The Woody Allen Controversy Reader: Did Dory Previn’s Song Lyrics Influence Mia Farrow In Accusing Woody Allen of Molestation? (Examining The Evidence)

Justin Levine
32 min readNov 24, 2018

With my Daddy in the attic,
That is where my being wants to bed…
With the door closed on my mama and my sibling competition,
And my Shirley Temple doll that truly cries…
With my Daddy in the attic,
That is where my dark attraction lies…
In the terrifying nearness of his eyes,
With no window spying neighbors,
And no husbands in the future,
To intrude upon our attic,
Past the stair where we’ll live on…
And he’ll play his clarinet when I despair,
With my Daddy in the attic,
With my Daddy in the attic…

[Selected excerpts from the song, “With My Daddy In the Attic”, written by Dory Previn in the year 1970.]

When combing through the wide variety of evidence in the debate over the allegation by Dylan Farrow that her father, Woody Allen, molested her when she was 7-years-old, Allen’s defenders point to a curious instance of circumstantial evidence — the fact that song lyrics written by the ex-wife of Mia Farrow’s second husband strangely parallel the allegations that Dylan would make against Allen years later.

[* As with all of my articles, I strongly encourage readers to click on all links provided throughout in order to gain even broader insights to the topic and independently confirm all of the facts that I cite, rather than just accepting my assertions and analysis at face value.]

The Background, Part I [1959–1968]: The First Marriages of Dory Previn and Mia Farrow

Dory Previn was a singer-songwriter whose work first received an audience in the late 1950s and went on to co-write Oscar nominated songs for Hollywood films.

She first met composer/conductor Andre Previn when they were both working for MGM. They later married in 1959.

Andre Previn had been composing film scores for MGM where he had won a string of Oscars for works that included Porgy and Bess, Irma La Douce, Gigi, and My Fair Lady. Before his work for MGM, he had played jazz piano, including for Frank Sinatra in the mid-1940s when he (Previn) was just 15 years old.

Andre and Dory Previn co-wrote a song in 1965 entitled “You’re Gonna Hear From Me” which was recorded by Frank Sinatra the following year.

The same year Sinatra recorded “You’re Gonna Hear From Me” (1966), he married actress Mia Farrow, who was 21 at the time and looked “very young”. Sinatra was 50. It ended in divorce two years later in 1968, fueled in part by an affair that Mia had with John Phillips, co-founder of the musical group The Mamas and the Papas. (Incidentally, Phillips would later be accused by his daughter Mackenzie of carrying on an incestuous affair with her for close to a decade.)

Sinatra had previously been married to actress Ava Gardner, who in turn had an affair with John Farrow, Mia’s father. The affair caused Mia’s parents to divorce, with Sinatra in turn divorcing Gardner in 1957 after six years of marriage.

The Background, Part II [1968–1970]: Mia’s Affair With Dory’s Husband, Andre Previn

Mia Farrow and Andre Previn

Shortly after Mia Farrow’s divorce to Sinatra, she traveled to India in 1968 to study mediation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and the Beatles joined them soon after.

Mia accused Yogi of sexually groping her, causing the her and the Beatles to leave.

After returning to the States, Farrow began an affair with Andre Previn which resulted in her becoming pregnant in the middle of 1969.

Farrow described the beginnings of the relationship in her memoirs:

That winter I returned to New York to film John and Mary. Despite my admiration for Dustin Hoffman, the project turned out not to be a particularly rewarding one for me artistically, but the Wooden House on Martha’s Vineyard was everything I’d hoped for, and more.

What I recall most about the making of that film was that during it a relationship was forming, via telephone. with André Previn. We had had mutual friends in California and I’d seen him there occasionally, along with his wife. But when we bumped into each other by chance at a party in London, circumstances had changed: I was no longer with Frank, and he was, for the most part, living and working there, as conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. When he visited New York I introduced him to Dali, but my unpredictable old friend didn’t like André, and André didn’t much care for him either. On all matters, including this one, I sought Dali’s approval. Nonetheless, the minute John and Mary was completed, I joined André in Ireland, where he had rented a cottage in the hills near Clifden; he had wanted to take me on a holiday, and I suggested Ireland, since I hadn’t been there in eight years.

It was the first time we had spent more than a couple of days together and he was wonderful. A raconteur second to none, he had, it seemed, read every book ever written. He loved modern art, which I knew nothing about, he was a jazz pianist and a classical pianist, a composer and a conductor. André was so quick, he arrived before he even left. And he was more interested in me than anyone had been in my life. I kept thinking how much my father would have liked and enjoyed him. In the west of Ireland we walked along country lanes and across damp fields, and we took a trawler to the Aran Islands. Within two purely delightful weeks he had ruined his shiny, pointed green shoes, but we were making plans for a lifetime.

I had returned to Martha’s Vineyard, and André was back in London, when I discovered I was pregnant.

