“You Fascinate Me So: The Life and Times of Cy Coleman” Book Giveaway (via Facebook and Blog, May)

“You Fascinate Me So” Book Giveaway
Qualifying Entry Task for our Facebook and Blog Contest

“Witchcraft,” “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” “Big Spender,” “Hey, Look Me Over,” “The Best is Yet to Come”…

Okay, now it’s time for our Facebook/Blog Cy Coleman book giveaway… In celebration of Cy’s birthday next month on June 14, CMH is giving away TWO copies of  You Fascinate Me So: The Life and Times of Cy Coleman by Andy Propst — via Facebook and this blog, courtesy of Applause Books!

You Fascinate Me So: The Life and Times of Cy Coleman, book

In order to qualify to win a copy of You Fascinate Me So via this Facebook and Blog contest, you must complete the following task by Saturday, June 6 at 7PM EST. We will pick TWO WINNERS via a random drawing and announce them here and on Facebook on Sunday, June 7.

ALSO: If you’re on Twitter and want more chances to win, visit us at @ClassicMovieHub for additional giveaways — because we’ll be giving away FOUR MORE books there as well! 

cy coleman at the piano

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ENTRY TASK to be completed by Saturday, June 6 at 7PM EST…

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

THE QUESTION:

Who is one of your favorite ‘pop standards’ singer and why? 

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Please note that only Continental United States (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and the territory of Puerto Rico) AND Canadian residents are eligible to enter this giveaway contest. (see contest rules for further information)

BlogHub members ARE also eligible to win if they live within the Continental United States or Canada (as noted above).

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About the book:  He penned songs such as Witchcraft and The Best Is Yet to Come (signature tunes for Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, respectively) and wrote such musicals as Sweet Charity, I Love My Wife, On the Twentieth Century, and The Will Rogers Follies yet his life has gone entirely unexplored until now. You Fascinate Me So takes readers into the world and work of Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winning composer/performer Cy Coleman, exploring his days as a child prodigy in the 1930s, his time as a hot jazz pianist and early television celebrity in the 1950s, and his life as one of Broadways preeminent composers. This first-time biography of Coleman has been written with the full cooperation of his estate, and it is filled with previously unknown details about his body of work. Additionally, interviews with colleagues and friends, including Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Ken Howard, Michele Lee, James Naughton, Bebe Neuwirth, Hal Prince, Chita Rivera, and Tommy Tune, provide insight into Colemans personality and career.

You can follow Applause Books on twitter at @ApplauseBooks.

And if you can’t wait to win the book, you can buy it here (click image):

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

Posted in Books, Contests & Giveaways, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged | 2 Comments

In Celebration of National Classic Movie Day: “My Favorite Classic Movie” Blogathon — You Can’t Take It With You

“You can’t take it with you… So what good is it? As near as I can see, the only thing you can take with you is the love of your friends.”  
-Grandpa Vanderhoff

You can't take it with you

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Anyone who knows me, knows that “You Can’t Take It With You” is one of my all-time favorite movies. And, although I’ve seen it described many times as  ’zany,’ ‘madcap’ and ‘a screwball comedy’ (and it is) — for me it’s a profoundly moving film that is as relevant today as it was over 75 years ago when it was first released on the Big Screen.

So what is it about this film that tugs at my heart strings?  Well, it’s a combination of things – Frank Capra’s signature direction (need I say more?), Robert Riskin’s touching screenplay (moves me vastly more than the Pulitzer Prize winning play), the stellar cast and their exquisitely heartfelt performances — and most of all – the messages and themes throughout the film. In a nutshell, this film makes me think… It makes me think about life, love, family, home, power, money, work…about enjoying the little things in life, trusting in the Almighty, and being thankful.  And all this within the framework of a fun, charming and quite zany screwball comedy.

So first, a little bit about the film, for those of you who haven’t seen it yet…

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you can't take it with you castLionel Barrymore, James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Edward Arnold

Featured Cast:
Jean Arthur as Alice Sycamore
James Stewart as Tony Kirby
Lionel Barrymore as Grandpa Martin Vanderhof
Edward Arnold as Anthony P. Kirby
Mary Forbes as Mrs. Anthony P. Kirby
Ann Miller as Essie Carmichael (Alice’s sister)
Spring Byington as Penny Sycamore (Alice’s mom)
Mischa Auer as Essie’s dancing teacher

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James stewart, jean arthur and frank capra behind the scenes in you can't take it with youJames Stewart, Jean Arthur and Frank Capra on the set

Synopsis:  Stenographer Alice Sycamore (Jean Arthur) is in love with her boss Tony Kirby (James Stewart) who is VP of a family business run by his father, business mogul Anthony P. Kirby (Edward Arnold). When Tony proposes marriage to Alice, the powerful and rich Kirbys must meet Alice’s family, the good-natured and eccentric Sycamores — whose patriarch is the easy-going Grandpa Vanderhof (Lionel Barrymore) who walked out on his job 35 years ago because he just ‘wasn’t having any fun’. The snobbish Mr. and Mrs. Kirby (Mary Forbes) think that Alice and her family spell trouble and are non-too-enthused about the engagement. When the Kirbys visit the Sycamores on the wrong night (thanks to Tony who wants his parents to see the Sycamores as they really are), chaos ensues and everyone inadvertently ends up in jail. While in jail, Kirby finds out that Grandpa’s house is the last obstacle standing between him and a huge munitions deal that will make Kirby even richer and more powerful. But if Grandpa gives in and sells his home to Kirby, it will have a domino effect on the community that will be devastating to his neighbors. While the Kirbys and Sycamores stand before the judge, some ‘telling’ words are exchanged and Alice breaks her engagement with Tony. Alice flees the city, leaving Tony and her beloved family behind…  I won’t tell you how the story ends, but suffice it to say that this is a Frank Capra film after all (nuff said)…

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Frank Capra receives the Academy Award for You Can't Take it With YouFrank Capra receives Best Director Oscar in 1939 at the 11th Annual Academy Awards

Two Oscar Wins:
Best Film and Best Director (Frank Capra)
Five More Oscar Nominations:
Best Supporting Actress (Spring Byington), Best Screenplay (writing) (Robert Riskin), Best Cinematography (Joseph Walker), Best Sound (recording) (John P. Livadary) and Best Film Editing (Gene Havlick)

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Now, I’d like to share some of my favorite scenes and quotes from the movie…

Love of power and money:

You Can't Take It With You Edward Arnold as Anthony P. KirbyBusiness mogul Anthony P. Kirby… with great power comes great ulcers…

AP: It’ll be the largest individual monopoly in the world gentlemen, if we’re smart.

AP: $10,000 a year for doctors and I’m still taking this stuff. (bicarbonate of soda)

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james stewart and edward arnold, you can't take it with youFather and son at the office…

AP: Say, Tony, do you realize there won’t be a bullet, gun or cannon
made in this country without us?
Tony: Dad, now don’t tell me you’ve forgotten the sling shot market.

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Follow your passion:

You Can't Take It With You, Mr. Poppins, Donald Meeks and Lionel BarrymorGrandpa Vanderhof strikes up a conversation with worker-bee Mr. Poppins (Donald Meek)…

Grandpa Vanderhof: You like this?
Mr. Poppins: Like it?
Grandpa Vanderhof: This work you’re doing?
Mr. Poppins: Oh no, my goodness, no. Landsakes, what am I saying?
Grandpa Vanderhof: Then why do you do it?… Isn’t there something else you’d rather be doing than this? 

