Monday, May 31, 2010

CLASSIC MOMENTS: THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK

This is one of my favorite rare films. The movie is THE FACE BEHIND THE MASK(1941) starring Peter Lorre. It is a small B-picture made my Columbia pictures, but it is one of my favorite films. From time to time you can catch the movie on TCM as well...

MOVIE TRAILER: SUMMER STOCK

Here is a movie that is largely forgotten today. It is an important movie in that it was Judy Garland's last movie at MGM. She was joined by Gene Kelly,Eddie Bracken, and Phil Silvers. It actually was a pretty good movie, but Garland's weight went up and down surprisingly throughout the movie...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

RIP: DENNIS HOPPER (1936-2010)

Legendary actor Dennis Hopper has passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 74. From an appearance on the Johnny Cash show to movies like HOOSIERS and TRUE ROMANCE, Dennis Hopper was a true legend...





JIMMY STEWART (1908-1997)

Jimmy Stewart was one of the greatest American actors of all-time. His easy going manner and laid back personna highlighted many great movies from the 1930s to the 1970s. By the 1980s, he had become a sort of a caricature of himself, but he left behind countless movie moments...



LAST APPEARANCES: ELEANOR POWELL

Here is the last public appearance that Eleanor Powell made at a tribute for Fred Astaire in April of 1981. She was already ill, but received a standing ovation. Eleanor Powell died February 11, 1982 of cancer at the age of 69...

FAVORITE SONGS: SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME

"Someone to Watch Over Me" is a song composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin from the musical Oh, Kay! (1926), where it was introduced by Gertrude Lawrence. It has been performed by numerous artists since its debut and is a jazz standard as well as a key work in the Great American Songbook. It is another song that has been one of my favorites for years...



Thursday, May 27, 2010

UNUSUAL DUETS: DINAH SHORE AND MICHAEL JACKSON

Wow, I never thought I would see a duet like this. Here is Michael Jackson singing with Dinah Shore! They don't sound too bad together. This is a from a Dinah Shore show from 1976...

ROSEMARY CLOONEY (1928-2002)

Rosemary Clooney is one of those singers that I like, but I never seem to listen much to her. On a personal note, she was born and died in the same year my grandfather did. In my opinion they both died too young. Anyways, Rosemary Clooney was a wonderful singer who introduced numerous great songs from the 1950s on. Here are some great moments with her...





Monday, May 24, 2010

MUSICAL MOMENT: JOHNNY MERCER

Here is a great rare clip of Johnny Mercer performing his own composition "Jamboree Jones". He was also joined by the Hi-Los. This was taken from the Rosemary Clooney show...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

INTERVIEW: GENE KELLY - 1965

Here is the great Gene Kelly being interviewed in 1965. By that time the golden age of the musicals was over with, but it is interesting to hear about his future plans. As usual, Gene Kelly gave great interviews...

MOVIE TRAILER: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

Here is the movie trailer for the classic 1939 film THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. It is hard to believe this film is 71 years old. It starred Charles Laughton and the beautiful Maureen O'Hara. It is truly a classic film...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

EDDIE CANTOR (1892-1964)

Eddie Cantor was a vaudville legend, who could sing, dance, and act. Along with Al Jolson he made vaudville and broadway what is was in the 1910s and 1920s. Eddie moved on to radio and movies in the 1930s and television in the 1950s. Cantor's blackface style might seem dated now, but he was a true entertainer in every sense of the word...





Tuesday, May 18, 2010

LAST APPEARANCE: SHELLEY WINTERS

This is sort of an odd video. It is a home movie of Shelley Winter's last birthday party. It was her 85th birthday on August 18, 2005. You'll see a few other stars in the video too like Nanette Fabray and Terry Moore. From the video, Winters hardly looked like the actress from the 1950s, and she would pass away on January 14, 2006...

Monday, May 17, 2010

FAVORITE SONGS - SMILE

This new feature on the blog will highlight some of my favorite songs of all time. The song "Smile" is my all-time favorite song. It was written by the great Charles Chaplin for his movie MODERN TIMES(1936). It is actually a very autobiographical song for Chaplin, as it is about his tragic years in the ghettos of England. Here are some versions of this terrific song...



Sunday, May 16, 2010

UNUSUAL DUETS: ELLA FITZGERALD AND JIMMY DURANTE

Here is a short but interesting duet of Ella Fitzgerald and Jimmy Durante. I think they pull the number off nicely. This is from a Hollywood Palace TV show in 1969...

INTERVIEW: JACK BENNY - 1973

Here is the great Jack Bennny being interviewed by Dick Cavett. Jack Benny was one of the all-time greats. This interview was from 1973 and sadly Benny died a year later...



Thursday, May 13, 2010

MOVIE TRAILER: TWELVE ANGRY MEN

I am not a huge Henry Fonda fan, but I do like the drama TWELVE ANGRY MEN(1957). It also starred E.G. Marshall, Lee J. Cobb, and Jack Klugman among others. The whole film took place in the jury room, but it is a great film...

