There’s a news story I need to hide from my friend Judy. It has to do with the piano used in Casablanca being sold for $602,500 at a Sotheby’s auction last month. That was surprisingly, $200,000 less than they thought they’d get.
The piano was tiny, and had only 58 keys (that’s 30 fewer than a regular piano). The scene it was used in showed a flashback at the Parisian café (the words “La Belle Aurore” were on the window of the place).
A different piano was used in the scenes that were at Rick’s Café Americain. That’s also the piano that Humphrey Bogart placed the letters of transit, which figured prominently into the story.
The two pianos were sold to a collector in L.A. in the ‘80s. It some how made it to the Warner Brothers Studio Museum in Burbank.
A Japanese collector bought this latest piano in 1988 for just over $150,000.
The pianos in the movie also weren’t actually played. Dooley Wilson was Sam. He was a musician, but it was the drums he pounded, not the ivories. The piano you hear in the movie was played offstage and dubbed in.
Of course, everyone knows the fun piece of trivia. The famous line “Play it again, Sam” was actually never uttered in the movie. What Bogey says is “Play it, Sam.”
Now, I better piano investment was the white one musician George Michael (Wham!) bought at auction for a million bucks. It’s the one John Lennon wrote Imagine on (and is scene in numerous videos).
But back to my friend Judy. She once bought a barstool or chair at a charity auction for $50. It was used in Casablanca. She told me it’s just taking up space in her storage unit and she’ll give it to me for free.
I would probably entertain the notion of eBaying it, if it weren’t for the fact that Casablanca is one of my favorite all-time movies.