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You Can't Take It With You, Mr. Poppins, Donald Meeks and Lionel BarrymorHow many times have we all said ‘someday’…

Grandpa Vanderhoff: What do you mean, fooling around with all these dull figures? Seems to me Mr. Poppins, that THIS is the kind of work
you ought to be doing (inventing things).
Mr. Poppins: Someday I’m going to do nothing else,
someday…when my ship comes in…

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Falling in love:

you can't take it with you, jean arthurTony proposes…

Tony: I talked about you so much that she (mother) finally said ‘well now the next thing I expect to hear from you is that you’re going to marry the girl’
and I said ‘yah, that’s it exactly!’
Alice: What’d she say?
Tony: Nothing, nothing.
Alice: Just fainted dead away?
Tony: No, no, no she took it standing up…
Tony: You know if you scratch under the surface here
you’ll find a proposal lying around…

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You Can't Take it With You, Lionel Barrymore and Jean ArthurAlice reveals to Grandpa that she’s in love…

Grandpa: Can’t even talk about him, can you?
Alice: Not rationally.
Grandpa: Well, who’s asking you to be rational?

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Love of family:

You Can't Take it With You, Lionel Barrymore and Jean ArthurSpecial moment between Grandpa and Granddaughter… 

Grandpa: Listen, when I was courting your Grandmother, it took me two years to propose. You know why? The moment she’d walk into a room, my knees buckled. Blood would rush up into my head and the walls would start to dance.
Twice I keeled over in a dead faint.

Grandpa: I never got over it either. Right up to the very last, she couldn’t walk into a room without my heart going thump, thump, thump.

Alice: I wish I’d known her. What was she like?
Grandpa: Look in there (points to mirror).

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Love of  house and home…

You Can't Take it With You, Lionel Barrymore and Jean ArthurAppreciating loved ones and their beloved home…

Grandpa Vanderhoff: I can still hear the tinkle of her thin little voice, see her eyes laughing. That’s the reason I’ve lived in this house so many years — could never move out — would be like moving out on grandma.

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Appreciation of life and trust in the Almighty:

you can't take it with you, Grandpa Vanderhof saying graceGrandpa giving thanks…

Grandpa: Well, Sir, here we are again. We’ve been getting along pretty good for quite a while now – we’re certainly much obliged. Remember all we ask is just to go along the way we are, keep our health; as far as anything else is concerned, we leave that up to you. Thank you.

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Being happy:

You can't take it with you, ann miller dancingAlice’s sister Essie practices her dancing while her dance teacher looks on…

Grandpa Vanderhof: How’s Essie doing?
Boris Kolenkhov: Confidentially, she stinks.
Grandpa Vanderhof: Oh well, as long as she’s happy.

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Business and class distinction:

you can't take it with you, the kirbys come to visitThe Kirbys come to visit…

Grandpa Vanderhof: How are business conditions?
AP: Well, it depends what side of the fence you’re on.

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you can't take it with you, alice and mrs kirby in jailThe snobby Mrs. Kirby’s disdain for the ‘lowly’ Alice…

Mrs. Anthony Kirby: If you had any sense, young woman, you’d stay where you belong
and stop being ambitious!

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 Love of children, albeit mis-guided:

you can't take it with you, mary forbes and edward arnoldA concerned Mrs. Anthony Kirby…

AP: The girl’s a stenographer. Boys like Tony don’t marry stenographers.
Mrs. Kirby: Anthony, we’ve got to do something about this girl!

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you can't take it with you, james stewart and edward arnoldFather and son… in jail…

Tony: Now listen Dad, I intend to marry that girl.
AP: Yeah, I know, I know, I was going to marry a waitress once. Fortunately
my father knocked it out of me.

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Love of what’s really important…

you can't take it with you, edward arnold and lionel barrymore in jailAP and Grandpa… in jail…

AP: You know what’ll happen if the newspapers get a hold of this. It’ll jeopardize the biggest deal of my career!

Grandpa Vanderhof: And what if it does fall through? What if all your deals fall through? Might be a good thing for you.
Anthony P. Kirby: Man, you’re crazy.
Grandpa Vanderhof: Well, maybe I am. I used to be just like you once. Then one morning, when I was going up in the elevator… it struck me I wasn’t having any fun. So I came right down and I never went back. Yes, sir. That was 35 years ago.
Anthony P. Kirby: Admirable. And you haven’t done anything since huh?
Grandpa Vanderhof: Oh yes, yes, yes… Oh just the things I wanted to do… collected stamps, went to the zoo when I got the notion, took up the harmonica, and even found time to notice when spring came around…

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‘Telling it like it is’:

you can't take it with you, edward arnold and lionel barrymore in jailGrandpa loses his cool…

Grandpa Vanderhof: Scum, are we? What makes you think you’re such a superior human being? Your money? If you do, you’re a dull-witted fool, Mr. Kirby. And a poor one at that. You’re poorer than any of these people you call scum, because I’ll guarantee at least they’ve got some friends. While you with your jungle and your long claws, as you call ‘em, you’ll wind up your miserable existence without anything you can call friend. You may be a high mogul to yourself, Mr. Kirby, but to me you’re a failure – failure as a man, failure as a human being, even a failure as a father. When your time comes, I doubt if a single tear will be shed over you. The world will probably cry, “Good riddance.” That’s a nice prospect, Mr. Kirby. I hope you’ll enjoy it. I hope you’ll get some comfort out of all this coin you’ve been sweating over then!

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 Having good friends:

you can't take it with you, harry davenportGrandpa’s friends come to the rescue and pay his fine… 

Judge (Harry Davenport): Mr. Vanderhof, you’re a very lucky man to have so many friends.

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Doing the right thing:

you can't take it with you, lionel barrymore before the judgeGrandpa tries to save the day…

Grandpa Vanderhof: Your Honor, please… Mr. Kirby came to see me
about buying my house…
Judge: About buying your house?
Grandpa Vanderhof: Yes, you see, he’s been interested in the property for some time now and, well he just came there to talk the deal over, that’s all.

 …..

Family honor and self-respect:

you can't take it with you, jean arthur gets angryAlice has had enough!

Grandpa, I won’t stand for it! I won’t stand for our being humiliated like this! They’re ashamed to say why they were there. They’re ashamed to admit they came to look my family over to see if I was good enough to marry their precious son!

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Standing up for yourself:

you can't take it with you, jean arthur gets angry 2Alice breaks her engagement

Alice: You know I’ve decided it’s your family that isn’t good enough! Why I wouldn’t be related to a bunch of snobs like that for anything in the world. Your mother’s all in a dither because of her social reputation.
The Crowd: That’s telling them Alice. Who do they think they are!
Alice: Your reputation’s safe as far as I’m concerned – and so is your son’s — and so is your old man’s!

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Painful goodbyes and heartfelt remorse:

you can't take it with you, james stewart says goodbye to edward arnoldFather and Son, a heartfelt goodbye…

Tony Kirby: I came in here to say goodbye.
Anthony P. Kirby: Goodbye? Are you serious?
Tony Kirby: Yes I’m serious. I don’t want any part of this, Dad. I never did.
Anthony P. Kirby: You can’t do this — after all the plans I made for you…
Tony Kirby: Dad, if I can just make you understand this… I think this business is great — it’s good for you because you like it. I don’t and I never will. Oh, I… I’ve tried to talk to you so many times about it, but I… I just couldn’t get it out. I… I used to be able to talk to you dad, but lately… (he’s at a loss for words) I’ll probably be gone before you get home tonight. Goodbye Dad.

