is the only number of Variety which I have missed in the last seven years.

I gather, however, that a charge of plagiarism has been started, so perhaps you will allow me to give a few facts concerning the birth of “The Cabaret Girl.”

Somewhere in January 1922, Grossmith asked me to collaborate with him on a piece to follow ‘Sally’ at the London Winter Garden. He had mapped out a rough scenario which, though other ideas were afterwards added, contained the notion of a worthless ballad being jazzed and converted into a song-hit. I read this in January.

March 11 we sailed on the “Aquitania” to New York to see Jerry Kern about the music. The first act was completed before we landed, which was on March 17. Saturday, March 18, Grossmith and I went to a matinee of “The Cat and the Canary” and to the evening performance of “The Rose of Stamboul,” and on the morning of Sunday, March 19, we went to Bronxville and read Kern our first act. Kern composed the melody of our ballad-song-hit before we sailed back to England on April the first.

Grossmith has never seen “Molly Darling” and I did not see it till last September.

P. G. Wodehouse.

(In Variety last week was a cabled statement from George Grossmith to the effect he had never seen “Molly Darling” and that “The Cabaret Girl” had been written a year ago.)