[Source: Mia Farrow, What Falls Away, pgs. 140–41.]

There was just one complication with all of this — Andre Previn was still married to Dory.

Farrow wrote the following in her diary on January 6, 1970:

We had hoped to be married by Christmas, but Andre’s wife, Dory, doesn’t want a divorce, which I completely understand, most of the time. But still — a real wedding on the Vineyard, by the edge of the lake, with all my brothers and sisters, my friends and my mother, that was the dream. I even got a burgundy velvet-and-lace dress that accommodates my stomach. But I shouldn’t complain about anything. André and I are happy, and we feel married, and someday we will be. Nothing else matters.

[Source: Mia Farrow, What Falls Away, pg. 144.]

Dory Previn had a slightly different perspective on those last sentiments. She was devastated over the fact that her husband was leaving her for another woman, her own trusted friend, whom he had impregnated with twins during an illicit affair — so much so that she ended up having a nervous breakdown that led to her being institutionalized for several months and subjected to electroshock therapy.

Dory Previn had boarded a plane to London in a last-ditch, desperate attempt to save her marriage. While the plane was still on the runway awaiting takeoff, she lost it. She began screaming at the top of her lungs and ripping at her clothes. The authorities carted her off and had her committed.

Mia acknowledged Dory’s torment in an understated fashion on pg. 147 of her memoir (What Falls Away) when she wrote:

Dory Previn experienced things quite differently, and made that clear publicly through her songs. I am sorry to have contributed to her pain.

Farrow gave birth to her twins in February 1970. Dory and Andre Previn divorced in August of that same year, and Mia then married him less than three weeks later.

The Songs of Dory Previn In The Immediate Aftermath of Her Divorce From Andre Previn [1970]

Dory Previn

But let us now focus our attention to Farrow’s statement in her own memoir that Dory Previn was not only crushed by the fact that she had her husband taken from her, but that she “made that clear publicly through her songs”.

What exactly did Farrow mean by this admission?

An exploration of Dory Previn’s songwriting after the breakup of her marriage offers compelling evidence that Farrow was not only intimately familiar with Dory Previn’s songs, but that they eventually served as Farrow’s inspiration years later to concoct false charges of abuse against Woody Allen in revenge for having his own affair that Mia found herself on the losing end of, exacting its own emotional toll much like the one she inflicted on Dory Previn.

After being released from the hospital facility that she was committed to in 1970, Dory Previn composed and released her first solo album entitled “On My Way To Where”. She had been encouraged to write songs of self-reflection as a means to help with her therapy, and the album is comprised of those songs, with titles such as “Scared To Be Alone” and “He Lives Alone”.

She makes references to her struggles with sanity, electroshock therapy and her airplane episode in the emotionally revealing “Mr. Whisper”.

But it is her song “Beware of Young Girls” that tackles the hurt over her failed marriage. The song’s title and lyrics are expressly about Mia Farrow and her betrayal of Dory in bedding her husband.

Excerpts from the lyrics read as follows:

Beware of young girls who come to the door
Wistful and pale, of twenty and four
Delivering daisies with delicate hands
Beware of young girls, too often they crave
To cry at a wedding, and dance on a grave

She was my friend, my friend, my friend
She was invited to my house
Oh yes, she was
And though she knew my love was true
And no ordinary thing
She admired my wedding ring
She admired my wedding ring

She was my friend, my friend, my friend
She sent us little silver gifts
Oh yes she did
Oh what a rare and happy pair she inevitably said
As she glanced at my unmade bed
She admired my unmade bed
My bed

She was my friend, my friend, my friend
I thought her motives were sincere
Oh yes I did
Ah, but this lass, it came to pass
Had a dark and different plan
She admired my own sweet man
She admired my own sweet man

We were friends
Oh yes we were
And she just took him from my life
Oh yes she did
So young and vain, she brought me pain
But I’m wise enough to say
She will leave him one thoughtless day
She’ll just leave him and go away
Oh yes

Beware of young girls
Beware of young girls

Naturally Mia was well familiar with all of Dory’s album and understood from the outset that “Beware of Young Girls” was specifically about her. She not only admitted so in her own memoir, but affirmed that fact under oath in her 1993 custody trial, stating “I know that it referred to me.”

Even the line about “Delivering daisies with delicate hands” was an obvious reference to Mia Farrow’s already well-known reputation as a “flower child”.

(Mia Farrow with daisy.)

But the most curious song and set of lyrics from Dory’s album is found on the fifth track, entitled “With My Daddy In The Attic”, which describes an incestuous relationship between a father and daughter that is conducted in secret in the family attic.

It is this track that provides compelling, circumstantial evidence that Mia Farrow was inspired by Dory’s song to concoct a false tale of child abuse against Woody Allen in revenge for his own affair with Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn.