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And ‘fast forward’ to a Happy Frank Capra Ending :)

you can't take it with you final sceneAnd Grandpa says one Final Thank You…

Grandpa Vanderhof: Well, sir, here we are again. We’ve had quite a time of it lately, but it seems that the worst of it is over… Anyway, everything’s turned out fine, as it usually does. Alice is going to marry Tony; Mr. Kirby, who’s turned out to be a very good egg, sold us back our house – he’ll probably forget all about big deals for a while. Nobody on our block has to move; and, with the right handling, I think we can even thaw out Mrs. Kirby here. We’ve all got our health; as far as anything else is concerned, we still leave that up to you. Thank you…

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This post is part of the My Favorite Classic Movie Blogathon in celebration of National Classic Movie Day (May 16th). Click here to view the schedule listing all the great posts in this blogathon.

A big Thank You to @classic_film of Classic Film and TV Cafe  for hosting this wonderful blogathon event! There are so many more wonderful Classic Bloggers participating in this event so please be sure to check out the other entries.

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

Posted in Blogathons, Films, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

The Epic and Western J.M. Harrison Book Giveaway (via Facebook and Blog, May)

“Ready When You Are CB” and “Head ‘Em Off at the Pass” Book Giveaway
Qualifying Entry Task for our Facebook/Blog Contest

We’re ready for our next contest! This time we’ll be giving away ONE COPY EACH of J. M. Harrison’s Ready When You Are, C.B.!: 98 Epic Films You Need To Watch and Head `Em Off At the Pass!: 94 Westerns You Should Watch via this Blog and Facebook — courtesy of the author himself, J.M. Harrison!  And — they will be autographed!

In order to qualify to win one of these books via this Blog/Facebook contest giveaway, you must complete the following task by Saturday, May 30 at 7PM EST. Two winners will be picked via a random drawing and announced here on this Blog and on Facebook on Sunday, May 31st.

If you’re also on Twitter and want more chances to win, visit us at @ClassicMovieHub for additional giveaways — because we’ll be giving away FOUR more Books there as well (two of each)! 

j_m_harrison_side_by_side_400

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ENTRY TASK to be completed by Saturday, May 30 at 7PM EST…

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

THE QUESTION:

What is one of your favorite movie Epics and why? 

Please note that only Continental United States residents (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and the territory of Puerto Rico) are eligible to enter this giveaway contest. (see contest rules for further information)

BlogHub members ARE also eligible to win if they live within the Continental United States (as noted above).

You can follow J.M. Harrison at @JMHarrisonBooks 

About the books:

‘Head `Em Off At the Pass: Following a foreword by Western legend Hugh O’Brian, Harrison delves into nearly one hundred motion pictures of the genre. He does not state these are the greatest, merely why a person interested in Westerns should watch these particular films. In doing so, he goes over the synopsis and cast, adding an analysis and history of each movie, with anecdotes by legendary stuntman Jack N. Young whenever possible. Along the way, the reader meets Western stalwarts such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, John Ford, Clint Eastwood and Sam Peckinpah, along with those who don’t get as much notice: Glenn Ford, Joel McCrea, William S. Hart, Harry Carey, Walter Huston, Burt Kennedy, George Marshall, and scores of others involved in bringing the Western to the screen. With more than four hundred photos, ‘Head `Em Off At the Pass!’ is a treat for movie fans.

Ready When You Are CB: While the epic film has been around for decades, J.M. Harrison points out there are countless facets to it, being more than spectacle, battles, Cecil B. DeMille, and Charlton Heston. He includes works by Samuel Bronston, Francis Ford Coppola, William Wyler, Alexander Korda, Sam Zimbalist, and starring Robert Duvall, Claudette Colbert, Montgomery Clift, Eva Marie Saint, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter O’Toole, Steve McQueen and many others. Along the way, Harrison delves into what it is that makes the epic special to film lovers everywhere, covering nearly one hundred of the genre. He lets the reader know why each one listed is a necessity for a movie lover to watch.

If you can’t wait to win the books, you can purchase them on amazon via the below link (click on images):

     

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Books, Contests & Giveaways, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

From a Lord to a Queen: Katharine Hepburn Blogathon

From a Lord to a Queen:
Katharine Hepburn

The-Lion-in-Winter-posterKatharine Hepburn, Peter O’Toole and Anthony Hopkins star in The Lion in Winter (1968, Anthony Harvey director)

It only makes sense that The Great Katharine Hepburn would take on the role as the cunning matriarch of England’s most dysfunctional family: The ruling house Angevin of 12th century England. From the start of her over 60-year career, the educated and well-bred New Englander has always specialized in playing flawed characters from high society. From the Tomboy-ish Joe in Little Women to the royal Mary of Scotland, the seat of social and political power always seemed a natural fit for this fiercely independent woman. So, for her to play the historically great Eleanor of Aquitaine seemed as natural a fit as gem stones on the crown.

But for me, well, I also saw something else in her portrayal of the Queen consort – something of an evolution. Yes, while watching The Lion in Winter I couldn’t help but see some parallels to another one of Hepburn’s most celebrated roles: Tracy Lord from The Philadelphia Story.  Although America has no true royalty, the wealthy have always occupied a similar position of national revere. They are quite literally in a class of their own, separated from the daily drudgery of the working stiffs and the blue collared. So, in many ways the Lord family in The Philadelphia Story is the contemporary American version of the medieval House of Angevins. Sure, the Lords are maybe a tad less murderous than the Royals, but a similar a web of lies, love, and deceit entangles them both – with Hepburn at the center of it all.

 katharine hepburn 2Or, you know, a little off center.

The first similarity between the Lord and the Queen I noticed seems pretty obvious: their deliciously complicated love lives. Yes, certainly no one can call the love lives of Tracy Lord and Eleanor of Aquitaine boring. Not only do both women love equally complicated men, but they are both equally conflicted about it, as well. To me, Eleanor and Henry are the natural evolution of Tracy Lord and C.K Dexter Haven – what happens to a happy couple when the camera stops rolling and the story continues.

In The Lion in Winter it is clear that Eleanor loves Henry, albeit in her own twisted, bitter way. She gladly flaunts her promiscuous reputation to his face, going as far as to ask her beloved husband, “I wonder…do you ever wonder…if I ever slept with your father.” She wants to hurt him, that much is clear and who wouldn’t, when your husband imprisoned you after a failed rebellion. Hey, I told you it was complicated. Things become even more complicated when Eleanor asks her dear Henry and his mistress/possible future daughter-in-law to kiss in front of her. To hurt and be hurt is the type of love the royal couple share, a constant battle of not only their wits, but their hearts as well. To hurt one another is almost the same as to love one another in this twisted game of thrones. Don’t believe me – then just watch the clip below. It follows immediately after the kiss and is one of my personal favorite monologues ever to captured in film.

THE QUEEN LAMENTING

To me, this is Tracy Lord in 25 years.  Once the magic of the second wedding has faded and the flaws of Dexter Haven once again fill the foreground of her life, she will take the most delicious pleasure in hurting him once again. And Haven will give just as good as he gets, he’s simply too proud not to…much like our dear King Henry II.

