Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bob Hope comedy routine. Harry James performs, Frank Sinatra sings. (1959).

Harry James was the first "name band" to employ vocalist Frank Sinatra, in 1939. He wanted to change Sinatra's name to 'Frankie Satin' but Sinatra refused.


The Girl from Ipanema" ("Garota de Ipanema") is a well known bossa nova song, a popular song in the mid-1960s that won a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1965. It was written in 1962, with music by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes with English lyrics written later by Norman Gimbel.

Myth has it "The Girl from Ipanema" was inspired by Heloísa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto, a fifteen-year-old girl living in Montenegro Street in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Daily, she would stroll past Veloso cafe on her way to the beach.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Frank Sinatra singing in the film: Pal Joey(1957).

The Lady Is a Tramp" is a show tune from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical Babes In Arms. This song is a sophisticated spoof of New York high society and its strict etiquette (the first line of the verse is significant: "I get too hungry for dinner at eight...") Several stars have recorded their own versions.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Elke Sommer who rather be known as a painter who acts than as an actress who paints.

Elke Sommer, was spotted by film director Vittorio De Sica while on holiday in Italy, and started performing in films there in the late 1950s. She quickly became famous as a sex symbol and moved to Hollywood in the early 1960s. She also became one of the most popular pin-up girls and posed for Playboy Magazine.

She became one of the top movie actresses of the 1960s and made 99 movie and television performances between 1959 and 2005. She was best known for: A Shot in the Dark (1964) with Peter Sellers, The Art of Love (1965) with James Garner and Dick Van Dyke, The Oscar (1966) with Stephen Boyd, Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! (1966) with Bob Hope, Deadlier Than the Male (1966), and The Wrecking Crew (1969) with Dean Martin; Sommer was the leading lady in each of these films.

In 1964, she won the Golden Globe Awards as Most Promising Newcomer Actress for The Prize, a film she co-starred with Paul Newman and Edward G. Robinson.

In 1972, she performed in two Italian horror movies directed by Mario Bava, which have both become cult classics Baron Blood and Lisa and the Devil.

In 1975, Peter Rogers cast her in Carry On Behind as the Russian Professor Vrooshka.

Sommer also performed as a singer, making several albums.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Wreaking Crew(1968)

The Wrecking Crew (1968). Cast: Dean Martin, Elke Sommer and Sharon Tate. The fourth and final film in a series of comedy-spy-fi featuring Martin as secret agent Matt Helm. As with the first three movies (The Silencers, Murderers' Row and The Ambushers), the film is based on Donald Hamilton's 1960 novel of the same name.

The story is simular to the Bond novel/film, Goldfinger, Helm's assignment is to bring down the evil count who is trying to steal gold. Along the way, Helm is partnered with a British agent played by Sharon Tate an accident-prone spy. Chuck Norris makes his film debut in a small role. It was the first film in the series to not be written by comedy writer Herbert Baker but by former police reporter and crime novel author William P. McGivern. The Wreaking Crew, is best known for the perfomance of Sharon Tate, who performed her own stunts and martial arts scenes cheroeographed by Bruce Lee.

When this movie first came out I thought it was a little corny..but, now I really enjoy watching it.

Bells are Ringing(1960)

Bells Are Ringing (1960) Romantic/comedy/musical. Director: Vincente Minnelli. Cast: Judy Holliday and Dean Martin.

Brooklyn Switchboard operator Ella Peterson, works for telephone answering service Susanswerphone. Even though Sue's orders are only to "take and give" messages, Ella uses different voices to help her clients with their lives, even posing as Santa Claus to convince a small child to behave. Ella becomes interested in playwright Jeffrey Moss, who calls her "Mom". He just recently lost his writing partner and his having trouble finishing the outline for his play.. "Mom" tries to boost his ego, but instead.. Jeffrey drinks himself to sleep.

Meanwhile, Inspector Barnes and his assistant Francis, suspect that Susanswerphone is really a prostitution ring, and pretend to be magazine reporters, while interviewing Ella, they wire-tap the switchboard.

Sue's boyfriend, J. Otto Prantz, moves into the apartment to run his music distribution business, Titanic Records, which is really a front for a bookkeeping operation. During a meeting with his bookies, Otto explains the new system: When customers place their bets, they will be translated into a classical music record album code for instance, "Beethoven" is really Belmont Park and "five hundred orders" is a $500 bet.

The next morning, when Jeffrey does not answer Ella's wake up call, she goes to his apartment, excited to finally to know what he looks like. The trouble is, how will she tell him who she really is?

I thought Holliday and Martin where cute together. At first I thought it might be an odd paring.. The songwriting dentist will give you a few chuckles.

Fun Facts:

This was Arthur Freed and Vincente Minnelli's last musical for MGM.

Judy Holliday's last film.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dean Martin - Sway (music video / tribute)

"Sway" is the English version of "Quien Sera", a 1953 mambo song by Mexican composer and bandleader Pablo Beltrán Ruiz. In 1954 the English lyrics were written by Norman Gimbel and recorded by Dean Martin (his recording reached number fifteen on the Billboard magazine best-seller chart). Since then the song has been recorded and remixed by many artists.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Rifle, My Pony and Me - Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson

The song "My Rifle, My Pony and Me" was originally used as the theme for Red River (1948), another John Wayne western. The original title was "Settle Down".

On May 8th, just one week into shooting ‘Rio Bravo’, Ricky Nelson celebrated his 18th birthday. As a gift, John Wayne and Dean Martin gave him a 300 lb. sack of steer manure, which they then threw Nelson into as a rite of passage.