Dory Previn’s Astounding Prophecy [Introduction]: How “With My Daddy In The Attic” and Other Lyrics From Dory Previn’s Songs Closely Parallel The Accusations Against Woody Allen Years Later

Before examining the prophetic nature of Dory Previn’s lyrics regarding the accusations against Woody Allen, it is important to examine the background that led up to the controversy to begin with.

Dory Previn’s Astounding Prophecy, Part I — How The Relationships Between Woody Allen, Mia Farrow and Soon-Yi Previn First Developed In The Years Following The Publication of Dory Previn’s 1970 Album

In “Beware of Young Girls”, Dory Previn predicted (perhaps with a bit of hoping desire) in her song that the marriage between Mia and Andre wouldn’t last when she wrote the lyrics “She will leave him one thoughtless day. She’ll just leave him and go away.

It wasn’t quite that abrupt, but Mia and Andre did eventually divorce in 1979. The reasons for their split have never been detailed, but rumors flew that it was at least exacerbated by the fact that Mia was having an affair with Swedish cinematographer Sven Nykvist.

Before the breakup of their marriage, Mia Farrow and Andre Previn had six children together, three of whom were adopted.

The last of their children they had together was Soon-Yi Previn, a Korean girl whom they had adopted in 1978 (the year before their divorce).

Although Soon-Yi did not have reliable birth records, bone scans provided an estimate of her age at roughly 7 or 8 at the time of her adoption. The Farrow’s designated her birthday as October 8, 1970 (the same year that Dory Previn would release her “On My Way To Where” album).

In the winter of 1979, shortly after her divorce, Mia Farrow, who had been briefly introduced to Woody Allen in quick passing years earlier, was re-introduced to Allen by actor Michael Caine at Elaine’s restaurant in New York.

Their meeting at Elaine’s developed into a romantic relationship that lasted for several years, though the couple never married or even lived together at any point — maintaining separate residences throughout.

By 1979, Woody Allen had established himself as a New York icon, having directed and starred in a number of Oscar-nominated films following his career as stand-up comedian and comedy writer.

In addition to his comedy and film career, Allen was also well known for his passion in playing the clarinet in jazz bands — a hobby that he had developed and practiced since he was 15 years old. His proficiency and passion for the clarinet was such that he even attracted considerable media attention about it all the way back in 1970.

(It was his passion for the jazz clarinet that inspired Allen to include such a heavy rotation of jazz pieces which feature the clarinet in many of the soundtracks to his films. Such jazz songs have even become a discernible and distinctive feature of a “Woody Allen film”.

His reputation for playing the clarinet became strong enough that a documentary feature entitled “Wild Man Blues”, focusing on a European tour of his jazz band, was eventually released in 1997.)

By the end of 1980, in addition to the time spent making his films and playing the clarinet, Allen had developed a romantic relationship with Mia Farrow.

The length of their relationship as a romantic couple lasted roughly seven years, though they remained together as a largely platonic couple for five additional years due to the fact that they were jointly raising three children together (despite never having married or even lived together for any length of time).

The details of how their relationship evolved throughout the 80s is a complex story that requires its own essay to untangle. You can read about it here.

Suffice it to say, by the end of the 1980s, Allen and Farrow had one biological child together (Satchel, later named Ronan, whose paternity has admittedly been questioned in some circles), while Allen had grown attached to two of farrow’s children (Dylan and Moses) whom she had adopted on her own after her divorce from Andre.

This growing attachment by Allen towards Dylan and Moses led to his efforts to adopt them as a single, co-parent, although he still never entertained the notion of marrying Farrow or moving in with her. Farrow encouraged this arrangement and, at the time, fully supported Allen’s efforts to adopt the pair.

Throughout all of this time, however, Allen actively ignored all six of the Previn children that Farrow had with Andre Previn during their marriage.

This began to change in early 1990 with regards to Soon-Yi Previn, who was 19 at the time.

At Farrow’s own urging, Allen agreed to take Soon-Yi to basketball games with him.

With Allen’s own relationship with Farrow having been romantically moribund for a number of years by this point, he slowly grew closer to Soon-Yi over the course of nearly two years. Soon-Yi had likewise been alienated from Farrow due to what she described as ongoing abuse and belittlement.

Sometime in the late fall of 1991, when Soon-Yi was 21, Allen’s relationship with her became romantic. This caused enormous complications and controversy since not only was Soon-Yi the adopted daughter of Allen’s former girlfriend Mia Farrow, but the start of their romance also closely coincided with Allen’s formal adoption of Moses and Dylan Farrow — two others who had been previously adopted by Mia Farrow, thus technically making them Soon-Yi’s brother and sister.