The other point of similarity I saw in Tracy and Eleanor was their imprisonment. While Eleanor was the less lucky of the two, literally imprisoned between brick and mortar, Tracy faced her own self-made prison – the prison of strength. Yes, if there was one thing that Tracy Lord couldn’t stand, it was the weakness of men. She saw herself as something of a pillar of strength surround by the weak-willed and the liquored-up. It took the entire film for her to realize this and, in truth, I think it’s something so ingrained in her character that if a sequel is made tomorrow (and the way Hollywood is today – maybe it will), Tracy Lord would be just as strong-willed and judgmental as ever…much like Eleanor of Aquitaine.

the-lion-in-winter3Since when do they allow crowns in prison?

The only difference is, by this time in her life, Eleanor understands the weakness of man and uses that to her advantage. Rather than cast-away those whose flaws consumes them, she is much happier getting to know them and how they have come to have such great power over man. And once she knows that, she strikes. Yes, if The Philadelphia Story II were to come out today, I could only hope Tracy would be free of her self-made prison of ideals and act like the Queen she clearly was meant to be.

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A Big Thank You to Margaret Perry for hosting this wonderful Katharine Hepburn Blogathon.  Please don’t forget to check out the other fabulous Blogathon entries via the above link!

–Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Blogathons, Posts by Minoo Allen | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“You Fascinate Me So: The Life and Times of Cy Coleman” Book Giveaway (via Twitter May 11 through June 6)

“You Fascinate Me So” Book Giveaway
Qualifying Entry Task for our Twitter Contest

“Witchcraft,” “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” “Big Spender,” “Hey, Look Me Over,” “The Best is Yet to Come”…

In celebration of composer Cy Coleman’s birthday next month on June 14, I am happy to announce that CMH will be giving away FOUR copies of  You Fascinate Me So: The Life and Times of Cy Coleman by Andy Propst on Twitter this month (May 11 – June 6), courtesy of Applause Books!

You Fascinate Me So: The Life and Times of Cy Coleman, book

In order to qualify to win a copy of You Fascinate Me So via this Twitter contest, you must complete the following task by Saturday, June 6 at 7PM EST. However, the sooner you enter, the better chance you have of winning, because we will pick a winner on four different days within the contest period, via random drawings, as listed below… So if you don’t win the first week that you enter, you will still be eligible to win during the following weeks until the contest is over.

  • Saturday, May 16: One Winner
  • Saturday, May 23: One Winner
  • Saturday, May 30: One Winner
  • Saturday, June 6: One Winner

We will announce the winner(s) on Twitter, the day after each winner is picked at 9PM EST (for example, we will announce the first winner on Sunday May 17 at 9PM EST on Twitter). If you’re also on Facebook and want more chances to win, visit us at Classic Movie Hub on Facebook for additional giveaways — because we’ll be giving away TWO books there as well!

cy coleman at the piano

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ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, June 6 at 7PM EST — BUT remember, the sooner you enter, the more chances you have to win…

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

2) Then TWEET (not DM) the following message:
Just entered to win “You Fascinate Me So: The Life and Times of Cy Coleman” courtesy of @ClassicMovieHub & @ApplauseBooks #BookGiveaway

THE QUESTION:
What is your favorite Cy Coleman song, and why? 

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Please note that only Continental United States (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and the territory of Puerto Rico) AND Canadian residents are eligible to enter this giveaway contest. (see contest rules for further information)

BlogHub members ARE also eligible to win if they live within the Continental United States or Canada (as noted above).

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About the book:  He penned songs such as Witchcraft and The Best Is Yet to Come (signature tunes for Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, respectively) and wrote such musicals as Sweet Charity, I Love My Wife, On the Twentieth Century, and The Will Rogers Follies yet his life has gone entirely unexplored until now. You Fascinate Me So takes readers into the world and work of Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winning composer/performer Cy Coleman, exploring his days as a child prodigy in the 1930s, his time as a hot jazz pianist and early television celebrity in the 1950s, and his life as one of Broadways preeminent composers. This first-time biography of Coleman has been written with the full cooperation of his estate, and it is filled with previously unknown details about his body of work. Additionally, interviews with colleagues and friends, including Marilyn and Alan Bergman, Ken Howard, Michele Lee, James Naughton, Bebe Neuwirth, Hal Prince, Chita Rivera, and Tommy Tune, provide insight into Colemans personality and career.

You can follow Applause Books on twitter at @ApplauseBooks.

And if you can’t wait to win the book, you can buy it here (click image):

…..

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

Posted in Books, Contests & Giveaways, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Classic Movie Travels: The Bing Crosby Collection

 Bing’s Spokane and  Gonzaga University…

I’d like to take us to the Pacific Northwest to explore the life of an iconic crooner—Tacoma’s Bing Crosby.

Bing, or Harry Lillis Crosby Jr., was the fourth of seven children born to brewery bookkeeper Harry Lillis Crosby Sr. and his wife, Catherine, in 1904.  The family lived in a home their father built at 1112 North J. Street in Tacoma, Washington. However, the family moved from Tacoma to Spokane in 1906, which is where Harry Jr. was primarily raised.

In 1917, Bing took a summer job as a property boy at Spokane’s “Auditorium,” where he witnessed some of the finest acts of the day. While Crosby graduated from Gonzaga High School in 1920, and enrolled in Gonzaga University’s law program, thereafter, he did not complete his Bachelor’s degree. Instead, Crosby became more interested in playing drums and singing with the local band. The group was largely comprised of high school students a few years younger than himself. They dubbed themselves the Musicaladers and performed at dances for high school students and clubgoers. The group also performed on the Spokane-based KHQ radio station, but disbanded after two years.

Bing Crosby, with the Musicaladers The Musicaladers

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By 1925, Crosby had formed a vocal duo with partner Al Rinker, brother of singer Mildred Bailey. Bailey introduced Rinker and Crosby to Paul Whiteman, who was at that time America’s most famous bandleader. Hired for $150 a week in 1926, they made their debut on December 6 at the Tivoli Theatre in Chicago. As the 1930s unfolded, Crosby became one of the leading singers in America. Ten of the top 50 songs for 1931 featured Crosby, either solo or with others. He would appear in 79 pictures, and signed a long-term deal with Jack Kapp’s new record company Decca in late 1934.

Crosby starred with Bob Hope and actress Dorothy Lamour in seven Road to musical comedies between 1940 and 1962, cementing the two entertainers as an on-and-off duo, despite never officially declaring themselves a “team” in the sense that Laurel and Hardy or Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were teams. The series consists of Road to Singapore (1940), Road to Zanzibar (1941), Road to Morocco (1942), Road to Utopia (1946), Road to Rio (1947), Road to Bali (1952), and The Road to Hong Kong (1962). Appearing solo, Crosby and Hope frequently made note of the other during their various appearances, typically in a comically insulting fashion, and they appeared together countless times on stage, radio, and television over the decades as well as cameos in several additional films.

Today, Spokane, houses a great deal of Bing-related history, with particular thanks to Gonzaga University. Bing’s childhood home still stands at 508 E. Sharp Avenue. The house served as the Crosby family’s home for 23 years, including when Bing attended Gonzaga High School and Gonzaga University (1914-24).

The C. P. Higgins family purchased the home from the Crosby family in 1936 for $3,600, and owned it until 1978.  The Gonzaga Alumni Association purchased the house in 1980 and used it for alumni events with staff offices upstairs until 2010, when the Alumni Association moved to the Heutter Mansion across the street.

The Crosby House is now used as office space for a couple of university departments. The home celebrated its 100th anniversary in October of 2013 with an open house party for the public.

