Mad Dogs & Englishmen: A Brief History
Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the
The Japanese don't care to, the Chinese
wouldn't dare to
Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from
twelve to one
But Englishmen detest-a siesta.
So wrote Noel Coward in 1930. He
was only 31 at the time and had already
appeared in over a dozen plays in London
as well as writing 5 plays and a
semi-Viennese operetta entitled "Bitter
Sweet." Of the five plays "Private
Lives" would be regarded as one of the
greatest comedies in the English
language rivaling anything by any of his
contemporaries, even Oscar Wilde.
Coward was the the first true theatrical
renaissance man -- actor, writer,
director, lyricist, composer, producer
and painter. His reign over
London's West End and New York's
Broadway lasted through the war and into
the fifties by which time a new wave of
gritty realistic playwrights had seized
control from Coward. Not to be
phased out, Coward changed his life
entirely, living in Jamaica, painting
surprisingly well, and becoming a huge
cabaret star in Las Vegas rivaling the
Rat Pack and preceding Elvis Presley,
Wayne Newton, and the new generation of
acrobats and magicians.
Of the nearly 500 songs he wrote during
his life, "Mad Dogs and Englishmen"
remains his most famous comic number --
on concert tours during World War II
both Churchill and Roosevelt would
specifically request Coward to sing it.
It's such a surprise for the Eastern
eyes to see,
That through the English are effete,
they're quite impervious to heat
Noel died in Jamaica (of his own accord)
in March 1973 leaving behind a legacy of
plays, stories, musicals, songs,
friends, and 27 godchildren, the
youngest of whom, Hugo Morley, can be
found most nights pouring drinks in the
restaurant that bears the name of his
godfather's famous song.
At twelve noon the natives swoon and no
further work is done,
But mad dogs and Englishmen go out in
the midday sun.
This historical sketch was written by
Mad Dogs bartender Hugo Morley, godson
of Noel Coward and son of Sheridan
Morley who, among other things, edited "
The Noel Coward Diaries."
Coincidentally, Hugo is the nephew of
Mad Dogs co-owner Wilton Morley and the
grandson of the late British actor
Robert Morley. The co-owner of Mad
Dogs is Rick Craig who isn't related to