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If I Were King of the Forest

"If I Were King Of The Forest" is a song from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Yip Harburg.

The show-stopping number is sung in an over-the-top, comical presentation by Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion) during the scene when the group is waiting to learn whether the Wizard will grant them an audience. The overall impression is of an antique English music hall number. Lahr does all of the singing, with a spoken interlude in which the rest of the group (Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Jack Haley) ask him how he would deal with other powerful animals if he were king, such as:

Supposin’ you met an elephant?
I'd wrap him up in cellophant!

The closing line, "Monarch of all I survey", can be a little difficult to understand the first time, as Lahr drags out the first syllable and turns it into laughter.

The song contains the line "What makes the Hottentot so Hot?” a phrase that is now considered an offensive term for the Khoikhoi tribe of Africa. The term is not censored for broadcast or in reproductions, though, as it is accepted as an anachronism.

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