Léo Daniderff

Born: 16th February 1878

Died: 24th October 1943

Birthplace: Angers, France

Léo Daniderff (Gaston-Ferdinand Niquet) was a French composer of the pre-World War II era. His 1917 comical song, a foxtrot-shimmy named Je cherche après Titine (lyrics by Louis Mauban and Marcel Bertal), became world-famous due to Charlie Chaplin singing it in gibberish in Modern Times (1936), especially because it was the first time his character ever spoke in the movies. The title means I am looking for Titine, and Titine is the diminutive of some feminine first names like Martine and Clémentine. In the United States this song appeared in 1925 in the Broadway musical Puzzles of 1925, and was recorded by tenor Billy Jones. In Poland, the song was initially sung as a cabaret number by Eugeniusz Bodo with original lyrics by Andrzej Włast (signing as Willy on the music sheet), to a major success. A few years later, in 1939, the song was adapted again, into the Wąsik, ach ten wąsik (Oh, what a moustache!) number and performed by Ludwik Sempoliński. This time the lyrics tried to "decide" who was funnier and who brought more to the world, Chaplin or Hitler. After the outbreak of the Second World War, the Gestapo tried to locate both Sempoliński and the lyricist, who was either Julian Tuwim or Marian Hemar, but failed to find either.

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