Fashion in Song – Take Back Your Mink (1955)

The burlesque number Take Back Your Mink was written by Frank Loesser, composer and lyricist for Guys and Dolls which premiered on Broadway in 1950. The play’s writer Abe Burrows was selected as the winner of the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Drama but because he was identified by the House Un-American Activities Committee, his award was vetoed and no Pulitzer Prize for Drama was awarded that year. The play was turned into a film in 1955 starring Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, and Vivian Blaine.

These are the lyrics from the original 1950 play: (the lyrics in the 1955 film were altered slightly)

He bought me the fur mink five winters ago
And the gown the following fall
Then the necklace, the bag, the gloves, and the hat
That was late ’48 I recall
Then last night in his apartment
He tried to remove them all
And I said as I ran down the hall

Take back your mink
Take back your pearls
What made you think
That I was one of those girls?
Take back the gown
The gloves and the hat
I may be down
But I’m not flat as all that

I thought that each expensive gift you’d arranged
Was a token of your esteem
But when I think of what you want in exchange
It all seems a horrible dream
Eek

So take back your mink
To from whence it came
And tell them to Hollanderize it
For some other dame

Take back your mink
Take back your pearls
What made you think
That I was one of those girls?
I’m screaming:
Take back the gown
The gloves and the hat
I may be down
But I’m not flat as all that

I thought that each expensive gift you’d arranged
Was a token of your esteem
But when I think of what you want in exchange
It all seems a horrible dream
Eek!

Take back your mink
Those old worn out pelts
And go shorten the sleeves
For somebody else

Well, wouldn’t you?

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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