Bing Crosby House

Bing Crosby House, Gonzaga University

gonzaga university, bing crosby houseBing’s childhood home still stands at 508 E. Sharp Avenue

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Gonzaga University also has an annual Bing Crosby Film Festival. It’s also not atypical to catch the university’s a cappella group, “The Big Bing Theory,” serenading some onlookers with a certain Berlin tune.

All the more exciting is the Crosby collection housed at Gonzaga. They have an extensive collection of original manuscripts, records, trophies, plaques, music, photographs, and so much more. The vast majority of these items were donated by Bing himself. The university’s website offers a wonderful virtual tour of the collection. If you are interested in viewing the collection, please be mindful of the building’s hours.

Four years after Bing’s passing, the town dedicated a statue to Bing Crosby on the grounds of Gonzaga’s campus. Crosby’s widow, Kathryn, was in attendance for the dedication, and Bob Hope also took part in the ceremony via phone, being telecast over a loudspeaker. The statue is situated outside the Crosby Student Center and portrays Bing in his familiar hat, with a golf bag and clubs at his feet. The statue will also occasionally feature him smoking a pipe. However, the pipe is now used only for special events, because pranksters like to steal it. Now the pipe can be unscrewed for safe-keeping and re-attached when needed.

Bing Crosby Statue

Bing Crosby Statue, close upThe Bing Crosby statue  is situated outside the Crosby Student Center on the grounds of Gonzaga University’s campus.

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Bing remembered Spokane as his hometown, and he had deep ties with his alma mater, from which he received an honorary doctorate. During his life, and after his death, Crosby had donated over a million dollars to Gonzaga and Gonzaga High School. Bing had a deep appreciation for the education he received, and the faculty he had the opportunity to meet at Gonzaga.

In the mid-1950s, Gonzaga was in need of a library building, and Bing was a major financial supporter. He contributed to the library building campaign by organizing a television show and giving the production rights to Gonzaga to secure funds for the library. The show, starring Bing, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Bob Hope, and Rosemary Clooney, was sponsored by the Ford Motor Company to introduce its new “car of the future.” The Bing Crosby Edsel Show, aired on CBS on October 13, 1957 and received an Emmy Award.  Although sponsored by the Ford Company, Crosby was able to remind his nation-wide audience that he was a “Gonzaga man” through some skits.

He raised $700,000 for the library, dedicating it with the following words: “If I am any kind of a success here or in show business, it is the result of the time I spent at Gonzaga in the elocution, the debating and the dramatic societies….  If I am a good Catholic, and I hope I am, it is directly attributable to the influence of the good priests here; and if I am successful, it is because of what I learned here…. I am tremendously grateful and I love this school and the people here.”

bing_crosby_plaque_inscription

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The library was later redesigned as the Crosby student center, as a need for more space and technology was met with a new building decades later.

Crosby’s career and legacy are extremely well-documented in Spokane. As affluent as he became, Bing never forgot his beginnings, and was quick to give back to the town in which he grew up. I highly encourage a visit to his alma mater which has done a phenomenal job of preserving Bing’s legacy, and has so readily shared their collection with countless visitors. I doubt Bing would ever have asked for more.

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–Annette Bochenek for Classic Movie Hub

Annette Bochenek is an independent scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age and Travel Writer for Classic Movie Hub. You can read more about Annette’s Classic Movie Travels atHometowns to Hollywood

 

Posted in Posts by Annette Bochenek, Travel Sites | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Epic and Western J.M. Harrison Book Giveaway (May Twitter Contest)

“Ready When You Are CB” and “Head ‘Em Off at the Pass” Book Giveaway
Qualifying Entry Task for Twitter Contest

Yes, it’s May, and time for another contest! This time we’ll be giving away TWO COPIES EACH of J. M. Harrison’s Ready When You Are, C.B.!: 98 Epic Films You Need To Watch and Head `Em Off At the Pass!: 94 Westerns You Should Watch via Twitter — courtesy of the author himself, J.M. Harrison!  And — they will be autographed!

In order to qualify for to win one of these books via this Twitter contest giveaway, you must complete the following task by Saturday, May 30 at 7PM EST. However, the sooner you enter, the better chance you have of winning, because we will pick a winner on four different days within the contest period, via random drawings, as listed below… So if you don’t win the first week that you enter, you will still be eligible to win during the following weeks until the contest is over.

  • Saturday, May 9: “Ready When You Are CB” One Winner
  • Saturday, May 16: “Head ‘Em Off at the Pass” One Winner
  • Saturday, May 23: “Ready When You Are CB” One Winner
  • Saturday, May 30: “Head ‘Em Off at the Pass” One Winner

We will announce the winner(s) on Twitter, the day after each winner is picked at 8PM EST (for example, we will announce the first winner on Sunday May 10 at 8PM EST on Twitter). If you’re also on Facebook and want more chances to win, visit us at Classic Movie Hub on Facebook for additional CD giveaways — because we’ll be giving away TWO more books there as well!

j_m_harrison_side_by_side_400

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ENTRY TASK (2-parts) to be completed by Saturday, May 30 at 7PM EST — BUT remember, the sooner you enter, the more chances you have to win…

1) Answer the below question via the comment section at the bottom of this blog post

2) Then TWEET (not DM) the following message:
Just entered to win a J.M. Harrison Classic Movie Book courtesy of @ClassicMovieHub and @JMHarrisonBooks #BookGiveaway

THE QUESTION:
What is one of your favorite Westerns and why? 

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Please note that only Continental United States residents (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and the territory of Puerto Rico) are eligible to enter this giveaway contest. (see contest rules for further information)

BlogHub members ARE also eligible to win if they live within the Continental United States (as noted above).

You can follow J.M. Harrison at @JMHarrisonBooks 

And if you can’t wait to win the books, you can purchase them on amazon via the below link (click on images):

     

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Books, Contests & Giveaways, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Shorts, A Tiny Blogathon: What’s Opera Doc?

 

Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit!

Okay, anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a huge Looney Tunes fan — so how happy am I to be writing about “What’s Opera, Doc?” for this Tiny Blogathon? Well, I’m smiling right now — and I haven’t even begun watching the cartoon yet!

Elmer Fudd sings I'm going to kill the wabbit, Chuck Jones Exhibit Museum of Movie ImageThe determined Elmer Fudd… declaring “I’m going to kill the wabbit!

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So, why do I love this cartoon? This wonderful little Chuck Jones masterpiece elevates the classic Bugs Bunny / Elmer Fudd storyline into a majestic operatic drama — yet it is soooo cleverly done, that it is also incredibly silly (in the best sense of the word) and laugh-out-loud funny. It has it all — it’s got drama, it’s got wuv (oops, I mean love), it’s got ‘tragedy’… it’s got arias, recitatives — and even a ballet! What more could you want from a cartoon opera? :)

Background Info: What’s Opera, Doc? (1957) is widely considered Chuck Jones’ magnum opus. It condenses Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle (14 hours of opera) plus parts of The Flying Dutchman, Tannhauser, and Rienzi into a six-minute cartoon. It parodies the use of classical music in Disney’s 1940 feature Fantasia, and its humor comes, not from the ‘gags’, but from the incongruity of the characters’ personalities in the setting.

