From Too Many Chefs -

May 18, 2004
Have Some Madeira, M'Dear

I was sad to learn Tony Randall passed away. The star of TV's Odd Couple lived to the ripe old age of 84.

One of my fondest memories of him was a wine-related song he sang on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Maybe sang is pushing it. He spoke the song to music, essentially. Here's a short sample of the lyrics.

She was young, she was pure, she was new, she was nice,
She was fair, she was sweet seventeen.
He was old, he was vile, and no stranger to vice,
He was base, he was bad, he was mean.
He had slyly inveigled her up to his flat
To view his collection of stamps
And he said as he hastened to put out the cat,
the wine, his cigar and the lamps:
'Have some madeira, M'dear
You really have nothing to fear
I'm not trying to tempt you, that wouldn't be right
You shouldn't drink spirits at this time of night
Have some madeira, M'dear
It's very much nicer than beer
I don't care for sherry, one cannot drink stout
and port is a wine I can well do without
It's simply a case of Chacun son gout
Have some madeira, M'dear!'

Full lyrics (and the outcome of this fiendish seduction) here.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at May 18, 2004 10:26 AM | TrackBack

Thanks so much for posting this. I was watching Biography last night, which, quite predictably, was on Tony Randall. I told my husband how much I had enjoyed Tony Randall doing this poem/song, but couldn't remember where I saw it or very many of the lyrics. As I recall, he virtually made a one-act play out of this with his subtle but right-on body language and expressions. If you were a fan at all, I assume that you saw his "Dr. Lao" which is still one of my favorite movies of all time. :-)

Posted by Barbara on May 20, 2004 at 11:35 AM

Actually I never saw Dr. Lao. Sounds like I'll have to seek it out now.

Posted by Barrett on May 20, 2004 at 12:32 PM

Its actually called The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao. This is totally unlike any of his other stuff -- a fantasy which takes place in the old West. He played multiple characters.

If you are a Netflix member they have it ready to rent.


Posted by Barbara on May 20, 2004 at 11:27 PM

Ah... but you have to hear the original with Michael Flanders on vocals and Donald Swann on keyboards... I think it's from At the Drop of A Hat. It has the perfect lecherous lilt.

Posted by lex on May 21, 2004 at 9:28 AM

Not to mention the cover by the Limeliters, with Lou Gottleib doing the honors.

Posted by Warren G Wonka on August 20, 2006 at 2:11 AM

I was quite young when I heard Tony Randall do the "song" on Johnny Carson, and I loved it immediately. I could never find the words until now. A toast to Tony who so fabulously lecherously said nothing and implied everything!

Posted by Dinah on February 21, 2008 at 5:43 PM

I heard him do it on the Carol Burnett show as well. My parents would say the refrain from time to time as a joke based on that performance.

Posted by Manny on July 13, 2009 at 2:39 AM

I saw Tony Randall at a play in Manhattan some years back (Jack Klugman was also in the play and his voice was very rough...I think it was the last play he performed before he passed away.) Anyway, I knew Randall was a big fan of old tunes so I made a cassette for him from very old rolls that my player piano played. I mailed it to the theater and to my surprise a couple of weeks later received a note from him thanking me and saying how much he enjoyed playing the tape.

Posted by Loree on March 8, 2011 at 7:01 PM