BETTY HUTTON (1923-2007)

Betty Hutton was known as the "Blonde Bombshell" for her energetic performances in many movies of the 1940s and 1950s. Her greatest roles were in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN(1950) and THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH(1952). She also led a troubled life, but you would never know it from these great moments...





Wednesday, May 12, 2010

RIP: LAST SURVIVING ZIEGFELD GIRL

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York's Broadway will dim its lights on Wednesday to mark the death of the last of the famed Ziegfeld showgirls, performers renowned for their lavish costumes and elaborate stage routines.

Doris Eaton Travis died at age 106 on Tuesday in Michigan of undisclosed causes just two weeks after she last appeared on stage in New York, according to a statement on the website of Broadway public relations firm Boneau/Bryan-Brown.

She was one of the performers who rose to fame in the Ziegfeld Follies, a series of elaborate theater productions on Broadway that began in 1907 and remained popular until 1931. The show was inspired by the Folies Bergeres of Paris.

Many top entertainers of that era such as comedians W.C. Fields and Will Rogers appeared in the shows that were famous for their chorus girls in lavish costumes and feathered headdresses who became known as the Ziegfeld girls.

Travis joined the Ziegfeld Follies as the youngest ever showgirl in 1918 at the age of about 14, following in the footsteps of her sister Pearl. Four Eatons were in the Ziegfeld Follies over the years.

She performed with the Ziegfeld girls until 1920 then went on to star in various stage productions and silent films in the 1920s and 1930s before becoming a dance instructor after the Great Depression took its toll on Broadway. In her retirement she began a horse ranch in Oklahoma with her husband.

She returned to the spotlight in 1997 after she and four former Ziegfield girls reunited for the reopening of the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York, joking that she was the only one still able to dance.

Monday, May 10, 2010

RIP: LENA HORNE (1917-2010)

Lena Horne, the legendary actress-singer who broke new ground in Hollywood, has died. She was 92.

Horne passed away at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York on Sunday night (May 9), as announced by son-in-law Kevin Buckley, reports the New York Times.

As one of the first black performers to significantly infiltrate the studio system by signing a long-term contract with MGM, Horne was instrumental in integrating Hollywood. She appeared in a few well known musicals such as "Stormy Weather" -- which is also one of her signature songs -- and "Ziegfield Follies."

Horne was born in June 1917 in Brooklyn. By her teens she began singing in nightclubs, including the famed Cotton Club as a chorus girl.

Although her Hollywood career spanned six decades, she never really achieved any huge success in that arena often because of her African American heritage was seen by studios as a deterrent when casting for lead roles or roles that might necessitate an interracial relationship on screen.

She was best known in the entertainment world for her singing and showcased that in more nightclubs, on Broadway and on TV variety shows, including "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Judy Garland Show." Later in her career she appeared on "The Cosby Show" and "The Muppet Show."

She won several Grammy awards over her career and received a best actress Tony nomination for the musical "Jamaica." Later, she received a special Tony for her one-woman show, "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music."

Horne is survived by her daughter, Gail Lumet Buckley, and granddaughter Jenny Lumet, screenwriter of "Rachel Getting Married."





Saturday, May 8, 2010

MOVIE TRAILER: I REMEMBER MAMA

Just in time for Mother's Day, I wanted to spotlight a very good movie starring Irene Dunne. The movie I REMEMBER MAMA(1948) centers around the life of a Norwegian immigrant family in 1910 San Francisco. Rounding out the excellent cast was Barbara Bel Geddes, Cedric Hardwickw, Edgar Bergen, and Rudy Vallee among others. It is a great movie to watch on Mother's Day...

FRED ASTAIRE (1899-1987)

No tribute to great entertainers would be complete without a feature on Fred Astaire. He was one of the greatest movie icons from the 1930s to the 1980s. Astaire has been dead now for 23 years but the images he made on film will never disappear...





INTERVIEW: JAMES CAGNEY and PAT O'BRIEN - 1981

Here is a great interview with the legendary James Cagney and Pat O'Brien. Together they starred in many great gangster movies of the 1930s. This interview is from 1981...



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

CYD CHARISSE - 1958

Here is a great Cyd Charisse and a dancing sequence from PARTY GIRL(1958). The golden age of movie musicals were coming to an end, but this is a great number...

LAST APPEARANCE: BILL "BOJANGLES" ROBINSON

Here is a really rare find. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's last public appearance, on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour in 1949. Five weeks before his death at age 71. This is taken from an old kinescope...

UNUSUAL DUETS: THE MILLS BROTHERS AND BETTE MIDLER

Here is a very unusual but fun duet. It is Bette Midler appearing with the Mills Brothers. This was taken from a 1977 Bing Crosby special, which showcased Bing's 50 years in show business...

Monday, May 3, 2010

BY REQUEST: LIZA MINNELLI

Here is a request from one of our blog readers. I am not the biggest Liza Minnelli fan, but I do agree she had a wonderful talent that she inherited from her mother...



Sunday, May 2, 2010

DONALD O' CONNOR (1925-2003)

When you talk about greatest dancers, you always hear about Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly and rightfully so. However, Donald O' Connor deserves to be ranked up there as well. He spent his whole life in show business, and here are some great moments in his career...