Starring:

  • Bugs Bunny: the Wabbit, and in disguise, as Valkyrie Brunnhilde (voiced by Mel Blanc)
  • Elmer Fudd: the demigod Siegfried (voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan except for the word ‘SMOG’ which was voiced by Mel Blanc)

Production:  What’s Opera, Doc? took longer than any other cartoon Jones made for Warner Brothers. Jones would usually make about 300 character layout drawings for a cartoon, but he made nearly 500 for this one, with an additional 1,500 rough sketches. (source: The Museum of the Movie Image)

Accolades:

  • In 1992, What’s Opera, Doc? became the first animated short to be selected for preservation in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. Later, two more Chuck Jones’ shorts (Duck Amuck and One Froggy Evening) were also inducted, making Jones the only animator with three shorts in the Registry.
  • In 1994, What’s Opera, Doc? was named the #1 greatest cartoon of all time by 1,000 members of the animation field (The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals

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And, now for my favorite part, some screen grabs and quotes:

What's Opera Doc, opening scene(the majestic opening scene)

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What's Opera Doc, opening scene 2(then we pan down to see…)

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What's Opera Doc, Be vewwy quiet. I'm hunting wabbits!Elmer: Be vewwy quiet. I’m hunting wabbits!

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what's opera doc, wabbit tracksElmer: Wabbit tracks!

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What's Opera Doc, Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!Elmer: Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!

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What's Up Doc, Kill the wabbit???Bugs: Kill the wabbit???

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What's Opera Doc, Elmer and BugsElmer: Yoho-towho! Yoho-towho! Yoho-towho! Yoho…

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What's Opera Doc, Oh mighty warrior of great fighting stock, might I inquire to ask, ehh, What's Up Doc?Bugs: Oh mighty warrior of great fighting stock, might I inquire to ask, ehh, What’s Up Doc?

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What's Opera Doc,  I'm going to kill the wabbit!Elmer: I’m going to kill the wabbit!

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What's Opera Doc, Oh mighty hunter, t'will be quite a task. How will you do it, might I inquire to ask?Bugs: Oh mighty hunter, t’will be quite a task. How will you do it, might I inquire to ask?

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What's Opera Doc,  I will do it with my spear and magic helmet!(the recitative…)

Elmer: I will do it with my spear and magic helmet!
Bugs: Your spear and magic helmet?
Elmer: Spear and magic helmet!
Bugs: Magic helmet?
Elmer: Magic helmet!
Bugs: Magic helmet.

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What's Opera Doc, Yes, magic helmet and I'll give you a sample.Elmer: Yes, magic helmet and I’ll give you a sample.

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What's Up Opera, Bugs Bunny in rain

What's Opera Doc, lightning strikes

What's Opera Doc, Yes, magic helmet and I'll give you a sample.Bugs: Bye-yeee!

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What's Opera Doc, That was the wabbit!Elmer: That was the wabbit!

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What's Opera Doc, Elmer chasing Bugs(and the chase begins)

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What's Opera Doc, Bugs running from Elmer

until…

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What's Opera Doc, Elmer stunned as he sees the lovely Brunhilde (bugs bunny)(Elmer sees…)

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What's Opera Doc, long shot of bugs bunny as Brunhilde(the wovely Bwoon Hilda)

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What's Opera Doc, bugs bunny as Brunhilde

what's opera doc, Oh Bwoon Hilda, be my love.Elmer: Oh Bwoon Hilda, you’re so wovely.

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what's opera doc, bugs bunny as brunhildeBrunnhilde: Yes I know it. I can’t help it.

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Oh Bwoon Hilda, be my love.Elmer: Oh Bwoon Hilda, be my love.

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what's opera doc, ballet, elmer and bug

what's opera doc, ballet, elmer and bug

what's opera doc, ballet, elmer fudd

what's opera doc, ballet, bugs bunny

what's opera doc, ballet, elmer fudd(the beautiful ballet :)

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what's opera doc, bugs runs up stairs to temple

what's opera doc, return my love, elmer fudd sings(and now, the aria…)

Elmer: Weturn, my wove. A wonging burns deep inside me.

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what's opera doc, return my love, bugs bunny

Brunnhilde: Return, my love. I want you always beside me.

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what's opera doc, return my love, elmer singingElmer: Wove wike ours must be…

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what's opera doc, return my love, bugs bunny singingBrunnhilde:  Made for you and for me

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what's opera doc, aria Return My Love, duet with elmer fudd and bugs bunnyBrunnhilde and Elmer: Return. Won’t you return my love. For my love is yours.

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what's opera doc, bugs bunny loses wig and helmet

what's opera doc, bugs bunny loses wig and helmet(uh-oh…)

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Elmer: I'll kill the wabbit! Elmer: I’ll kill the wabbit!

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I'll kill the wabbit! Awise storm! North wind bwow! South wind bwow! Elmer: Awise storm! North wind bwow! South wind bwow! Typhoons! Huwwicanes! Earthquakes! SMOG!!!

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what's opera doc, lightningElmer: Strike Lightning! Strike the rabbit!

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What have I done? I've killed the wabbit.Elmer: What have I done? I’ve killed the wabbit.

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Poor wittle bunny. Poor wittle wabbit. Elmer: Poor wittle bunny. Poor wittle wabbit. (sobbing)

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what's opera doc, ending scene

what's opera doc, ending scene 2

what's opera doc, Well, what did you expect in an opera, a happy ending?Bugs: Well, what did you expect in an opera, a happy ending?

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 And last, but certainly not least, some of my prized photos:

Whats Opera Doc Color Guide, Chuck Jones ExhibitElmer and Bugs Color Guide by Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble (The Chuck Jones Exhibit at The Museum of the Moving Image, Fall 2014)

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What's Opera Doc, Brunhilde, Bugs Bunny, sketch Chuck Jones ExhibitCharacter Layout Drawing for Bugs as ‘Brunnhilde’ (The Chuck Jones Exhibit at The Museum of the Moving Image, Fall 2014)

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What's Opera Doc, Elmer Fudd singing Bwoon HildaCharacter Layout Drawing of Elmer as ‘Siegfried’ singing ‘Bwoon Hilda’ (The Chuck Jones Exhibit at The Museum of the Moving Image, Fall 2014)

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What's Opera Doc, character layout drawing, Chuck Jones ExhibitCharacter Layout Drawing for Elmer carrying the ‘dead’ Bugs  (The Chuck Jones Exhibit at The Museum of the Moving Image, Fall 2014)

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what's opera doc, background drawingsBackground Layout Drawings:  Background Drawing/Design by Maurice Noble and Background Painting by Philip DeGuard (The Chuck Jones Exhibit at The Museum of the Moving Image, Fall 2014)

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Chuck Jones sketch from Smithsonian Institute Museum of American History“Spear and Magic Helmet” sketch (The Smithsonian Institute Museum of American History, Fall 2012)

what's opera doc, chuck jones sketch, smithsonianBugs as ‘Brunnhilde’ sketch  (The Smithsonian Institute Museum of American History, Fall 2012)

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Producer-director-artist Chuck Jones sits at the drawing table in his southern California home, 1999And, just because… Chuck Jones and some of his creations

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A Big Thank You to Movies Silently for hosting this Tiny Blogathon.  Please don’t forget to check out the other fabulous Blogathon entries!

–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in Blogathons, Cartoons, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Mini Tribute: Harry Stockwell

Born April 27, 1902 Harry Stockwell!

Singer/actor Harry Stockwell was a noted Broadway performer who made his feature film debut in 1935 in a film called Here Comes the Band. His most notable film ‘appearance’ however was as The Prince in Walt Disney’s animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).

