Happy Chandler

Have you ever heard the song “Happy Days Are Here Again?” A reader, who chose not to be identified, (but was a Trump supporter) sent something last week that started all kinds of memory awakenings for me. Odd how a particular song can bring memories from 75 years ago.

Back in 1929, before I was born, the song “Happy Days Are Here Again” was written by Jack Yellen and Milton Ager. According to Wikipedia, the song was written for a 1930 movie called “Chasing Rainbows.”

The song played a part in my 10 year old life. When Franklin Roosevelt ran for president in 1932 he used the song. No doubt it was played many times during his later campaigns, but since my family was very Republican I probably didn’t hear it very often until Happy Chandler used it. Happy Chandler was one of those people who simply couldn’t lose.

Albert Benjamin “Happy” Chandler was born in 1898 in Corydon, Kentucky, and quickly became a busy Kentuckian. Chandler attended Transylvania College, went to Harvard Law School for a year, and then returned to his home state to attend the University of Kentucky.

He practiced law a short time and then ran for and won the Kentucky Senate race in 1929. Next, he was elected Kentucky’s lieutenant governor in 1932, and when he ran for governor in 1935 he won that race, too. He put plenty of energy into that job and began bringing the state government more up to date and then resigned because he was to be appointed to an unexpired seat in the U.S. Senate. He was elected to a full term in 1942 and served through 1945. I suspect he used the song “Happy Days Are Here Again” every time he ran for office, but I remember the one in 1955. That’s the year I found interest in politics. Happy could enthuse anyone; it didn’t matter what party he belonged to.

The first baseball commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, had died in 1944 and who do you think was wanted to fill that office? Yes, of course, Happy Chandler was the only man for that job. He brought major changes to baseball as its commissioner from 1945 until 1951. He oversaw the integration of baseball. He was independent and campaigned for player’s rights. When a new pension plan was introduced, Happy supported it. He is the one who suspended Leo Durocher for the 1947 season and he also made it possible for Jackie Robinson to play, the first black player in the Major League. In fact, that put him in disfavor with the club owners. They didn’t reelect him in 1951.

He ran for governor again in 1955 and won; he served through 1959. My family was not really happy about that, but I do believe they liked Happy. I must say that a crowd of some 20,000 people were in the University of Kentucky stands on Senior Day in 1988 when a 90-year old Happy Chandler sang “My Old Kentucky Home.” Many people in the stands and the players cried real tears. If you would like to see that stirring event you can find it at “A.B. Chandler sang My Old Kentucky Home on Senior Day.”

Happy accomplished a lot in his lifetime. As governor, he used National Guard troops to enforce racial integration of Kentucky public schools. Happy died June 15, 1991 in Versailles, Kentucky. And to hear the song “Happy Days Are Here Again” brings back some great memories of a great Kentuckian. So that’s what the reader who sent his version of the song brought back for me. It was fun remembering. Here are his words to a revised version of the old song.


Happy days are here again,

Happy days are here again’

Our boy, Biden, he got in.

Slipped one over, ain’t no sin.

Our cares and troubles are all gone,

There’ll be no Trump from now on.

Open up those Pearly Gates,

All things come to he who waits.

The skies above are clear again,

The Lefties are on top again.

Let’s sing a song of cheer again,

Happy days are here again.

So long sad time, so long bad time,

We are rid of you at last.

Now’s the time we climb up high’

Joe will give us our piece of pie.

Decatur County resident Pat Smith may be contacted via this publication at

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