In early 1937 the Gershwin brothers were in Hollywood, at work on their second film for RKO, A Damsel in Distress, starring Fred Astaire and Joan Fontaine. At a late-night songwriting session, Ira mused that no one had written a song about fog and asked,"how about 'a foggy day in London' or maybe 'foggy day in London Town'?" The refrain was born in under an hour, and the whole song was finished two days later. Verse, chorus, and lyrics possess the relaxed, conversational fluency which characterized the Gershwins' work in this final springtime -- a winsome, worldly casualness all the more persuasive for being the less insistent --
A foggy day in London Town
Had me low and had me down...
How long, I wondered, could this last
But the age of miracles hadn't passed
For suddenly I saw you there,
And through foggy London Town
The sun was shining everywhere.
Though set not in daylight London but on the moonlit grounds of a castle, Astaire's wistful rendering was lavished with special effects to make what theater chronicler Stanley Green called "a pictorial gem."