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Photo Credit Pablo Fernández

Photo Credit Pablo Fernández

What if you lost all of your money in a Wall Street crash? What might you do?

Jump out the window? Some people take that route.
Drink? There’s always an available bar stool.
Try your luck on Broadway? Now that’s crazy talk.

Except it wasn’t for a guy named Yip Harburg. The co-owner of an electric appliance company, Harburg’s business went bankrupt in 1929 and he found himself tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

Friends and family encouraged him to get back into business but Yarburg had other plans. You see, he’d always wanted to be a lyricist on Broadway and now he had the time and energy to pursue it. But that’s absurd, right? There’s no shortage of writers on Broadway.

But Yarburg didn’t worry about that, he went to Broadway and wrote stuff anyway.

So what happened? Yarburg wrote, Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? a tune that struck a note with the masses and became immortalized as part of the soundtrack of the Great Depression. He also wrote the lyrics for Over the Rainbow famously sung by, of course, Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. That little ditty—which happens to be known by everyone on the planet with a TV—won Yarburg an Oscar for his trouble.

Now what if Yip hadn’t lost all of his money? What if he never tried to make his Broadway dream come true?

What if, indeed.