(Since Soon-Yi had been adopted jointly by Mia Farrow and Andre Previn during their marriage, while Moses and Dylan had been adopted by Mia as a single mother in the aftermath of her divorce from Previn, Moses and Dylan could best be described as being the adopted, half-brother and half-sister to Soon-Yi, though critics of the Allen/Soon-Yi relationship tend not to dwell on such labels when debating the bigger picture of the family dynamics at work in this case, dismissing such descriptions as irrelevant technicalities.

Meanwhile, some defenders of the relationship, including acquaintances who knew all the parties personally, have argued that any criticism of the Allen/Soon-Yi affair needed to be considered in the messy and complex context of how Mia Farrow’s own relationships with Sinatra and Previn had developed.)

Thus, by the end of January 1991, Woody Allen had formally adopted two of Mia Farrow’s children, while simultaneously engaging in a romantic relationship with another whom Farrow had previously adopted as a child but was now an adult.

None of these five people were biologically related to each other, and Allen had neither married Mia Farrow, nor slept over at her apartment even once (let alone lived with her for any length of time), but it was still unquestionably a messy and morally complex situation all around.

Dory Previn’s Astounding Prophecy, Part II — Exploring Mia Farrow’s State of Mind Following The Discovery of The Soon-Yi Affair

Valentine card Mia Farrow sent to Woody Allen in 1992 after she discovered his affair with Soon-Yi Previn.

Mia Farrow first discovered Allen’s affair with Soon-Yi in January of 1992, nearly a month after he completed the formal adoption papers on Dylan and Moses.

This discovery set Farrow into a rage. She slapped and beat Soon-Yi over the betrayal, reportedly breaking a chair over her.

As for the rage directed towards Allen, Farrow sent him a Valentine’s Day card that featured a picture of her family stabbed with pins and knives, as well as a poem referencing Allen’s betrayal — which Allen perceived as a threat.

Allen also claims that Farrow made explicit and repeated threats to kill him and gouge his eyes out.

She repeated the threats to Dr. Susan Coates, a clinical psychologist.

Farrow told Dr. Coates that she thought Allen should be dead and that she wanted to kill him. She referred to Allen as being “satanic and evil” and pleaded with Coates to “find a way to stop him.”

Coates described it all as “a really dangerous situation”. She said, “In my clinical evaluation, this was a place where protection was needed,” and warned Allen not to visit Farrow and the children at her house. However, Allen ignored her warning and Farrow continued to let Allen visit.

Coates said that Farrow’s behavior became “increasingly erratic” over the next few months. She contemplated suicide at one point, even going so far as to write a suicide note in Allen’s apartment.

Allen claims that Farrow also threatened him by explicitly stating to him, “You took my daughter, and I’m gonna take yours.”

In July 1992, Allen visited Farrow’s Connecticut home to help celebrate Dylan’s seventh birthday. On that occasion, Farrow taped a message to the bathroom door that he used, accusing him of being a child molester due to his affair with Soon-Yi. The message read: “Child Molestor [sic] at Birthday Party! Molded then abused one sister now focused on youngest sister[.] Family disgusted[.]”

The clear meaning of the message was that Farrow had considered Allen’s relationship with the adult-aged Soon-Yi to be an instance of “child molestation” since Soon-Yi was Farrow’s adopted daughter, and that Farrow, in her rage, now also claimed that Allen would target the 7-year-old Dylan (who was the “youngest sister” in the family) as well.

Such was Mia Farrow’s state of mind which led up to her eventual, explicit claim the following month in August 1992 that Allen had molested their daughter Dylan.

Dory Previn’s Astounding Prophecy, Part III — The Details Surrounding The Allegation That Woody Allen Molested Dylan Farrow

Dylan and Mia Farrow

During the first week of August 1992, Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, still torn over Allen’s affair with Soon-Yi Previn, were in the final negotiating stages of child support and visitation issues concerning the three children they now shared together (Moses, Ronan and Dylan).

On August 4, 1992, after Mia had explicitly told her personal assistant (Kristi Groteke) who served as Dylan’s nanny to “keep a very close eye on” Woody Allen, as well as warning others in the house to “keep an eye out” for him too, Farrow went out shopping with friends — leaving the house full of adults and other children throughout the residence during Allen’s scheduled visit that afternoon.

Despite the fact that Moses Farrow insists that he had either Allen or Dylan in his eyesight the entire time, and the admission from Dylan’s own nanny that she had only lost track of them for 20 minutes at most that day, Farrow contacted her attorney and family doctor the next day to levy the charge that Allen had molested Dylan during the afternoon of August 4th, in a house full of people, while she had been away shopping.

Moses confessed to another nanny from the start that he thought Farrow had made up the story. A bevy of evidence pointed to the fact that Farrow had actually coached Dylan to make the claims while videotaping her stating them. It took a number of attempts over the course of the next couple of days to get Dylan to make the utterances for the camera, but when it was completed, Farrow then had a copy of the tape strategically leaked to the media.

