“Baby It’s Cold Outside”: Old versus Purified versions

Here’s the original version of the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. The first half shows Betty Grable and Ricardo “Corinthian Leather” Montalban; the second Red Skelton and Red Skelton and Betty Garrett. The song was written by Frank Loesser in 1944, was sung by him and his wife at parties, and first appeared in this movie: “Neptune’s Daughter” (1949):

As you probably know, this song has been strongly criticized for showing sexual malfeasance, though people apparently haven’t seen the role reversal that starts at 2:27. Well, women can be domineering too, but I can see why this song would raise a lot of hackles were it recorded today. (Lady Gaga is apparently complicit.) Given the symmetry of roles, and the fact that it’s older than I am, I can’t get very worked up about it, though.

The consent-friendly version below, however, is the response of 2018. Rather than just pointing out the difficulty of negotiating an acceptable sexual relationship in these fraught times, people go back and rewrite the past.  This rewrite makes me absolutely cringe, not because of the need for “affirmative consent”, with which I agree, but because it’s so heavy-handed with the virtue—and not humorous to boot. Yes, we get it! We don’t need to be beat over the head with a ball peen Virtue Hammer. (Note: the site says a portion of the proceeds will be donated to good causes; I think they should donate all the proceeds.)

My conclusion: These days, people under the age of 30 should not be allowed to have sex.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    How ‘bout no lyrics at all?

    Wes Montgomery
    Jimmy Smith:

    …. apparently that would be too much work.

  2. glen1davidson
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    At least there is reason to hope that SJWism will commit suicide by boredom.

    Not without collateral damage, of course.

    Glen Davidson

    • Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Or, like the Shakers, will disappear due to failure to reproduce.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Massachusetts Bay governor John Endecott done his part to end the Shakers, too, by lynching a few of them, like Mary Dyer.

  3. Nicholas K.
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Give me Dean Martin’s version any day!

  4. Barry Lyons
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t get through the Purified version. Yecch!

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      I couldn’t get through it either!

      I admit I was pretty disgusted with the actions of the man in the first version and the woman in the second but FFS! The third version is the worst of the lot!

      What’s all that crap about being a “nice girl” and worrying what the neighbours will think? Fu€k the neighbours! What right do they have to make assumptions about what’s going on and pass judgment?! And the woman looks like an adult to me, so while her parents may worry they don’t have a right to decide whether she chooses to have sex, and who with.

      As Jerry says, positive consent is important. However, this is just embarrassing and ridiculous.

  5. Teresa Carson
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    My mother used to sing that song to my dad — and we lived in San Diego! I never saw the clip from the movie until you posted it. I think that the role reversal puts it in a slightly different light. Possibly because of my childhood memories, I can’t get too worked up about it either.

  6. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    A ball peen virtue hammer? Wherejagetthat? My SJW armoury only stocks Whataboutery Morningstars.

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    This just leads to my argument on history and the time in which you live. Don’t attempt to rewrite the history or the songs. Make up new songs that work for the time you are in but why mess up what others did 50 or 100 years ago. A good part of understanding history is understanding the culture and environment you are in.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      That’s true. Although I found them inappropriate, I don’t think they should be banned or censored, or whatever today’s SJWs are proposing. They’re an interesting insight into the time.

      I don’t find old movies any less enjoyable because I personally find the racism, sexism, homophobia etc abhorrent. They add to the interest for me.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink


      • Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        I used to attend a series on Film Noir from the 30s into the 60s. It was a well curated series; all the films were dark, with no good guys and everybody on the take, including the cops. There was always a femme-fatale, a crooked authoritarian, a deeply evil character and one more conflicted (but still bad). Perfect Noir. Of course the characters reflected the times they were in.

        I loved it but some shows were seriously harmed by the reaction of the Seattle crowd to the dialogue and screenplay. There was vocal outrage when women were treated, well, like women in B movie noir films from the mid-century. There was vocal derision at the quaintly paternalistic dialogue. There were outbursts when the men and women acted like mid-20th century Americans.

        They did it, of course, to signal their virtue to their fellow movie goers. I felt like jumping up in my seat and screaming; “FFS you stupid cows, it’s a movie from 1938 how the hell did you expect them to speak? Now STFU and let rest of us enjoy the movie!”

        But I kept my peace.

        • Ken Phelps
          Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          “But I kept my peace.”


