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Kodaki San, and The Girl From Kodak Town

June 14th, 2015

The Girl From Kodak Town [IMAGE: AbeBooks.com]
By Mike Governale

During the early 20th century consumer photography—and Kodak in particular—was itself an emerging market, much like wearable technology today. People were super excited about these new photographic gadgets. But Eastman Kodak Company didn’t sit back and wait for customers to come to them – they advertised, and they were creative about it.

In fact, film and cameras weren’t the only things coming out of Kodak Park. In 1917, Kodak employees produced and performed an operetta (or a short musical) entitled Kodaki San. One of the featured songs was this piano tune and ode to Rochester…


The Girl From Kodak Town

Down where the Genesee River is flowing a blue way to the sea,
Lies a fair city, so quaint and so pretty,
It’s home sweet home to me.
It’s nature’s own bow’r and I long for the hours
‘neath its cool gray shadows flown,
It was known as the beautiful city of Flow’rs,
Now we call it Kodak Town!
She’s the girl from Kodak Town, Kodak Town, Kodak Town
Meet her in her sunlit way,
And you’ll stay for a picture gay.
When she sees you smile so quick, then you’ll hear her Kodak click;
She’s Kodaked so many, won’t someone snap her?
She’s the fascinating, picture taking, girl from Kodak Town.
Then just suppose that you stand ‘neath that arbor now look right at me, please.
And in a jiffy, a picture quite nifty will bring you to your knees.
In case of a show’r, you might spoon for an hour,
And then plan to settle down,
In that wonderful, beautiful garden of flowers,
That we call our Kodak Town.
She’s the girl from Kodak Town, Kodak Town, Kodak Town
Meet her on her sunlit way
And you’ll stay for a picture gay.
When she sees your smile so quick, then you’ll hear her Kodak click
She’s Kodaked so many, won’t someone snap her?
She’s the fascinating picture taking girl from Kodak Town.
• • •

In Kodaki San by Arthur A. Penn, Miss Nan Cleary is the girl from Kodak town and she performs the song. The following Democrat and Chronicle story from January 21, 1917 announces the show’s arrival at Lyceum Theater in downtown Rochester…

“KODAKI SAN” TO-MORROW

Kodak Park Employees to Appear on Lyceum Theater Stage.
At the Lyceum Theater to-morrow and Tuesday evenings the Kodak Park Athletic Association will present its first musical comedy, “Kodaki San.”

The Girl From Kodak Town [IMAGE: AbeBooks.com]

The story of the operetta tells of a visit made by Father Rochester and his daughters to the Japanese town of Kibosho where he is greeted by the Mayor and his court. Here the Rochester party meet Kodaki San, in which role Miss Hazel Hermance is cast.

The Girl From Kodak Town [IMAGE: FultonHistory.com]

While the light plot is woven about the meeting of Kodaki San and Miss Nan Cleary, as “The Girl from Kodak Town,” another plot is woven in in the courtship between Fung Waga. Miss Ella Hoffmeler, and K. Parkinton Booster, the Mayor of Kodak Town, John Norton.
Not all seats have been reserved for Kodak Park employees. The management has set aside a large number of good seats for public sale and they may be obtained at the Lyceum Theater box office.
Several singing and dancing choruses will he seen. One chorus will have 123 voices. A symphony orchestra of twenty-five pieces, under the direction of Raymond C. Fagan, will support the choruses. The Kodak March, arranged by Mr. Fagan, will be played as an overture.
• • •

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This entry was posted on Sunday, June 14th, 2015 at 9:00 pm and is filed under Art + Culture, Rochester History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

8 Responses to “Kodaki San, and The Girl From Kodak Town”

  1. Powers says:

    Whence the fine recording of this song?

  2. Powers says:

    The quality is astounding.

  3. Carl says:

    Most people nowadays have forgotten how ubiquitous Kodak was at one time. Cameras were generically referred to as “Kodaks”. To “Go kodaking” was to just stroll around town taking photos. Thanks for a fascinating post.

  4. Jason Haremza says:

    Love, love, love! Rochester needs to re-discover its musical sense of place. ‘The Girl from Kodak Town’ needs to be as well known as ‘Buffalo Gals Won’t You Come Out Tonight.’

  5. Jason Haremza says:

    I’m sorry I missed this event in 2012: http://therochesterian.com/2012/06/02/rochester-sings/

    Would love to see a local performance group resurrect the Rochester Songbook again.

  6. Kip W says:

    Is the sheet music available anywhere? I mean a facsimile or something, probably, even though I’d love to have an original, of course.

  7. Alyssa B. says:

    Hey there!
    I’d love to hear the recording mentioned in the comments, but I can’t find it on this page. Where could I find it?
    Thanks!


Post a Comment...



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