After interviewing Dylan, Allen, Farrow, the babysitter witnesses and psychotherapists who had treated Dylan, experts in child molestation cases concluded unambiguously that Dylan was never molested on the day in question.

A separate investigation by authorities in New York also concluded that the allegations were unfounded.

During the subsequent trial between Farrow and Allen over custody for their children, Farrow also made unfounded allegations and suspicions of Allen having molested Ronan (who was then named Satchel) when he was 5-years-old and of his being a homosexual. Under cross-examination on the witness stand, Farrow eventually admitted that those allegations by her were false. (See Newsday, March 27, 1993, pg. 6.)

Neither the media nor the public heard from Dylan Farrow directly during the custody trial, or at any point throughout the 90s when the allegations against Allen were first levied. The specifics of the allegation were always articulated in hearsay fashion by Farrow herself, testifying as to what Dylan had told her. Despite the fact that Farrow had engineered the leak of her tape of Dylan to the media, the tape was never broadcast or been accessible by the public.

Though the details of the allegations originally came from sources other than Dylan herself, one constant about the allegation from the start was the fact that Allen was alleged to have taken Dylan to the attic in Farrow’s Connecticut home where he there supposedly engaged in the molesting acts.

(The allegation concerning the quick trip to the attic was put forth despite the fact that it was in the afternoon in a house full of people who Allen knew were told to keep an eye on him, despite the fact that Moses said he never lost track of them, despite the fact that Dylan’s own nanny insisted that they were only out of her sight for 20 minutes at most, and despite the fact that no other allegations of molestation have ever been directly levied against Allen before or since. The unlikely timeline and scenario alone has prompted a fair share of skeptics in the case.)

After the molestation charges against Allen were determined to be unfounded, media coverage and references to the allegations largely abated for over two decades until 2014 when Dylan wrote an “open letter” directly accusing Allen of abusing her.

Dylan’s 2014 statement reiterated some alleged details to the public that had either been forgotten/ignored by the press or were previously known only largely by the investigators and the trial participants in 1992–93 (television coverage inside the Farrow/Allen custody trial was not permitted at the time). Other specific details concerning her accusation were stated for the first time and hadn’t been brought up during the initial accusation and investigations of the early 90s.

Dylan had her letter published in the column space of Nicholas Kristof, an Op-Ed writer for the New York Times and a close friend of Mia Farrow’s.

The opening paragraph of Dylan’s 2014 letter reads as follows (with emphasis on certain key phrases added here):

What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie? Before you answer, you should know: when I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me. He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies. I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.

Those who are inclined to believe Dylan Farrow’s claim point to the specific details she cites — the location where the incident took place, the electric train set, Allen’s promise to take her to Paris — as evidence of her credibility. This was not just a broad, vague allegation lacking any details.

For Dylan’s supporters, the seemingly random details serve as a bulwark against the claim that Dylan was coached by her vindictive mother to make up a claim of molestation against Allen in revenge for his leaving Mia Farrow for Soon-Yi Previn.

It is those very details that buttress the notion that, Dylan’s specific memory must be credible, and hence her allegation must be credible — or so the theory goes.

Dory Previn’s Astounding Prophecy, Part IV — How Dory Previn’s Previously Written Song Lyrics Closely Paralleled Specific Facts In Dylan Farrow’s Accusation Against Woody Allen

Woody Allen playing the clarinet

In light of these specific details in Dylan Farrow’s claim, let us now revisit the lyrics to Dory Previn’s song “With My Daddy In the Attic” that she wrote back in 1970 — roughly 22 years before Dylan’s accusation. They read as follows (with key sections of the text emphasized here in bold to help call extra attention to the reader):

With my daddy in the attic
With my daddy in the attic
That is where
My being wants to bed

With the mattress ticking showing
And the tattered pillowslip
And the pine unpainted rafters overhead

With the door closed on my mama
And my sibling competition

And my Shirley Temple doll
That truly cries
And my essay on religion
With the pasted paper star
Proving tangibly
I’d won second prize

With my daddy in the attic
With my daddy in the attic
That is where my dark attraction lies
With his madness on the nightstand
Placed beside his loaded gun
In the terrifying nearness of his eyes

With no window-spying neighbors
And no husbands in the future
To intrude upon our attic
Past the stair
Where we’ll live on peanut butter
Spread across assorted crackers
And he’ll play his clarinet when I despair

With my daddy in the attic
With my daddy in the attic
Past the stair
Where we’ll live on peanut butter
Spread across assorted crackers
And he’ll play his clarinet when I despair

With my daddy in the attic
With my daddy in the attic
Past the stair

With my Daddy in the attic,
That is where my being wants to bed…
With the door closed on my mama and my sibling competition,
And my Shirley Temple doll that truly cries…
With my Daddy in the attic,
That is where my dark attraction lies…
In the terrifying nearness of his eyes,

With no window spying neighbors,
And no husbands in the future,
To intrude upon our attic,
Past the stair where we’ll live on…
And he’ll play his clarinet when I despair,
With my Daddy in the attic,
With my Daddy in the attic…

Previn’s lyrics clearly deal with a taboo, incestuous relationship between a father and his young daughter. But further still, their interactions take place in an attic — just as Dylan Farrow described her encounter with her adopted father Allen. What are the odds of a such a previously written song existing that describes the same scenario that Dylan Farrow did in describing her own accusation against Woody Allen?

