Play: 24 Happy Days Are Here Again

“Happy Days Are Here Again” was copyrighted in 1929 after it was written and composed by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen. It later appeared in the title film, “Happy Days Are Here Again” and an array of films throughout the 1930s, during the Great Depression, including Blonde Crazy (1931), Chasing Rainbows (1930), What Price Hollywood? (1932) and Thanks a Million (1935). However, the song became most popular from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1932 campaign for United States presidency. He used the song to identify his presidency with the return to happy days in America and the repetition of the song, soon led it to be an unofficial theme song of the Democratic Party, “an enduring musical symbol of the relentless optimism with which the party became identified.” (Watkins 15) The raw mockery of the song, allowed audiences to endure in the lyrics and shout them out, deep inside believing that happy days will magically reappear. It helped society believe “that at the end of the rainbow there was at least a pot of negotiable legal tender… For nearly seven years the prosperity bandwagon [had] rolled down Main Street.” (Watkins 16) The lyrics focus on weather just like “Pennies from Heaven”, but this time they state that “Cloudy gray times / You are now a thing of the past,” (“Happy Days Are Here Again”) claiming that they do not need to be around in life. “Pennies from Heaven” conflicts with this belief, stating that the gray days are needed to appreciate the blue skies. The song continues with “Happy days are here again / The skies above are clear again / So let’s sing a song of cheer again.” (“Happy Days Are Here Again”) The sunny deposition of this song shows well for FDR’s campaign message, conveying that his presidency will take away the gray days in the United States and “From now on… Happy times / Happy nights / Happy days / Are here again.” (“Happy Days Are Here Again”)

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