“THE DOROTHY & LEWIS CULLMAN SONG”

Written and performed by Christopher Mason

at Chess-in-the-Schools’ Gala

Monday, March 27, 2006


(to the tune of “Meet Me in St. Louis”)

Dorothy and Lewis Cullman –

One astounding pair;

Both are smart, with looks and charm,

Who said that life was fair?

More than 40 years together

Through some wild and windswept weather,

Dorothy and Lewis, who is

Not in a ski suit tonight!


Dorothy proposed divorce

When he showed up in green,

In the tightest ski suit

That the world has ever seen!

Now it’s not that he ain’t slender,

That’s not what might offend her,

Twas the only guy not in black tie

But peacocks love to preen!


(to the tune of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”)

Lewis, the youngest of four boys,

Made the loudest noise;

Astonished his papa,

Said thanks, but no cigar,

Tobacco’s not for me;

He feared to see his hope

Going up in smoke!

Made his father groan,

Went out on his own,

And very wise was he.


(to the tune of “Let it Snow”)

His earliest endeavor,

Predicting stormy weather,

Was one eccentric plan

But he loved being the weatherman!

When World War II ignited,

Lewis was excited,

’cause the Navy had to know:

Will it pour? Will it shine? Will it blow?


(to the tune of “Singing in the Rain”)

’Cause Lewis had a blast,

A talent to forecast

That has helped him on Wall Street

Each tilt of the mast,

He knew millions get the jitters

When killing little critters,

So he started stalkin’ Orkin

Mighty fast!


(to the tune of “Calendar Girl”)

Lewis – he launched the first L.B.O.,

Invested a thousand – then watched the millions flow;

Wow! Wow! From poisoning bugs

To being a huge philanthropist who’s covered with hugs!

How did he do it? What got him through it?

You just have to look – it’s there in his book.


Calendars – he thought he’d invest,

Built it up, but who would have guessed,

From oy to joy in the blink of an eye!

Mr. Lewis Cullman was the calendar guy,

He took a chance, Day-at-a-Glance,

Sold it for gold!


With surplus cash, he heard his mother say:

Son, it’s more fun to give it away,

As he’ll attest – mother knew best!

He’s been writing checks ever since,

Won’t give it a rest!

The total is mounting,

Two hundred and counting!

That’s millions of course – he has no remorse!


The Met, and MoMA, Public Library, too,

Thanks to the Cullmans got a buck or two;

Their names on walls have burnished their fame,

After the Cullman Hall of the Universe,

What’s left to name?

It’s ingenious giving,

The joy of living,

I’m tellin’ ya, dude:

That’s what they exude.


(to the tune of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”)

When Lewis wants a thing, he’s fierce – watch out!

He’s not as shy as he appears! – watch out!

When MoMA shuttered and its garden was closed,

Lewis proposed –

Folks were opposed –

To move the sculpture way uptown – uptown!

To a garden of renown, uptown!

Yes, in the Bronx, so they were on view – way uptown!

With orchids, right next to the zoo!


They said it just could not be done – haha!

But Lewis found the challenge fun – yaya,

And sure enough those big bronze backs by Matisse

Packed their valise,

Came home in one piece;

’cause Lewis loves to strike a deal – Lewis!

That’s part of his immense appeal – what’s true is,

He makes it happen, he’s full of life – that’s Lewis!

Just ask his sweet, long-suffering wife!


(to the tune of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”)

Dorothy’s brains and wit match his,

Dorothy tells it like it is,

The lady’s burning with a love of learning,

She’s even read Les Miz – in French!


Dorothy produced for Channel Thirteen,

Brought Edith Wharton to the T.V. screen,

She helped to birth The House of Mirth

And shaped what now, folks, is Great Performances.


She had the notion, and the dollars

To start the Center for Writers and Scholars;

Scholars, writers, those lucky blighters,

They’re paid to sit and think; she’s helped them think in sync.


(to the tune of “I’m Getting Married in the Morning”)

You must admit that it’s ironic:

The King of Calendar’s dear wife

Has timing exotic,

A schedule chaotic,

She’s late for every date, thus strife.


You’d think he’d give her

An At-a-Glance,

But would she use it?

Oh brother, not a chance!


She’s always losing her address book,

Another thing that makes him crazed;

Dinner’s called for eight

But he’ll have to wait

Dorothy’s reliable, she’s always late!


The good news is, when she emerges

She looks divine and chic as hell,

It takes forever to get her look together

But boy, the lady sure looks swell!


Her jewelry’s real,

It sure ain’t paste,

She sure knows how to wow

With verve and taste.


The only problem is she plays with

Rubies and diamonds like a child;

Carefully she’ll choose it, then somehow lose it,

Which drives her loving husband wild!


(to the tune of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”)

Somewhere Dorothy’s lost an emerald pin

And the earrings that match it, also the drop-dead ring;

Days, months, decades may pass

Till they appear,

She so cleverly hid them,

Lewis will scream, I fear.


Why is Dorothy scattered?

She’s so smart!

Wit as sharp as a razor,

Matched by a generous heart.


(to the tune of “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”)

If Lewis is loquacious when they’re out to sup,

Dorothy tells him, “Lewis, clam up.”

It’s a marriage of equals, there are no sequels,

It gives them endless glee to spar and disagree.


He loves Darien, she loves Sag Harbor,

He likes a ski slope, she likes an arbor,

She thinks Darien’s a place for Aryans!

These sentiments are strong, somehow they get along!


Lewis loves her, but seldom sees her,

He’s always skiing, or so friends tease her;

Aspen is his heaven, He’s only 87,

This energetic pup might stop when he grows up!


With Lewis’s philanthropy, says Dorothy, jaded,

They’re gonna wind up in The Hebrew Home for the Aged!

He’s not stopping, She keeps shopping;

Until her closets burst, she might outspend him first!


(To the tune of “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”)

Proud Lewis may confess:

He’s not great at chess!

His skill was once displayed

By a kid in the first grade,

Who beat him in six moves!


Still, it’s proven, chess improves

Those who plot their moves;

Though Lewis barely knew her,

He began to woo her

She sidestepped her pursuer.


Seems, alas, for every date

Dorothy was late!

She was tempting fate

But Louis chose to wait;

Smart move, cool groove, Check Mate!