Perhaps the skeptic might think that, if you dig through the entire history of song lyrics, you can eventually find one that broadly relates to nearly any subject you can dream up — so the idea of finding a single song dealing with father-daughter incest and molestation in a family attic is not especially remarkable among the countless number of songs written throughout history, and can simply be chalked up to the realm of plausible coincidence.

But what are the odds of the lyricist happening to be the very woman who had her husband stolen by a woman whose daughter would go on to accuser her father of molestation just as found in the song? The level of coincidence narrows considerably when you factor in how all the players in the controversy and songwriting all happened to know each other.

But there is an even further remarkable coincidence contained in Dory Previn’s lyrics here — the fact that the father in question specifically plays the clarinet.

Unlike the more common guitar or piano, the clarinet is a particularly unusual instrument to be associated with a male character in lyrics or literature, and it is one of the more rare instruments that men willingly choose to pick up and dedicate themselves to playing.

Yet that is precisely the instrument that Woody Allen played. His clarinet playing arguably became his single most identifiable trait as a public figure outside of his career as a filmmaker and comic.

So what are the astronomical odds of a woman writing specifically about a clarinet playing father who secretly molests his daughter in an attic and having someone whose mother personally knows the songwriter and who took the songwriter’s husband from her allege that exact same scenario decades later?

When you factor in each succeeding coincidence on top of one another, the odds of random chance serving as a rational explanation quickly narrows to an utterly infinitesimal, near-zero possibility.

Beyond the already-astonishing set of coincidences regarding the scenario of a clarinet-playing father specifically taking his daughter up to the attic to molest her, there are even additional coincidences in Dory Previn’s song lyrics that have strong parallels to the Farrow household and Dylan’s place in it.

Take, for instance, the line in Previn’s “Attic” song which reads, “With the door closed on my mama and my sibling competition”.

As it turns out, there was an unusual amount of sibling competition, jealousies and rivalries within the Farrow household that Dylan found herself caught up in.

To begin with, Dylan had been raised in a household with 10 other brothers and sisters (which would later swell to 13 after the allegations were first made against Allen), many of whom had special needs, and all of whom demanded attention from Mia, who was a single mother.

A nanny in the household testified that Mia Farrow often showed favoritism towards her biological children over her adopted children. She also testified that Mia’s children had tried to veto their mother’s decision to adopt more children, but that she chose to do so anyway over their objections.

Witness Jane Martin also testified that Farrow showed favoritism between her seven adopted children and her four biological children.

Another source within the household said, “Mia had this whole attic/bedroom suite upstairs where she stayed most of the time. I feel like Dylan [his adopted sister] and [Ronan] were up there with her a lot, and I was downstairs with the younger kids. There was kind of a divide between the adopted kids and [Ronan].”

Meanwhile, Farrow and her allies charged that Allen would “monopolize” Dylan “to the exclusion of her brothers and sisters”, whereas a child psychiatrist who treated Dylan testified that “Mr. Allen focused on Dylan because he felt Miss Farrow was obsessed with [Dylan’s brother, Ronan].”

Moses Farrow wrote about how his mother Mia was abusive towards many of the adopted children in the household. Dylan said his revelation was a “betrayal” and that Moses was “dead to” her for speaking out.

There were many other anecdotal instances of such sibling rivalry. One curious anecdote comes from Kristi Groteke, a nanny for Mia Farrow’s children who wrote a book about her experience entitled Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal. In her book (co-written with Marjorie Rosen), Groteke recounts a story told to her by Lark and Daisy Previn — two girls adopted by Mia Farrow and then-husband Andre Previn in the 1970s.

Groteke wrote:

When I asked if they were ever harassed by paparazzi in Europe, both girls suddenly began to giggle. “Remember the glass doors?” Daisy said, looking to Lark. Lark nodded, and suddenly the giggles erupted into laughter. Feeling a little out of it, I looked from one to the other. “One time we were in Paris,” Lark began to explain, “and Woody was holding Dylan. And there were these huge glass windows in front of the hotel. Actually, the facade was completely glass. Woody was frantically running from photographers with Dylan in his arms, and he walked right into the glass. Dylan went into the glass too-BAM! Her head went smack right into it.” Well, that wasn’t exactly hysterical in my book, I observed.

