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"Thanks for the Memory"
Single by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross
from the album The Big Broadcast of 1938
A-side"Two Sleepy People"
Published1938 by Paramount Music
GenreTraditional pop
Composer(s)Ralph Rainger
Lyricist(s)Leo Robin
External audio
audio icon You may hear Dorothy Lamour singing "Thanks for the Memory" with orchestra conducted by Cy Feuer here
audio icon You may hear "Thanks for the Memory" performed by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross in 1938 here

"Thanks for the Memory" (1938) is a popular song composed by Ralph Rainger with lyrics by Leo Robin.[1] It was introduced in the 1938 film The Big Broadcast of 1938 by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross, and recorded by Shep Fields and His Orchestra featuring John Serry Sr. on accordion in the film and vocals by Bob Goday on Bluebird Records (B-7318, 1937).[2] Dorothy Lamour's solo recording of the song was also popular, and has led to many mistakenly believing over the years that it was she who sang the tune with Hope in the film (in which Lamour also appeared).

In the film, Ross and Hope's characters are a divorced couple who encounter each other aboard a ship. Near the film's end, they poignantly sing one of the many versions of this song, recalling the ups and downs of their relationship[3] (then they decide to get back together).

In the fifth verse of the song for the film, Robin recalled the couple’s romantic weekend in Niagara. His original lyrics were: "That weekend at Niagara when we never saw the falls." However, this was rejected by the film producers who feared it was too suggestive. Robin was furious and a bitter row ensued with neither side giving way. Finally a compromise was reached that has Bob Hope singing: "That weekend at Niagara when we hardly saw the falls." The lyricist never forgave this censorship: he considered it ridiculously prissy and that it ruined the song. However, the way that Shirley Ross responds with, "How lovely that was!" indicates that "never" was indeed the better choice.[4]

The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song,[1] and became Hope's signature tune, with many different lyrics adapted to any situation. In 2004, it finished No. 63 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

The success of the song resulted in another film starring the same couple. This follow-up film to The Big Broadcast of 1938 is somewhat confusing because it was given the title Thanks for the Memory but the song of that name does not feature. The main song from this latter film was "Two Sleepy People" and this is often bracketed with its forerunner as the best romantic duet of Bob Hope's career. It was written in September 1938 by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics by Frank Loesser, and was once again performed by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross. The film Thanks for the Memory was released in 1938.[5]

Cover versions



  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records. p. 134. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ The American Dance Band Discography 1917–1942 Volume 1, Rust, Brian. Arlington House Publishers, New Rochelle, New York, 1975 P. 516, ISBN 0-87000-248-1 "Thanks for the Memory- vocals Bob Goday" on
  3. ^ Wilk, Max (1974). They're Playing our Song – From Jerome Kern to Stephen Sondheim, the stories behind the words and music of two generations. London and New York: WH Allen. p. 105. ISBN 0-491 01530 5.
  4. ^ Green, Benny (1989). Let's Face the Music – The Golden Age of Popular Song. London: Pavilion Books. p. 143. ISBN 1-85145-4896.
  5. ^ Young, William H.; Young, Nancy K. (2005). Music of the Great Depression. ABC-CLIO. pp. 58–. ISBN 978-0-313-33230-2. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  6. ^ Shep Fields performs "Thnaks For The Memory" on