The songwriting team of composer Hugh Martin and lyricist Ralph Blane earned their greatest renown for Meet Me in St. Louis, the classic 1944 Vincente Minnelli film musical which launched the perennials "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "The Trolley Song." Born Ralph Uriah Hunsecker in Broken Arrow, OK, on July 26, 1914, Blane made his Broadway stage debut in New Faces of 1936, followed a year later by Hooray for What? He then teamed with castmate Martin to form the vocal quartet the Four Martins, additionally arranging vocals for a number of stage productions including One for the Money, Too Many Girls, DuBarry Was a Lady, Cabin in the Sky, and Louisiana Purchase. In 1941, Martin and Blane wrote their own Broadway smash, Best Foot Forward, which yielded the songs "Buckle Down, Winsocki" and "Ev'ry Time"; they soon traveled to Hollywood to adapt the project for MGM. The duo remained in Tinseltown, authoring "The Joint Is Really Jumpin' (In Carnegie Hall)" for 1943's Thousands Cheer before turning to Meet Me in St. Louis, which also included their "The Boy Next Door." Contributions to 1944's Ziegfeld Follies ("Love") and 1947's Good News ("Pass That Peace Pipe") followed, and apart from Martin, Blane also collaborated with composers including Harry Warren, Harold Arlen, and Kay Thompson. Martin and Blane reunited to score the 1954 film Anthea, followed a year later by The Girl Rush; in 1960, the duo also composed several new songs for a stage adaptation of Meet Me in St. Louis, adding yet more new material for a 1989 revival. Blane died on November 13, 1995, at the age of 81.
Share this page