The Music Man (1962)
Frequently Asked Questions
Slippery salesman Harold Hill (Robert Preston) comes to River City, Iowa with his current con—entice the townsfolk on the idea of starting up a boys marching band, sell them the instruments and uniforms, and then skip town with the money. Along the way, however, he falls in love with town librarian Marian Paroo (Shirley Jones). Marian is onto his scam from the get-go and attempts to expose him ...until Marian falls in love with him, too.
The Music Man is based on the 1957 Broadway musical, also called The Music Man, by American playwright Meredith Willson, Willson (in collaboration with Franklin Lacey) novelized the story in 1962. A TV remake, also called The Music Man (2003), was released in 2003.
The origin of "ye gods" is uncertain. There are several theories: (1) it is derived from "egads", (2) it comes from "ye gods and little fishes", a popular 19th century American expression, (3) it has its origin in Merry Olde England and the Americans later added "...and little fishes", (4) the phrase was originally "you gods" but got shortened to "ye gods", and (5) the phrase was originally "the gods", but because early printers did not have the thorn ("Þ", which had the "th" sound), they substituted "y", resulting in "ye gods". Whatever the origin of the term, it is a mild oath much in the same vein as "Darn!" or "Oh my gosh!" or Tommy's "Great honk!" It's simply a registering of surprise, horror, or excitement in response to something.
The townsfolk drag Harold in handcuffs into the meeting hall where other residents are wanting to tar-and-feather him. Marian jumps up on the platform and points out how Harold has changed River City since his arrival, changed it from a town filled with Iowa stubbornness to a proud town filled with people who would go out of their way to help others. Mayor Shinn (Paul Ford), eager to get on with the tar-and-feathering, orders those who don't want to tar-and-feather Harold to stand up. At first, no one stands up until Marian's mother (Pert Kelton) does. She is followed by Zaneeta Shinn (Susan Luckey), then the barbershop quartet, until everyone in the room is standing, including the mayor's wife Eulalie (Hermione Gingold). The mayor points out Harold's lies about starting up a marching band and yells, "Where's the band?" Suddenly, the doors open, and 20 young boys, including Winthrop (Ron Howard) file into the room, dressed in their uniforms and carrying their instruments. Marian hands Harold a broken cue stick and prompts him to conduct the band, which he does (although the band plays rather badly), and the proud parents start calling out their children's names. In the final scene, the River City Marching Band, which has grown by the hundreds, is shown marching through the streets to the tune of "76 Trombones" as the credits roll.