Monday, June 14, 2021

Who's Your Favorite, Kelly or Astaire?

 I love the old Hollywood musicals and I enjoy the dance numbers the best. I'm a big fan of both Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire! Although Astaire appears more graceful and Kelly more athletic, I don't think I could ever say I liked one more than the other because they were both great. For a real opinion on their dancing, check this out from dancer Cyd Charisse's autobiography The Two of Us:

Cyd Charisse
"As one of the handful of girls who worked with both of those dance geniuses, I think I can give an honest comparison. In my opinion, Kelly is the more inventive choreographer of the two. Astaire, with Hermes Pan's help, creates fabulous numbers – for himself and his partner. But Kelly can create an entire number for somebody else ... 
Gene Kelly
I think, however, that Astaire's coordination is better than Kelly's ... his sense of rhythm is uncanny. Kelly, on the other hand, is the stronger of the two. When he lifts you, he lifts you! ... To sum it up, I'd say they were the two greatest dancing personalities who were ever on screen. But it's like comparing apples and oranges. They're both delicious."
Fred Astaire
Delicious is a great way to put it! Who do you like best, Kelly or Astaire?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Judy Holliday

With all the talk of sexual harassment in Hollywood (and everywhere) coming to light, it reminded me of a story I'd read about actress/comedian Judy Holliday and her run in with Columbia Pictures studio head Harry Cohn. When he grabbed her in a tight embrace, falsies popped out of dress, to which she remarked, "These are yours anyway, Mr. Cohn." I think that "dampened his enthusiasm" and she was able to get away.

For more about the talented Judy Holliday, check out the article below from Turner Classic Movies

This spirited, intelligent actress of stage and screen played variations of the squeaky-voiced 'dumb blonde' role in a number of breezy comedies of the 1940s and 50s. Under her own name, Judith Tuvim, she formed a comedy troupe called "The Revuers," with Betty Comden and Adolph Green. This led to bits in the films "Winged Victory" and "Greenwich Village" (both 1944) and "Something for the Boys" (1945). But it took two Broadway shows, "Kiss Them for Me" and, notably, as the intellectually ambitious moll in "Born Yesterday," to make the newly-renamed Judy Holliday a star.

She returned to films with a memorable supporting role in the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn comedy, "Adam's Rib" (1949), then vaulted to stardom the following year when she recreated her stage triumph of "Born Yesterday" in George Cukor's film adaptation. As the airheaded mistress of a shady and rather dull-witted tycoon who turns the tables on him once she's educated, Holliday won an Oscar as Best Actress of 1950 (beating out Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard" and Bette Davis and Anne Baxter in "All About Eve").

For the rest of the 50s, signed with Columbia, Holliday made a handful of films, delighting audiences as ditzy but surprisingly shrewd types in "The Marrying Kind" (1952), the delightful media satire "It Should Happen to You" and "Phfft!" (both 1953), "The Solid Gold Cadillac" and "Full of Life" (both 1956). Holliday's last film was recreating her stage role in the musical "Bells Are Ringing" (1960). She returned to the stage in the straight play "Laurette" (Taylor) and the musical "Hot Spot" (1952). A heavy smoker, Holliday died of throat cancer in 1965 at the age of 43.

I'm a movie buff, but I've never seen a Judy Holliday movie. Have you? Thanks for visiting and have a great week! 

Monday, May 31, 2021

Happy Memorial Day


I'm taking the day of for the holiday. Enjoy your day and remember to take time to honor our fallen and currently serving heroes. Back next week! 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Nathan "Nearest" Green: Ex-Slave/Master Distiller

 

I found this interesting article that appeared in the Washington Times about Jack Daniel's master distiller. Thought I'd post it today.

Nathan “Nearest” Green was a slave whose services as a distiller were rented out to a Tennessee preacher, Dan Call, in the 1850s. It was Green, research by black author Fawn Weaver shows, who mentored Call’s protege, Jack Daniel, in the making of the famous spirit that would bear his name.

While he went on to serve as Jack Daniel’s first master distiller and, as a free man, became prosperous in his own right, Green’s contributions have largely been missing from the company’s success story, even as they remain common knowledge in Lynchburg, Tennessee, Ms. Weaver said.