“But then he did it again,” said Daisy. “He turned and started running from the photographers, and he ran into a marble pole in the lobby. I’ll always remember it. It was so funny.” Maybe you had to have been there.

[Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal, pg. 160.]

It seems clear that there was a great amount of “sibling competition” within the Farrow household — just another remarkable coincidence contained in Dory Previn’s prescient song lyrics.

Yet there are still other remarkable coincidences between Dylan’s claims and the song lyrics of Dory Previn.

For instance, when Dylan wrote her open letter to Allen in February 2014, she placed a curious emphasis on the notion that she focused on a toy train in the attic during her alleged assault. (“He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set…I remember staring at that toy train, focusing on it as it traveled in its circle around the attic. To this day, I find it difficult to look at toy trains.”)

This specific detail became a subject of debate and controversy concerning her allegations. To begin with, the “train” detail had never been publicly mentioned before in the many reported accounts of Dylan’s original statements in the 1990s when the allegations were first levied.

None of the many adults, doctors or specialists who spoke to Dylan ever noted the mention of a toy train in the attic. It was only when Dylan penned her letter in 2014 that her memory of an electric train set was first described.

Dylan’s brother Moses has emphatically disputed the notion that there was ever a train set in the family attic. He wrote:

It’s a precise and compelling narrative, but there’s a major problem: there was no electric train set in that attic. There was, in fact, no way for kids to play up there, even if we had wanted to. It was an unfinished crawl space, under a steeply-angled gabled roof, with exposed nails and floorboards, billows of fiberglass insulation, filled with mousetraps and droppings and stinking of mothballs, and crammed with trunks full of hand-me-down clothes and my mother’s old wardrobes.

The idea that the space could possibly have accommodated a functioning electric train set, circling around the attic, is ridiculous. One of my brothers did have an elaborate model train set, but it was set up in the boys’ room, a converted garage on the first floor. (Maybe that was the train set my sister thinks she remembers?) Now, whenever I hear Dylan making a public statement about what allegedly happened to her that day when she was barely seven, I can only think of that imaginary train set, which she never brought up during the original investigation or custody hearing. Did somebody suggest to the adult Dylan that such a specific detail would make her story more credible? Or does she really believe she remembers this train “circling around the attic” the same way she says she remembers Woody’s whispered promises of trips to Paris and movie stardom (kind of odd enticements to offer a 7-year-old, rather than a new toy or a doll)? And all this apparently took place while those of us who promised to have our eyes trained on Woody were downstairs, seemingly oblivious to what was happening right above our heads?

Even Maureen Orth, a stalwart defender of Mia and Dylan Farrow, admitted that the space in question was “not really an attic, just a small crawl space off the closet of Mia’s bedroom where the children play” . Yet this “small crawl space” was already “crammed with trunks full of hand-me-down clothes and my mother’s old wardrobes” — a curious place where Allen would choose to enter, given his extreme claustrophobia. Could a functioning train set even fit in such a space? Its not even clear if there was any electricity or outlet in that small crawl space for an electric train set to function in.

The dispute over the electric train detail becomes more acute when considered in the context which had experts in child abuse dismiss Dylan’s claims due to various other inconsistent statements she made to them.

Dr. John M. Leventhal testified that his team concluded that Dylan likely made up the story of abuse in the aftermath of Woody Allen leaving Mia Farrow for Soon-Yi Previn.

Dr. Leventhal said, “It’s quite possible — as a matter of fact, we think it’s medically probable — that she stuck to that story over time because of the intense relationship she had with her mother.”

The dispute over the electric train detail becomes even more curious when one discovers the fact that Dory Previn also wrote about a toy electric train in one of her songs that deals with an intense relationship a daughter has for her mother and her desire to do anything to please her after being left alone without a husband.

The song is (again) coincidentally entitled “Mama Mama Comfort Me”, off of Dory Previn’s self-titled 1974 album (released while Mia Farrow was still married to Dory’s ex-husband Andre Previn, and before she had even met Woody Allen).

Excerpts from the “Mama Mama Comfort Me” lyrics read as follows (emphasis added):

Mama, mama comfort me
You’re the loving one
Daddy bought me electric trains
’Cause what he wanted was a son

Oh mama, mama, don’t be down
Lift your grievin’ head

And tell me what you said
You got no lovin’ left around

But don’t you understand
Your daddy man is dead?
Am I’m alive but I can’t get through
Is there anything to gain
If I get out my electric train?

If I should shoot his gun for you
Would that tend to please you
Tend to ease your pain?

Oh mama, I ain’t guilty
You’re not to blame
What we did is done
Sure we failed our daddy man

Show me, mama
And I swear I will make it up to you
In everything I do
All but one, I ain’t your son

I’ll always and forever be
Always and forever me
Me, me, mama
Comfort me

Note the song’s specific references to the electric train, its specific connection to “Daddy” and if there is “anything to gain” by her mentioning it? Also note the reoccurring theme of sibling rivalry with the daughter’s guilt over not being a preferred son, and the notion of that rivalry being the catalyst for the daughter’s intense loyalty and doing anything to please her mother.

