"Chuckles" Wynn, a horticulturalist of indefinite parts, invents a gas intended to destroy the insects that eat his fruit. The gas proves equally devastating to humans as well, and it is eagerly sought by delegates to the League of Nations at Geneva, who would obtain the formula as soon as possible that they may hurry along the next war. Chuckles manages, after a two-hour pursuit, to elude the delegates and save the world. — Synopsis from The Best Plays of 1937-1938, edited by Burns Mantle, published by Dodd, Mead and Company.
Trivia & History
On the E. Y. Harburg Revisited album produced by Ben Bagley, "Poor Whippoorwill" was said to have been cut from this show, along with Kay Thompson, in Philadelphia. While it's true that songs were cut from the show and Kay Thompson was released, Thompson was replaced by Vivian Vance in Boston, the first tryout city. Edward Jablonski in his Arlen biography, Happy with the Blues, states that "Poor Whippoorwill" was written for and cut from the 1942 film version of Rio Rita. For the 1983 revival of Hooray for What! (Medicine Show Theatre, December 1983), all the music (except the ballet) was used and the cut songs were also used, including "Poor Whippoorwill," despite the likelihood that it was never in the show. Bagley stateed that the information he used came from Harburg while recording the Revisited album. It is entirely possible that the song was written for and cut from Hooray for What! and was later put into and then cut from the Rio Rita remake, but it remains uncertain.
Not all the songs were found for the 1983 revival. A later song, "Napoleon," from Jamaica (1957) was used in place of "Napoleon's Pastry," for which both music and lyrics were lost. Michael Rice provided new music for "Viva for Geneva," used with the original Harburg lyrics. For "The Night of the Embassy Ball," the Arlen music was used for the chorus but Rice provided new music to replace that which was lost for the verse.