The Long Lost Song from “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever”
Another musical number cut from On A Clear Day was “E.S.P.”—or Extra Sensory Perception (the psychic gift that Daisy possessed). The number has achieved “urban legend” status over the years and a few Streisand biographies have written how the song was supposed to be the finale of the movie. Until Paramount's archives can be consulted or the Vincente Minnelli or Barbra Streisand film vaults can be explored, Barbra Archives believes that “E.S.P.” was never filmed.
Many photographs of Streisand wearing a modern, zebra-like outfit circulated over the years with claims that Streisand wore this outfit during the futuristic sequences of the lost “E.S.P.” number.
Filmed at Manhattan’s Central Park zoo, the costume was for two lines of “Come Back to Me” that was omitted, possibly because Streisand’s costume was too outlandish. Minnelli confessed in an interview:
We did, however, cut out a scene at the Central Park Zoo, because she was wearing a very high-fashion outfit. That was just too much.
The rumor that the zebra-yellow outfit was for “E.S.P.” was finally put to rest when newsreel footage surfaced in 2012 of Streisand filming this scene. The playback she was performing to was of Yves Montand singing two lines from “Come Back to Me.”
More On “E.S.P.”
The biggest clue about “E.S.P.” is in the 1968 screenplay. Screenwriter Alan Jay Lerner made a reference to the song at a place where fans might not expect it. In the 2nd revised first draft, Lerner often wrote descriptions of the new songs he intended to insert, without specifying their titles or lyrics. “E.S.P.” was supposed to be in Scene 113—where “Go To Sleep” now resides!
Daisy and Dr. Chabot, both having fallen asleep, began to dream. Daisy, according to Lerner’s screenplay, sang a song “in which she drifts back in time from lifetime to lifetime, changing languages as she goes.” At the conclusion of the song, Chabot suddenly sat bolt upright in bed. Later in the script Chabot said, “One day in the office she asked me if I had been thinking of her around four o’clock that morning. I said no. But it wasn’t true. I had been dreaming about her all night. I saw her in distant lands and in distant times....” This line, of course, was cut as well.
In Mark Griffin's book, A Hundred Or More Hidden Things: The Life and Films of Vincente Minnelli, he discovered another song for Chabot in a Clear Day screenplay dated April 18, 1969. Titled “People Like Me,” the lyrics went like this:
To a sober-minded man of reason, E.S.P. is worse than treason ...
It is odd that no “E.S.P.” demo has never been released, especially since the other cut songs have surfaced over the years.
Finally, a 1968 L.A. Times story on producer Howard Koch pretty much spells it out:
[Studio vice president] Donnenfeld wants $250,000 trimmed out of the budget which is now at $9 million and will probably increase as the picture is shot. The trim is accomplished by a slight reshuffling of the schedule and re-planning of a complicated song sequence in which Miss Streisand, as a clairvoyant, appears as all the historical figures she claims to have been in her other lives. It will take five days to shoot and is timed down to the costume changes and hairdressing.
Looking at these cumulative clues, one can assume that “E.S.P.” was cut before it was filmed.