“To this day I don’t know how Nearest ended up being hidden. I really don’t,” she told the Mail. “Because when Jack was alive he never hid him. When Jack’s descendants ran the distillery, they never hid who he was or what he did. The relationship between Jack’s descendants and Nearest’s descendants were one that was rare between blacks and whites. They would’ve stood out. In Lynchburg, they always knew.”

Ms. Weaver said that her research shows that Daniel and Green’s business relationship was remarkable for its mutual respect across racial barriers, particularly for the time. “His family was fully integrated after the Civil War. Jack and his family did not see a difference between Nearest and his family and their own,” she told the Mail.

Indeed, the closeness between the Green and Daniel families is recognized in the name of the new whiskey label, Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey.

The name refers to a southern tradition of “referring to teachers, mentors or others close to a family as ‘uncle, aunt or cousin’ out of respect,” the Mail reported.

“If you are in Lynchburg, everyone calls each other uncle, aunt, cousin so and so, whether you’re black or white,” Ms. Weaver said.

For more information on Nathan "Nearest" Green, check out Wikipedia.

I'd never heard of Nathan "Nearest" Green, had you? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, May 17, 2021

Where Love Has Gone

I must thank my Goodreads friend Damon Evans for inspiring this post!

It's said that truth is stranger than fiction. So perhaps that translates to a fictional work becoming a sensational bestseller, or a movie becoming a spectacular box office smash, when based on a true story. 

Last week, I posted the scandalous account of mobster Johnny Stompanato's death. He was the abusive boyfriend of Lana Turner, who ended up dying at the hands of her fourteen year old daughter, Cheryl Crane.

That murder transpired in 1958.  By 1962, Harold Robbins had penned the novel, Where Love Has Gone, loosely based on the Turner /Stompanato scandal. By 1964, a feature film was released under the same title, starring grand dame Bette Davis, tempestuous Susan Hayward and sultry Joey Heatherton.

The plot is a little more involved than the scandal it's actually based on, but you have to have something to fill up the pages of a book, or the time on the big screen! I haven't seen Where Love Has Gone, but it is now on my to watch list!

Courtesy of Wikipedia, here's the plot:

The film begins with headlines stating that 15-year-old Danielle Miller (Joey Heatherton) has murdered a man, Rick Lazich, who was the latest lover of her mother Valerie Hayden (Susan Hayward). Dani's father, Luke Miller (Mike Connors) describes the events that led to the tragedy.

Near the end of World War IIArmy Air Forces hero Miller is in San Francisco for a parade in his honor, and meets Valerie Hayden at an art show where one of her works is being exhibited. He is invited to dinner by Valerie's mother, Mrs. Gerald Hayden (Bette Davis), who offers him a job and dowry as an enticement for him to marry Valerie. He storms from the house but is followed by Valerie who says she is unable to go against her mother's wishes but that she admires him for having refused her. A relationship develops and the two marry, although a former suitor, Sam Corwin (DeForest Kelley) predicts that the marriage will fail.

As time passes, Luke Miller becomes a successful architect and refuses another offer of employment from his mother-in-law, however the influential and vindictive Mrs. Hayden uses her contacts in the banking industry to ensure that Miller is refused loans to help him build his business. He relents and accepts a position in Mrs. Hayden's company. 
Their daughter, Dani, is born but the relationship of the couple begins to deteriorate with Miller declining into alcoholism, and Valerie indulging in a promiscuous lifestyle. The marriage ends when Miller actually finds her having sex with another man and Mrs. Hayden insists she divorce him. Years pass and Dani eventually becomes her mother's rival for the same man.


Back in the present, Dani claims that she was defending Valerie against attack, and when the case is brought to court, a verdict of justifiable homicide is ruled. An investigation into where to place Dani begins, but neither investigator Marian Spicer (Jane Greer) nor psychiatrist Dr. Jennings (Anne Seymour) can persuade Dani to open up about her feelings. When Mrs. Hayden petitions for custody of Dani and she still refuses to reveal herself, Valerie reveals that Dani was trying to kill her, and that Rick was only killed when he tried to defend Valerie. Valerie returns home and commits suicide, and after her death Luke Miller tries to help Dani rebuild her life.

I'm looking forward to watching! Are you?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!