Original Broadway Cast

Let It Ride!

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John Cecil Holm and George Abbott's 1935 comic play Three Men on a Horse, about a mild-mannered greeting-card writer with an uncanny ability to pick winners at the racetrack, was first adapted into a musical in 1941 when it was renamed Banjo Eyes and became a successful vehicle for Eddie Cantor. Twenty years later with Let It Ride!, an entirely new attempt was made to tell the story as a musical, this time with a number of principals from outside the theater. Songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans had multiple Academy Awards on their shelves but had seen their opportunities in Hollywood diminish as fewer movie musicals were made and score composers muscled in on the title song business; they had tried Broadway unsuccessfully with Oh Captain! in 1958. Comedian George Gobel, in the starring role, lacked stage experience but, with a long history on radio and television (The George Gobel Show, 1954-1960), was a familiar name to audiences. Also given a name above the title in equal size was Sam Levene, stage veteran of Guys and Dolls, a show that Let It Ride! resembled in some ways. (There was also a bit of Gypsy.) The cast album is full of humorous songs consistent with the farcical nature of the plot, as well as one romantic ballad, "Everything Beautiful," clearly intended to become a standard. Gobel is an adequate singer, and the rest of the cast works hard. But this is merely a professional effort, without the spark from the songwriters or the performers needed to make it memorable.