THEY'RE EITHER TOO YOUNG
OR TOO OLD

(Lyrics: Frank Loesser, Music: Arthur Schwartz) (1943)

Bette Davis

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After Old Acquaintance was in the can, producer-columnist Mark Hellinger brought an idea to J.L. about doing a musical film similar to The Broadway Melody, which had been such a hit at MGM....

James Panama, Melvin Frank, and James V. Kern were asked to turn out an original screenplay, which was finally entitled Thank Your Lucky Stars. David Butler was signed to direct....

Davis was approached to do a song called "They're Either Too Young or Too Old," which described the plight of a woman whose beau is in the army. She had never done a musical number and was petrified to try it. Frank Loesser wrote the lyrics, and Arthur Schwartz the music. ...

"This song, "They're Either Too Young or Too Old, " was Frank Loesser's first big hit. It was the top song on the "Lucky Strike Hit Parade, " a very famous radio show of the time, for almost a year. I have sung it many times professionally since. It was fun to be identified with a song hit -- a new experience for me..."
The Davis number was the highlight at a somewhat ordinary picture.... Davis enters a club in search of companionship to find the place crowded either with balding oldsters or young men too young to be drafted. She dances first with a grandfatherly type, then with a pimply adolescent....

Whitney Stine with Bette Davis, Betty Davis: Mother Goddam, New York, 1982, pp. 152-154.


Lyrics as reprinted ibid.
1943 M. Witmark & Sons


They're either too young, or too old,
They're either too gray or too grassy green,
The pickings are poor and the crop is lean.
What's good is in the army,
What's left will never harm me.

They're either too old or too young,
So, darling, you'll never get stung.
Tomorrow I'll go hiking with that Eagle Scout unless,
I get a call from grandpa for a snappy game of chess.

I'll never, never fail ya,
While you are in Australia,
Or off among the Rooshians,
And flying over Egypt.
Your heart will never be gypped,
And when you get to India,
I'll still be what I've been to ya.
I've looked the field over
And lo and behold!
They're either too young or too old!

They're either too bald or too bold,
I'm down to the wheelchair and bassinet,
My heart just refuses to get upset.
I simply can't compel it to,
With no Marine to tell it to.

I'm either their first breath of spring,
Or else, I'm their last little fling.
I either get a fossil or an adolescent pup,
I either have to hold him off,
Or have to hold him up.
The battle is on, but the fortress will hold,
They're either too young or too old.


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