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Mister Gallagher and Mister Shean—"Absolutely, Mr. Shean!"

Title: Mister Gallagher and Mister Shean—"Absolutely, Mr. Shean!"

Artist: Ed Gallagher and Al Shean

Catalogue Number: Victor 18941-B

Date: 1922


Despite many years of success together on the vaudeville stage, the team of Gallagher and Shean were a one-hit wonder of recording. Their double-sided eponomously-titled hit smash of 1922 was such a phenomenon that it was covered by a wide number of artists, including the future Happiness Boys, Billy Jones and Ernie Hare. The "A" side is the more commonly heard—it appears on our 1922: "An Angel's Voice I Hear—and none of its lyrics are those that are performed by Jones and Hare or that are printed in the sheet music. Here in our Recording of the Month is the "B" side, which has two of the verses (about "lawn tennis" and the "rowboat") from the sheet music that Jones and Hare faithfully rendered.

The hit of "Mister Gallagher and Mister Shean" in Ziegfeld's Follies of 1922 would prove a mixed blessing for the duo. They had abandoned a contract with the Shuberts for $750 a week when they discovered they were expected to tour, and then signed for $1500 a week with Ziegfeld. Upon their wild success, the Shuberts sued for breach of contract and left Gallagher and Shean in the peculiar position of having to argue before a court that they were not especially talented and that the Shuberts had not lost anything by not having them on their roster of artists. The case was decided against Gallagher and Shean, and the Shuberts promptly took the team on the road.

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