Harry Stockwell as himself and as The Prince in Snow White and the Seven DwarfsHarry Stockwell as The Prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and as himself

“One song, my heart keeps singing, of one love only for you.”
-Harry Stockwell as The Prince in Snow White an the Seven Dwarfs

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Stockwell was married to actress and vaudeville performer, Nina Olivette, however online sources are unclear as to when and how long they were married (i.e. some sources say 1952-1971 and others say 1963-1984; this is compounded by the fact that there seems to be confusion about the date of Olivette’s death).  In any event, they had two children together — actors Guy Stockwell, and most notably, Dean Stockwell.

harry stockwell with sons guy stockwell and dean stockwell

Harry Stockwell (center) and sons Guy Stockwell (left) and Dean Stockwell (right)

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

Posted in All in the Family (Family Connections), Mini Tributes, Posts by Annmarie Gatti | Leave a comment

CMBA Blogathon: The Fabulous Films of the 30s – Follow the Fleet (1936)

The Fabulous Films of the 30′s: Follow the Fleet
starring Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and…

I distinctly remember the first time I saw Follow the Fleet.  It was many years ago, during one of those ‘vacation weeks’ between Christmas and New Years. I was staying up really late, thoroughly enjoying ‘vacation-mode’… sitting on the floor of my living room, eating marshmallow ‘circus peanuts’, and doing a tremendous jigsaw puzzle of the Sistine Chapel — while eagerly waiting to see this late-night Fred and Ginger movie on some obscure local cable channel. (isn’t it amazing how I can remember minutiae like this, and yet can forget what I had for lunch last week?)  Anyway, I was really looking forward to seeing this film for the first time, and although I was relatively sure I’d like it, I certainly had no idea that I would love it, or that it would turn out to be one of my all-time favorite Fred and Ginger films… BUT probably not for the reasons most people would think…

Follow the Fleet Movie PosterFollow the Fleet (1936, director Mark Sandrich)

“You needn’t wait up tonight mother, we’re going to Paradise”…

So why do I adore Follow the Fleet? Well, of course there’s Fred and Ginger who never cease to amaze me. I can watch them dance for hours upon hours and never get bored. And then there’s the wonderful music of Irving Berlin, which I can never get out of my head — but, seriously, who would want to? There’s also a marvelous bit part by the lovely Lucille Ball, long before anybody ‘loved’ her… However — that all said, the main reason I like this film (and I am going to duck now) is for the Harriet Hilliard / Randolph Scott storyline. Yes, I said it… the main reason I like this Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film is for the Harriet Hilliard and Randolph Scott plot.

Now, let me provide some background information about the film for those of you unfamiliar with it:

Featured Cast:

  • Fred Astaire: Bake Baker
  • Ginger Rogers: Sherry Martin
  • Randolph Scott: Bilge Smith
  • Harriet Hilliard: Connie Martin

fred astaire, ginger rogers, harriet hilliard, randolph scott, follow the fleet

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Film Origins:  Follow the Fleet was based on the 1922 play, Shore Leave, by playwright and screenwriter Hubert Osborne. The play opened on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre on August 8, 1922 and ran for 151 performances, closing in December of 1922. It was produced and staged by David Belasco, and starred James Rennie as Bilge Smith and Frances Starr as Connie Martin — it did not include any Bake Baker or Sherry Martin roles. But that’s not the end of the story… The 1922 play was adapted into the 1925 silent film, Shore Leave, starring Richard Barthelmess as Bilge and Dorothy Mackaill as Connie. In 1927, the play was once again adapted, this time into a 1927 Broadway musical called Hit the Deck with music by Vincent Youmans, and starring Charles King as Bilge and Louise Groody as Loulou (which is essentially the Connie role). The musical opened on April 25, 1927 at New York’s Belasco Theatre and ran for 352 performances, closing on Feb 25, 1928. In 1930, the musical was then adapted into a RKO film of the same name starring Jack Oakie as Bilge and Polly Walker as Looloo (yes, this time spelled Looloo). In 1936, the film Follow the Fleet was released, this time with the addition of two new main characters: Bake Baker played by Fred Astaire and Sherry Martin (Connie’s sister) played by Ginger Rogers — and with music by the incomparable Irving Berlin. But, to continue — in 1955, another film version of Hit the Deck was released, this time with a slightly different plot and differently-named characters, starring Jane Powell and Tony Martin.

1922 Shore Leave starring James Rennie

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Film Plot: Navy pals, Bake Baker and Bilge Smith, are on Shore Leave in San Francisco. At the Paradise Ballroom, Bake happily runs into his old dancing partner and flame, Sherry Martin, and Bilge first meets and rejects ‘old maid’ schoolteacher, Connie Martin (Sherry’s sister). Connie gets a startling makeover by Sherry’s friend (Lucille Ball) and accidentally-on-purpose runs into Bilge again, who is absolutely smitten with her. All goes well until Connie inadvertently talks about marriage, after which Bilge decides instead to pursue divorced socialite Iris Manning (Astrid Allwyn). As the story continues, Bake pursues Sherry again, Connie is heart-broken over Bilge — and Connie, Sherry and Bake produce a musical show to help pay up the debt Connie amassed while trying to refurbish the ship she inherited from her dad (for Bilge).

fred astaire and randolph scott on shore leave in follow the fleet

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Musical Numbers:

  • We Saw the Sea (sung by Fred Astaire)
  • Let Yourself Go (sung by Ginger Rogers backed by a trio including Betty Grable; later danced by Fred and Ginger)
  • Get Thee Behind Me, Satan (sung by Harriet Hilliard; was originally written for Top Hat but wasn’t used because it didn’t advance the film’s plot)
  • I’d Rather Lead a Band (sung by Fred Astaire)
  • But Where are You? (sung by Harriet Hilliard)
  • I’m Putting All My Eyes in One Basket (played on piano by Fred, then sung and danced by Fred and Ginger)
  • Let’s Face the Music and Dance (sung by Fred Astaire, danced by Fred and Ginger; this dance was filmed in one continuous two-minute-and-50-seconds shot)

fred and ginger dancing to Let's Face the Music and Dance in Follow the Fleet

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And now, for the fun stuff, some film quotes and song lyrics: 

Fred Astaire sings We Saw the Sea in Follow the Fleet

Fred sings “We Saw the Sea” in the opening scene…

We joined the Navy to see the world
And what did we see? We saw the sea
We saw the Pacific and the Atlantic
But the Atlantic isn’t romantic
And the Pacific isn’t what it’s cracked up to be

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Randolph Scott as Bilge in Follow the Fleet

Follow the Fleet astaire and rogers

Bilge sees a picture of dance team “Baker and Martin”…

Bilge: So that’s why you joined the navy, you thought a torpedo would be easier to dodge than a shotgun?
Bake: Don’t be funny. I asked that little girl to marry me.
Bilge: What???
Bake: Yeah, and she turned me down.
Bilge: Imagine a guy asking a dame to marry him.

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Harriet Hilliard meets Randolph Scott in Follow the Fleet

Harriet Hilliard meets Randolph Scott in Follow the Fleet, Bilge and Connie

Bilge first meets Connie at The Paradise…

Bilge (whistles at some pretty girls)
Connie: They’re pretty aren’t they? Oh but I’ll bet you’re used to seeing pretty girls all over the world.
Bilge: I never give them a tumble sister. Women don’t interest me.
Connie: I’ll bet you dance beautifully.
Bilge: No, not a step. Well, I got to be shoving off. So long.
Sailor: Where did you pick up that awful looking crow?
Bilge: She picked me up. I think she’s screwy.
Sailor: She must be if she tried to pick you up.