        • Heather Hastie
          Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

          It’s a bit pathetic really when people are so insecure in what people think of them that they have to jump up or yell out in the middle of a movie to do their virtue signalling. You gotta wonder why they even bothered to go. They can’t have been enjoying the movies.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        And I don’t find the newer, computerized high action SiFi no dialogue movies of today any less desirable either. But movies are not really the best example of viewing history anyway. Today we have maybe 16,000 or more books on Lincoln alone and there are many who say he was a racist bigot. Those are people who cannot study the past without bringing their prejudices along for the trip or have studied it so lightly they pick out pieces of what he said without understanding who he was talking to or even that he was a politician and smart enough to know what he could and could not say at the time.

      • Posted February 1, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        And people have a bad habit of not seeing that “realism” is important too. Think about all the curfuffle about _To Kill A Mockingbird_ or Twain’s stuff.

        And sometimes the people on the *other sides* of debates can use the excuse for nefarious ends. Somehow I thought of the line attributed to Muhammed Ali – that he had no quarrel with the Vietcong because none of *them* had ever called him “nigger”. I can see someone using “but n-word!” to hide that very important – and politically embarrassing to the powerful – statement.

  8. Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    My favourite version is the one by Betty Carter and Ray Charles. Here’s the album:

    • darrelle
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      That is indeed a good one.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      “Genius Loves … Sexual Harassment”? 🙂

      • Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        He did. The saying went: “To become a Raelette you have to let Ray.” He was proud of it.

  9. DrBrydon
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    The only inappropriate version is the one done by Bing and Gary Crosby (what were they thinking?). I actually just looked up the history of the song around Christmas, and discovered the Williams/Montalban/Skelton/Garrett version, which is amusing (Montalban does a good job). Interestingly, in the movie the song replaced “(I’d Like to Get You on a) Slow Boat to China”, which the Hayes office thought to risqué.

  10. Taz
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t listen to the “purified” version, but I’m glad I clicked on it because the “Up Next” list on YouTube had this:

    Joni Mitchell from 1965

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Give Mr. Montalban his due, boss; that was Rich Corinthian Leather.

  12. Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    What did I just see? Fiction authors cannot make this stuff up any better than reality.

    And if people under 30 do have sex I am not sure they will survive the guilt.

  13. Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    : These days, people under the age of 30 should not be allowed to have sex.

    Two 23-year-olds should not dare the hubris of lecturing anyone about sexual innuendo, flirting, or adult mating rituals.

    There was a John Updike essay where he reminisced how, as a tyro office employee, he helped two slightly older co-workers fetch some stored files. As the woman ascended the ladder, the man quipped, “have you gotten your christmas goose yet?”/i> and she laughingly replied, “no, but I have a feeling I’m about to.” Updike didn’t get the joke at the time, but he sensed the vibe and it was eye-opening for him.

    Young puritan naifs like these two want to suck all the fun out of everything.

  14. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    The Pirate Chantey by Key and Peele is a funnier kind of politically correct song in a similar vein. NverySFW, though.

  15. Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I liked the purified version just fine. It was cute, it got the point across, though I bet a seniors are not the target market.

    A remake is a remake and they will continue whether (weather?) or not I approval. I just don’t have the wherewithal to be offended by everything.

  16. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    They sure dressed better in ye olden days. Some snazzy sports jacket Tattoo’s buddy Mr. Roarke’s got on in that first vid.

  17. mfdempsey1946
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    The Loesser song seems to me to be wonderfully deft, witty, and light on its feet — a saucy spoof of standard seduction tactics that were prevalent during its time and place (and doubtless others as well) that isn’t in any way, shape, or form advocating non-consensual sex.

    The piously “purified” rewrite, however correct its sentiments, falls woefully short in all other departments, at least as far as I’m concerned (but, then again, I slouched into geezerdom some time ago).

  18. J. Quinton
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Baby It’s Cold Outside discourse is the same as Macbeth discourse. One of the big debates in Macbeth involves the scene in which Lady Macbeth talks Macbeth into killing King Duncan. People debate strenuously over whether it’s a scene of Lady M pressuring her reluctant husband into it, or whether it’s a scene of her sensing, due to their emotional intimacy, that this murder is something her husband secretly wants and has partially internally decided to do, and is arguing him into it in order to help him give himself permission to do it, in the same way that people see their loved ones wavering over the dessert menu and jump in with things like, “Go on, get the cheesecake, it’s your birthday!”

