“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” has been banned by radio stations. (Millennials may not be familiar with the phrase “radio stations.”) It should have been banned in 1949. But in 1950, it won the Oscar for 1949.
The reason why it was banned this year is silly: the song is supposedly about date rape. It is not. It is about successful male seduction. It is about female surrender. It is therefore about women’s liberation. A woman refuses to abide by conventional ethics of the late 1940’s. . . . and, I might add, the 1950’s. That’s why the complete song was not sung on-screen in 1949. The Hays Code would have banned it.
How it ever became known as a Christmas song is beyond me. On YouTube, it is introduced by a photo of a Bing Crosby Christmas album. But the song was not on that album. It is not even Crosby singing. It is Johnny Mercer, the great songwriter, and Margaret Whiting. The YouTube video has had 4 million hits.
I have not listened to it for over 60 years, but I remembered its basic theme correctly: seduction and surrender. And all so lighthearted!
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I really can’t stay (Baby it’s cold outside)
I gotta go away (Baby it’s cold outside)
This evening has been (Been hoping that you’d dropped in)
So very nice (I’ll hold your hands they’re just like ice)
My mother will start to worry (Beautiful what’s your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor (Listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I’d better scurry (Beautiful please don’t hurry)
Well maybe just a half a drink more (I’ll put some records on while I pour)
The neighbors might think (Baby it’s bad out there)
Say what’s in this drink? (No cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how…