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Ginger Rogers sings Let Yourself Go in Follow the Fleet, Betty Grable in background

Bake spots Sherry singing “Let Yourself Go”…

Come, hit the timber, loosen up and start to limber
Can’t you hear that hot marimba? Let yourself go
Let yourself go…relax
And let yourself go…relax
You’ve got yourself tied up in a knot
The night is cold but the music’s hot

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Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Follow the Fleet

Bake and Sherry meet again…

Sherry: Why didn’t you write to me?
Bake: I didn’t think you cared about hearing from me especially after that last time we saw each other.
Connie: Well, all I said was I didn’t want to marry you.
Bake: Yeah, I know. It all seemed very important at that time, but it doesn’t make any difference now.
Connie: Doesn’t it?
Bake: Nah, as you said, marriage would have ruined your career.
Connie: Well I found out I was wrong.
Bake: No, maybe you’re right, if you would have married me you wouldn’t be working in a chop suey joint like this.
Connie: Well, I don’t see any admiral stripes on you.

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Harriet Hilliard and Lucille Ball in Follow the Fleet, Connie's Transformation

Connie’s transformation…

Kitty (Lucille Ball): Well, you sure look different.
Connie: Don’t I? I’m beginning to feel different…. Kitty, there’s a sailor I want to meet, how do I go about it?
Kitty: Are you kidding?
Connie: No, I mean, are there any rules?
Kitty: Yes and no… Yes, before you meet him, and no, after.

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Harriet Hilliard meets Randolph Scott, Follow the Fleet, Connie Martin Transformation

Harriet Hilliard and Randolph Scott, Follow the Fleet, line of defense

Bilge meets the ‘new’ Connie…

Bilge: Well, watch my maneuvers — you can’t beat the navy.
Connie: All right, sailor, I surrender.
Bilge: Unconditionally?
Connie: Well, I’m willing to discuss terms.

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Harriet Hilliard singing Get Thee Behind Me Satan, in Follow the Fleet

Connie, about to leave The Paradise with Bilge, sings “Get Thee Behind Me, Satan”…

Someone I’m mad about is waiting in the night for me
Someone that I mustn’t see, Satan, get thee behind me

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Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Follow the Fleet

In the meantime, Bake ‘accidentally’ gets Sherry fired…

Bake: Well, I fixed that.
Sherry: You fixed me!
Bake: I did that on purpose, Sherry. I don’t want you working in a place like this. Now tomorrow, I’ll take you over to see Jim Nolan. I’ll get him to put you in one of his shows. He’ll do that for me.
Sherry: It might have been better to wait until we were sure!
Bake: Now, I’ll take care of everything.
Sherry: That’s exactly what’s worrying me.

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Harriet Hilliard shows Randolph Scott model ship in Follow the Fleet

Connie shows Bilge a model of the ship she inherited from her dad… but unfortunately for Connie now, things begin to change…

Bilge: A steam schooner, just the kind I’d like to feel under me. Baby, I’d like to be captain of your ship. I wanna sail under my own steam to China and India, and all those spickety ports.
Connie: Oh so do I! I always wanted to sail on her to all those spickety places, with my husband at the helm.
Bilge: Holy cat.
Connie: What’s the matter.
Bilge: I got to be going. Gotta be back on board by 12 o’clock.

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randolph scott and fred astaire in follow the fleet

Bilge tells Bake about his late-night date with Iris Manning…

Bake: What about that teacher that was gonna make you captain of her ship or something?
Bilge: She’s a swell kid too, but she’s kind of serious. She’s sappy like you, she wants to get married.

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harriet hilliard makes deal with harry beresford in follow the fleet

Connie and Sherry ask an old friend to help finance the refurbish of their dad’s ship…

Captain Hickey (Harry Beresford): If you don’t mind my saying so, I think he’s a very lucky young man.
Connie: Oh, actually Captain Hickey, I consider this whole thing a business proposition.

…..

fred astaire singing i'd rather lead a band in follow the fleet

fred astaire dancing to i'd rather lead a band in follow the fleet

Fred has a jam session with the crew…

I haven’t ambitions for lofty positions
That wind up with the wealth of the land
I’ll give you the throne that a king sat on
For just a small baton, providing you included a band
If I could be the wealthy owner of a large industry
I would say, “Not for me”… I’d rather lead a band

…..

Harriet Hilliard is stood up in Follow the Fleet

Bake and Bilge are back on shore leave. Connie waits for Bilge to show up for a date, eager to tell him about the ship, but Bilge never shows up…

Connie: You see I never did write him. I want to keep the boat as a surprise. So I really can’t blame him, it’s my fault.

…..

randolph scott and fred astaire as bilge and bake baker in follow the fleet

At Iris Manning’s party…

Bilge: Remember that teacher I told you about? She’s here and she was expecting me last night.
Bake: Did you forget?
Bilge: No. I lied to her and told her I had to stay on board.
Bake: Why?
Bilge: Oh, I don’t want to wake up some morning and find myself married. Acted as cold as I could. A dame like that always makes me feel like a heel.
Bake: Ah, she brings out your finer instincts.
Iris: Where have you been Bilgy?

….

Harriet Hilliard singing But Where Are You in Follow the Fleet

Connie, heart-broken, sings “But Where are You?”…

Have you forgotten the night that we met?
With so much to remember, how could you forget?
The dreams I dreamed have yet to come true.
My dreams and I are here, but where are you?

I must mention here that Harriet Hilliard performs “But Where Are You” exquisitely — with tears welling up in her eyes… absolutely beautiful.

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Now, since I don’t want to spoil the entire film for you, I won’t continue with this ‘quote-filled’ play-by-play. Instead, I will just say that, as the film progresses — Sherry gets even with Bake for getting her fired (and for accidentally sabotaging her audition for Jim Nolan), Bake plots to get Bilge out of Iris Manning’s hands and back into Connie’s arms again, and Connie must find a way to pay back the loan that Captain Hickey guaranteed for her — and all of this culminates (after a little bit of extra drama between Bilge and Bake for good measure) in a wonderful musical show starring our beloved Fred and Ginger…

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ginger rogers, lucille ball, harriet hilliard, behind the scenes in Follow the Fleet

And, lastly, some fun facts…

  • In 1932, Harriet Hilliard met Ozzie Nelson, who hired her to sing in his band. They were married three years later, in 1935. In 1944, the Nelsons launched their radio show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which transitioned to television in 1952.
  • Follow the Fleet was Harriet Hilliard’s feature film debut.
  • The role of Connie Martin was originally planned for Irene Dunne, who had previously starred with Fred, Ginger and Randolph in Roberta (1935). Dunne however, was unavailable to play the part, so the role went to Hilliard.
  • Both Harriet Hilliard and Lucille Ball later starred in television sitcoms with their real-life band-leader husbands.
  • Follow the Fleet was the fifth of ten films that Fred and Ginger made together.

fred astaire and randolph scott, follow the fleet, ending

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I am very excited to announce that this article, along with 18 other articles from this Blogathon, are available in an e-book via amazon. Any profits from the amazon e-book which sells for 99 cents will go to film preservation. 

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A Big Thank You to the marvelous Classic Movie Blog Association for hosting this very special event! There are so many more wonderful Classic Bloggers participating in this event so please be sure to check out the other entries.

—Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

 

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