Passover and Easter are being celebrated this weekend, with all of their traditions for family and friends. For Easter, that includes music both sacred and popular. On the pop side, the two most popular songs would probably be “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”, and that ode to holiday finery written by Irving Berlin, “Easter Parade”. When you consider that Mr. Berlin also wrote “White Christmas,” it’s safe to say he had a lock on the big holiday tunes. It didn’t hurt that Bing Crosby sang both, either.

“Easter Parade” as we know it debuted in 1933, and has been featured in a few shows and movies, but I think most people know it from the movie of the same name. And that means an obscure word in the song gets its annual usage and airing. That word is “rotogravure”, as in “And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure”. Rotogravure really has two meanings, but they go together. Here it refers to a special high-quality or color section of a newspaper or magazine, but it’s also a type of printing process that uses cylinders. My question is, did Irving Berlin have that word in mind and wrote to fit it, or was it a perfect rhyme for words he already had?

In our increasingly digital world, those special sections of newspapers aren’t really the must-sees they once were. So we may have to do a re-write, particularly if you’re going to the Easter Parade in Point Pleasant Beach…

“The photographer will snap us, and maybe see Mom on”

I know, don’t quit the day job.

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