Hollywood Pinafore

Hollywood Pinafore, or The Lad Who Loved a Salary is a musical comedy in two acts by George S. Kaufman, with music by Arthur Sullivan, based on Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore. It opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on May 31, 1945, and closed on July 14, 1945 after 52 performances. It was directed by Kaufman himself and starred Shirley Booth, Victor Moore, George Rasely, and William Gaxton. The adaptation transplants the maritime satire of the original Pinafore to a satire of the glamorous world of 1940s Hollywood film making, but Sullivan's score is retained with minor adaptations.

Hollywood Pinafore
or The Lad Who Loved a Salary
MusicArthur Sullivan
LyricsGeorge S. Kaufman
BookGeorge S. Kaufman
BasisGilbert and Sullivan's
H.M.S. Pinafore
Productions1945 Broadway

According to Howard Teichmann's 1972 biography George S. Kaufman: An Intimate Portrait, Kaufman had the inspiration for Hollywood Pinafore during a poker game with his friend Charles Lederer. While Lederer was arranging his cards, he idly sang a few bars of "When I Was a Lad" from Pinafore while ad-libbing a new lyric: "Oh, he nodded his head / and he never said 'no' / and now he's the head of the studio." Kaufman insisted on paying Lederer a token fee for the idea of transplanting Pinafore's setting to a Hollywood studio.

Although Kaufman's lyrics are witty, the book is static for a musical. However, it has been revived a number of times in recent years, including a 1998 "Lost Musicals" staged concert production at the Barbican Centre in London.[1][2]


Starlet Brenda Blossom, pining for a lowly writer, Ralph, is promised in marriage by her father (a director looking to advance his own career) to the studio head, Joseph Porter. If she marries Ralph, she'll be tossed out of Hollywood and forced to make a living on the stage. Everything turns out for the best when it is discovered that a mix-up in Louhedda Hopsons' gossip column was responsible for Ralph's fall from grace. In reality, it was Ralph who was meant to head the studio instead of Porter.


  • Joseph W. Porter, head of Pinafore Pictures
  • Mike Corcoran, a director
  • Ralph Rackstraw, a writer
  • Dick Live-Eye, an agent
  • Brenda Blossom, a star
  • Louhedda Hopsons, a columnist (a combination of the names of Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper)
  • Bob Beckett, a press agent
  • Miss Liebe, Mr. Porter's secretary
  • Miss Gloria Mundi
  • Miss Beverly Wilshire
  • Little Miss Peggy
  • Doorman
  • Secretaries, Guard, Actors, Actresses, Assistant Directors, Cameramen, Technicians, etc. Singers and Dancers

Musical numbers


  1. Bradley (2005), p. 170
  2. History of Lost Musicals lostmusicals.org, accessed June 1, 2009
  • Bradley, Ian (2005). Oh Joy! Oh Rapture!: The Enduring Phenomenon of Gilbert and Sullivan. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516700-7.
  • Kaufman, George S, Hollywood Pinafore or the Lad Who Loved a Salary, Dramatists Play Service (1998) ISBN 0-8222-1647-7
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