No Place Like Home

It’s not every day that you see the musical saw used to woo a person, but in this scene from Steamboat Round the Bend (1937), we see John McGuire playing the musical saw for his sweetheart Anne Shirley. McGuire was an actor for over two decades, and you might recognize him from Charlie Chan at the Circus or the Sands of Iwo Jima. In this movie, he’s playing a man who has been wrongly accused of murder, and he’s hoping to marry his sweetheart. This movie also starred Will Rogers as a steamboat captain. The entire movie is available to watch for free on YouTube if you are so inclined.

McGuire is playing the saw with a homemade bow, and he uses the up-bow technique. He has a nice relaxed style, and the addition of the multi-part humming part way through supports the sad song of the wrongly accused, love-sick saw player. Happily, the innocent young man is saved by his sweetheart at the last minute.


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Rowena Southard, your blog hostess, is a musical saw enthusiast who lives in California. She loves all kinds of music and has a special fondness for unusual instruments.