Casablanca, one of the most infamous films of all time, if not the most, made its debut in NYC on this day 71 years ago, simultaneously debuting its pinnacle emotive moment when that hussy Illsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), “of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world,” walks into Rick’s Cafe and ruins his (Humphrey Bogart) Moroccan nightclub-owning chill, imploring piano man Sam (Dooley Wilson) to “play it once…for old times’ sake.” It being the matter-of-fact heartache balladry of “As Time Goes By.”

Originally penned by twenty-something tin pan alley songwriter, Herman Hupfeld, the film chopped the first verse, and boiled down its melody for leitmotif-use throughout the plot, a timeless and immaculately perfect metaphor for that fickle thing called love and the way it just likes to hang around. Or rather:

You must remember this

A kiss is just a kiss

A sigh is just a sigh

The fundamental things apply

As time goes by