Al Dubin

QUESTION:  Al Dubin was born in Zurich in 1891 to parents who came from what country?
A)  The United States of America
B)  Russia
C)  Switzerland
D)  France

One of the greatest challenges we at the American Treasure Tour blog has is focusing on one subject.  Here is what we mean.  Displayed throughout the Tour is all forms of music - records, paper rolls for automatic music machines, and of course sheet music. So, the subject for today was GOING TO be the song "Where Was I" from the movie 'Til We Meet Again.  Then it was going to be the movie 'Til We Meet Again.  But that all changed when we learned a little bit about Al Durbin, the lyricist behind the song from the movie.  Every thing and every one has a story.  We found the story of Mr. Dubin to be worth sharing.

He was two years old when his family brought him to Philadelphia in 1893.  He was not a great student, though. He often skipped classes to go to New York to see Broadway musicals. When he got in trouble he transferred to the Perkiomen Seminary, which was unusual at the time as a Jewish boy from the city. He excelled at sports, girls and alcohol, and managed to get in trouble some more.  By 1911, he was out of school forever and working in the music business, writing songs.  It didn't go well, so he became a singing waiter, then joined the army to fight in World War I.  Tides changed after peace, and his songs finally found an audience, most notably "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," "We're in the Money," "Forty-Second Street," and "Lullaby of Broadway," the latter winning an Academy Award in 1935.

Dubin became hugely successful in his career; however, he proved unable to tame his more base instincts.  He was only 53 when he died due to complications from prescription barbiturate abuse.  A sad end for a man whose musical legacy continues to be appreciated today.

ANSWER:  B)  Russia.  The family soon moved on to Philadelphia two years later, where Dubin's father became a medical doctor and his wife a science teacher.