The lyrics of “Mama Mama Comfort Me” marks yet another remarkable coincidence in its parallels to the allegations by Dylan Farrow against Woody Allen, just like the equally remarkable “coincidence” of the lyrics of “With My Daddy In The Attic” dealing with a clarinet-playing father who molests his daughter in the attic, and the still further remarkable “coincidence” that Mia Farrow knew Dory Previn personally, helped contribute to the break-up of her marriage, and admitted to knowing and being familiar with her songs (one of which was specifically about Mia Farrow).

But what of Dylan’s claim that while the clarinet-enthusiast Allen was in the attic with her, he specifically told her he would take her to Paris? That’s a rather curious, random detail to include, no?

As it turns out, Dory Previn also wrote the lyrics to the theme song to 1972’s “Last Tango In Paris” — a controversial film about a recently widowed American in his mid-40s who has an anonymous, secret, sexual affair in Paris with a naive, 20-year-old Parisian fiancée which begins with a rape in a secluded apartment, but continues with subsequent, consensual encounters. (Controversy surrounding the film was heightened in recent years when its lead actress said that she felt unduly pressured to do its most infamous sex scene when its specific staging was sprung on her on the set at the last minute.)

[***SPOILER ALERT***] The film ends with the young woman killing her anonymous partner after he eventually claims his love for her and wants to know what her name is. In preparation to be eventually questioned by authorities, she then tells herself that, despite her subsequent consent to the affair, he was just a stranger who tried to rape her.

Admittedly, the broad coincidence of Dory Previn’s involvement with “Last Tango In Paris” is far more plausible as a mere coincidence in comparison with the very fact-specific coincidences of Previn’s other song lyrics in relation to Dylan’s accusation; but there is an even more pedestrian explanation for Dylan’s “Paris” detail — the fact that Allen had openly discussed going to Paris with the entire Farrow family, not just Dylan herself.

Allen had previously taken Mia, Dylan and other members of Farrow clan to Paris on a number of occasions. (See, for instance, the Paris anecdote involving Dylan from Lark and Daisy Previn as told to Kristi Groteke above. Groteke also described Paris as being Allen’s “favorite city outside of the Big Apple” on pg. 180 of her book.) It has always been one of his favorite cities.

More critically however, Allen had openly discussed the possibility of moving to Paris with Mia and her children on January 12th, 1992 — the very night before Mia had first discovered the fact that Allen had been having an affair with Soon-Yi.

On pg. 81 of her book Mia & Woody: Love and Betrayal, Kristi Groteke wrote:

Amazingly enough, the very night before she discovered [proof of the affair], Mia said, she had been sitting in her living room with Fletcher, Woody, and Soon-Yi, and they had all been chatting animatedly about pulling up their Manhattan roots and moving to Paris, where they had vacationed in the summer of 1990. Woody spoke about how exciting such a change would be for all of them, and especially for Soon-Yi, who, he pointed out, could attend art school there. Yet less than twenty-four hours later, what had seemed like a prospect, a possibility, would seem to me a mere pipe dream that had gone up in smoke.

Rather than having a plan to secretly whisk Dylan away to Paris by herself as Dylan’s accusation subtly implies, Allen’s discussion of considering moving the entire group to Paris was openly discussed and already well-known among all members of Farrow’s family before the accusations against Allen surfaced.

The fact that such a plan was discussed the very night before the discovery of the Soon-Yi affair would suggest that its memory and impact left an even larger impression on Mia Farrow and her children, just as it did for Kristi Groteke.

It remains yet another remarkable coincidence within the context of Dylan’s specific claims when measured against Dory Previn’s song lyrics and the open discussions of moving to Paris that Allen had been having with many in the Farrow clan.


Dory Previn

Woody Allen has claimed that Dory Previn called him directly when the allegations against him first surfaced and told him in no uncertain terms that she thought Mia Farrow had used her lyrics from “With My Daddy In The Attic” to help make up a story against him. “That’s where Mia got the story line for her concocted tale,” Allen quoted Previn as saying to him at the time. [See “Start to Finish: Woody Allen and the Art of Moviemaking” by Eric Lax, pg. 130.]

Dory Previn passed away on Valentines Day, 2012.

The astonishing coincidence between the specifics of Dylan’s allegations and Previn’s song lyrics alone should be enough to establish reasonable doubt as to the allegations of child abuse against Allen — especially when one considers the personal history that Mia Farrow had with Dory Previn. But when you also consider the wealth of additional, separate evidence that points to his actual innocence in the matter, one would actually be hard pressed to make a coherent case for assuming Allen’s guilt.