Too Darn Hot

Reviewed by mojo

Ahhh. When Mojo was a young and socially awkward teen (as opposed to an old teen, I guess), she decided the best way to combat this awkwardness was to join her high school's theater club, which meant at least she could behave stupidly and sing obscure songs with other people instead of in the silence of her lonely room, as Cole Porter once wrote.

Imagine my consternation when it eventually dawned on me--somewhere in my thirties--that an intimate knowledge of Broadway showtunes does not automatically make you a hit with the fellers, nor gets you invited to more parties. By then I was already married, miraculously enough (somehow this process did NOT involve showtunes), and it was my Favorite Husband's patient eye-rolling behind my back that first drew my awareness to this Important Life Lesson. But by then, as they say, it was Too Late For All Concerned. (I tell him he should console himself with the Gershwin's "Boy, What Love Has Done to Me", but he just stares at me with a blank look, the poor sap. I should reiterate too, before the lawyers are called, that my Favorite Husband DOES like Ella, for the record. He put her on his iPod. But to quote him, "Just not ALL THE TIME, every single freakin' moment of the day." Or words to that effect.)

I have a particular fondness for Too Darn Hot because my Favorite Mother introduced me to Kiss Me Kate and I was immediately smitten by the shrieking, violent fishwifery of Katheryn Grayson, who played Lilli Vanessi in the movie opposite Howard Keel. And, of course, Ann Miller was in the mix too, managing to turn every song, no matter how sexy, into a tap dance. Including this one, which in the movie was shifted from the second-act opening of the crew catching a cigarette break during intermission to an audition number for Miller, who keeps throwing things at the camera throughout the song (because the movie, trivia buffs, was shot in 3-D).

Of course there are other changes in the film version, as well, such as censoring "the Kinsey report" and turning it into "the latest report". Which meant nothing to me, for those were simpler, more innocent, halcyon times and I had no more idea what the Kinsey report was than I knew what "halcyon" meant. I lived a sheltered childhood. But it was the sort of song that sounded dirty, and my Favorite Mother related that when she was Mojo's age she had a friend with the Broadway cast album and they played THAT version, which was EVEN DIRTIER. Meaning--when I investigated and bought the original cast album myself to revel in such decadent perversion--that the line"prefers his lovey-dovey to court" was originally written "prefers to play his favorite sport".

(Sorry, I should have warned you before typing that. I guess it's too late to tell you to shield your eyes, or the eyes of your children. For that I do apologize. I would like to tell you it will never happen again, but we'd both know I was lying. Mojo is just too chuckle-headed to remember such things as social niceties and polite behavior.)

Anyway, another thing this song is famous for, at least among me and my Favorite Older Sister, is an unnatural curiosity regarding the phrase "pitching woo". We got into endless discussions trying to surmise exactly what "woo" is and how one technically "pitches" it--overhand or underhand?--along with making unfortunately onomatopoeic sound effects of the pitched woo impacting its target. For try as my sainted Favorite Mother might to raise us to be well-bred little ladies, trust me when I say that behind her back Mojo is capable--with the right amount of third-party encouragement to ensure that Mojo cannot be held responsible for her own actions--of occasionally being a Fearsome Guttersnipe.

All of this has nothing to do with the song, which is a great song. Duh. And you don't need to bring up my misbehavior to my Favorite Mother, do you? It'll just be our little secret. Of course if she finds out, I'll just rat out her own behavior listening to smutty Broadway cast albums behind her own mother's back. So there! HAH!

Too Darn Hot (1956)

Click below to hear a sample--or scroll down for associated media: 
Disc Number: 
Cole Porter
Cole Porter

From Wikipedia:


"Too Darn Hot" is a popular song written by Cole Porter for his musical Kiss Me, Kate (1948). In the 1948 original Broadway production, it is sung by Lorenzo Fuller (as Paul) and Eddie Sledge and Fred Davis (as the specialty dancers). In the 1953 MGM Hollywood film version, it is sung by Ann Miller (as Lois Lane, Fred's new girlfriend, who is cast as Bianca). The song does not really contribute to the plot but it allows the audience to see (in the film version) Lois's fun-loving, risk-taking nature and gives the actress who plays her a chance to show off her dancing skills, specifically tap.

It was covered by Erasure for the Red Hot + Blue compilation in 1990.

The song gained new currency in 2004 because of two films that came out that year. The first was the Porter biopic De-Lovely, and the second was the movie Kinsey, which used the tune because Porter mentioned the Kinsey report on American sexual attitudes in the song's bridge.

The line was censored in the 1953 MGM film of Kiss Me, Kate, which changed it to 'According to the latest report'.