Harrison Ford To Blame For George Lucas Being Denied Song Rights
Harrison Ford's singing was so bad, that George Lucas was denied the rights to use "Some Enchanted Evening" in American Graffiti.
As a singer, Harrison Ford is a great… actor. According to a biography about the superstar, written by Brad Duke, the actor tried to insert a singing performance of the South Pacific classic “Some Enchanted Evening” into his role in American Graffiti. Reportedly, it was so bad that the original songwriter, Richard Rodgers, wouldn’t allow it to be used.
Harrison Ford is a household name. Most people know him from one of his many franchise films, including the first Star Wars trilogy and the Indiana Jones series. He has been in many popular films, from Blade Runner and The Fugitive to a stint as Jack Ryan in adaptations of Tom Clancy’s novels.
He is famous for playing charming smart alecs, like Indiana Jones and Han Solo. Off-screen, Harrison Ford is also a bit of a comedian, having ad-libbed one of the most famous scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark because of his exasperation with an upset stomach. His spontaneous joking on set often finds itself reflected in his movies and his characters.
His being a bit of a joker on set and in his movies started early. When he played Bob Falfa in Lucasfilm’s first movie, American Graffiti, he was supposed to be courting another character, Laurie Henderson, and Harrison Ford wanted to do so by crooning the song. This would have been a very typical move for an American teenager in 1962, which is when the movie takes place.
Also starring such notables as Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, and Cindy Williams, American Graffiti is about the last night a group of teenagers spends together after their high school graduation. As they cruise up and down the main drag of their town in vintage vehicles, they encounter the various scrapes and misadventures that teens get into in their social lives. Harrison Ford’s character, Bob, is a supporting character who drives a pickup truck and wears a cowboy hat.
Had Harrison Ford gotten his way, Bob would have tried to woo Cindy by singing to her, but Richard Rodgers thought his singing was so bad that it insulted the memory of his late partner, Oscar Hammerstein. Brad Duke also indicates in his biography that Harrison Ford’s famous ad-libbing failed him in this case, which likewise insulted South Pacific‘s lyricist, Ezio Pinza. As a result, Lucas was unable to include the song in his movie.
Harrison Ford doesn’t have to be a famous singer to be enjoyed by the rest of us, however. His performances have been captivating audiences ever since his breakout role as Han Solo in Star Wars: A New Hope, and continue to do so today. Most recently, he plays Yellowstone ancestor Jacob Dutton in 1923, which co-stars the equally prolific Helen Mirren as well as Game of Thrones‘s Jerome Flynn.
Thankfully, Harrison Ford does not have to sing in any of his upcoming roles, either. He is notably playing General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies Thunderbolts and Captain America: New World Order, and also reprising his role as Indiana Jones in the fifth installment, The Dial of Destiny. The Yellowstone prequel, 1923, starring Ford, premiered on Paramount+ on Sunday, December 18, and new episodes of the eight-part limited series will be available each Sunday.