James Cagney performing the title number in the film Yankee Doodle Dandy.

“In the 20s, you were a face. And that was enough. In the ‘30s, you also had to be a voice. And your voice had to match your face, if you can imagine that. Jimmy Cagney and Eddie Robinson had voices that were as important as the characters they played. You knew what you were getting even before you paid for the ticket.” - Joan Blondell


Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) starring Jimmy Cagney as the American composer and Broadway star George M. Cohan.

These are the final two scenes where Cohan receives the gold Congressional Medal of Honor from the President himself, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Cagney tore up those stairs with no rehearsal; it just occurred to him to tap-dance in happiness before the scene was shot.

Cohan was responsible for You’re a Grand Old Flag, Over There, Yankee Doodle Boy, and Give My Regards to Broadway, of his most popular and enduring songs. His melodies helped to rally the troops and country during World War I. He died in 1942, the same year the movie about him came out.