    Readers and scholars disagree strenuously about this – we even studied an incident in college in which two 18 century illustrators attended the same performance and happened to draw the scene the day after, producing two images that advanced opposite interpretations even though they’d seen the exact same actors do the exact same performance. It’s a big deal.

    In the same way, Baby It’s Cold Outside discourse is about whether this is a song about sexual harassment, or whether it’s a woman singing about how she wishes she could spend the night with the guy she just had an excellent date with if only the neighbors wouldn’t talk, and him responding, “Stay, baby, it’s cold out! No one could expect you to go home in this!”

    This is not me, so I put the text above in block quotes because a friend sent me an image with this text on it. But I think it’s pretty spot on. Whatever your interpretation is depends on your biases and prejudices about who is innocent and who is the aggressor. And probably a good deal about sex roles, too.

  19. Ken Phelps
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I just puked a bit in my mouth. Is it wrong to hope someone gets scabies *and* anal fissures?

  20. koseighty
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I think Counter Arguments on youtube had a great analysis on the new v. old songs.

    Basically, in musicals songs represent thoughts and feelings of the characters, not actual dialog. So the original is the inner dialog of the couple. The sexual tension of both characters wanting to stay despite social norms.

  21. Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    How about, “Birds Do It”? If our society weren’t so retrograde about sex, there are many song lyrics, poems, novels, etc. that would never have been written nor would have been so creative.

    I was once told that history tends to be revised by historians every 25 years or so. We sometimes lose much in that reinterpretation. How many of us whose parents were young in the period before WWII thought of them as sexual beings (or drinkers, dancers, flappers)? Parents had a tendency to keep those experiences from us, their children, from whom they expected “better” behavior.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      I was listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing that song — Cole Porter’s “Let’s Fall In Love” — just this afternoon. Nobody swings the Great American Songbook like Ella.

    • Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      For a rhythmic effect, Cole Porter actually wrote and Rudy Vallee sang: “Chinks do it, Japs do it, Lithuanians and Lapps do it”…

      Irving Berlin’s original words to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” would now be considered unpublishable racism. In fact, that was already true in Fred Astaire’s time, so not many have heard them.

    • Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:09 am | Permalink

      I rather enjoy Noël Coward’s version. Though it is now very dated, it’s still fun.

  22. Jake Sevins
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I just love the Glee version. This shows you don’t have to act the song out in a heavy-handed way and it’s still fun to listen to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgdLdl60EMA

    • Posted January 30, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      I liked that, too. But there are people on the right who would go apoplectic if they heard it.

  23. rickflick
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really see the problem with the song. The guy is trying to persuade the girl to stay and enjoy…whatever. He never shows any tendency of anything but gentle coercion. Now, if his tone got aggressive, I’d say he was out of bounds. But in the song, she seems to be enjoying the cajoling. I think most of the problem is in the mind of the listener who sees this as an enactment of a slightly different problem.

  24. Larry Smith
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    In the purified version, are the snowflakes in the background meant to be an inside joke?

  25. Rebecca
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Actually, I thought the revised song was funny. The original version is not high on my priority list of things to change. Training women that to be considered “good” they must say “no” needs to be changed along with the double standard for sexual conduct.

  26. Nobody Special
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    The Cerys Matthews / Tom Jones version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a double-edged sword for me. On the plus side, Cerys’ voice and, well, Cerys. The negative is Tom Jones; the video resembles a grandfather trying to seduce a much younger woman (shudder), and Jones’ voice, which to my ears never sounds as good as it ought to.

    Gary Phuckett and The Union Gap’s Young Girl; now there’s a problematic song with overtones of under-age sex (“my love for you is way out of line”……”you led me to believe you’re old enough to give me love”……..”get out of here before I have the time to change my mind”, and so on).
    Then there was Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas’ Little Children, which sounds a damn sight more perverse than it really is:
    “Little children
    You better not tell on me
    I’m tellin’ you
    Little children
    You better not tell what you see
    And if you’re good
    I’ll give you candy and a quarter
    If you’re quiet like you oughta be
    And keep a secret with me”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      “Gary Phuckett and The Union Gap” — That’s Gary Puckett and the Union Gap (unless your talking about some Thai tribute band). 🙂

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