Dean Martin's agent approached Howard Hawks to consider his client for the role of the drunken deputy Dude. Hawks agreed to meet with Martin at 9:30 the next morning. When Hawks learned that Martin had done a show in Las Vegas until midnight, and hired a plane to fly him to the meeting, Hawks was so impressed that he simply sent Martin to get a costume and told him he had the part.

One of Dean Martins favorite past times was to watch, OLD WESTERNS.

Dean Martin - Memories Are Made Of This

The most popular version of the song was recorded by Dean Martin. It reached #1 on the Billboard chart for six weeks in 1956, and became his biggest hit. He was backed by The Easy Riders (who consisted of Gilkyson, Dehr, and Miller), who wrote it.

Friday, May 21, 2010


"Mambo Italiano" is a song written by Bob Merrill in 1954. Bob scribbled it on a paper napkin in an Italian restaurant in New York using the wall pay-phone to dictate the melody, rhythm and lyrics to the recording studio pianist, under conductor Mitch Miller.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


The Caddy (1953). Was released on a double bill with another Martin and Lewis picture, You're Never Too Young. This was the team's first film since 1950's At War with the Army to be produced by their own production company, York Pictures Corporation. It is also known for cameo appearances by some of the leading professional golfers of the time (all playing themselves), Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, and Julius Boros. The Caddy is not a musical, but I wanted to share this song from the movie with you. I hope it gives you a smile. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Busby Berkeley - Director/Choreographer.

Berkeley was born to silent film actress Gertrude Berkeley, who played mother roles in silent films. Berkeley was acting on stage by the age of five, acting in the company of his performing family. During World War I, Berkeley served as a field artillery lieutenant. Watching soldiers drill may have geven him his ideas for his choreography. During the 1920s, Berkeley was a dance director for two dozen Broadway musicals.

The “By A Waterfall” production number from Footlight Parade(1933) made use of one of the largest soundstages ever built, constructed especially to film Berkeley's creations.

His earliest movie jobs were on Samuel Goldwyn's Eddie Cantor musicals, where he began developing such techniques as a “parade of faces” and having his dancers all over the stage in many kaleidoscopic patterns. Berkeley's top shot technique appeared in the Cantor films. As choreographer, Berkeley was allowed a certain degree of independence in his direction of musical numbers. The numbers he choreographed were mostly upbeat and focused on decoration. One exception was the number “Remember My Forgotten Man” from Gold Diggers of 1933, which dealt with the treatment of soldiers in a post-World War I Depression.

Berkeley, became popular when he choreographed four musicals back-to-back for Warner Bros.: 42nd Street, Footlight Parade, Gold Diggers of 1933 and Fashions of 1934, as well as In, Caliente and Wonder Bar with Dolores del Río.

He was director at 20th Century-Fox for 1943's The Gang's All Here, in which Berkeley choreographed Carmen Miranda's “Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat” number.

Berkeley returned to MGM in the late 1940s, where among many other accomplishments he conceived the Technicolor finales for the studio's Esther Williams films. Please check Esther Williams Page , for more info. Berkeley's final film as choreographer was MGM's Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962).

Chick Flicks: Musical's 100th post! Gold Diggers(1935).

Gold Diggers (1935). Directed and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. Cast: Dick Powell, Gloria Stuart, Adolphe Menjou, Winifred Shaw, Alice Brady, Hugh Herbert and Frank McHugh. The film is best known for the famous "Lullaby of Broadway" production number, which features Shaw singing the song which won Harry Warren (music) and Al Dubin (lyrics) an Academy Award.

Gold Diggers of 1935 was the third film of the Gold Diggers series of movie musicals, after Gold Diggers of Broadway in 1929 (now lost) and Gold Diggers of 1933 Gold Diggers of 1935 was followed by Gold Diggers of 1937 and Gold Diggers in Paris.

This the first time I have seen Gold diggers(1935). I thought this film was pure magic. Loved the production number, "LULLABY OF Broadway". We see a Fred-and-Ginger type of dancing which I thought to be a very romantic dance number. Then there are ALL those dancers, tapping their hearts out.

The movie begins, at the Wentworth Plaza where the rich vacation. Dick Curtis is working his way through medical school as a desk clerk. After checking in Mrs. Prentiss, she offers to pay him to escort her daughter Ann for the summer. Even his fiancee, Arline Davis thinks he should do it. Mrs. Prentiss wants Ann to marry middle-aged millionaire T. Mosley Thorpe, but Ann has other ideas. Meanwhile her brother, Humbolt has been married and bought out of trouble by his mother more times than she wants to remember.

Every summer, Mrs. Prentiss produces a charity show for the "Milk Fund", and this year she hires the Russian dance director Nicolai Nicoleff to direct the show. Mrs. Prentiss wants to spend the least amount possible, but Nicoleff and his set designer Schultz want to be as extravagant. Will, Dick and Ann fall in love?


"Dagger Dance"
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Performed by the show's cast during rehearsal

"The Gold Diggers' Song (We're in the Money)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Glenda Farrell

"I'm Goin' Shoppin' with You"
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Dick Powell
Also used as an instrumental cue throughout the picture

"Lullaby of Broadway"
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Wini Shaw and ensemble during the show
Danced by Ramon & Rosita and ensemble during the show

"Moonlight and You"
Music by Harry Warren
Instrumental cue played during the boat scene

"The Shadows of Yesterday's Stars"
Music by Harry Warren
Instrumental cue played in the hotel room after the bell boys are tipped

"Tango del Rio"
Music by Harry Warren
Instrumental cue played in the hotel scene

"Tell Me Again"
Music by Harry Warren
Instrumental cue played throughout the picture

"Tell Me That You Care"
Music by Harry Warren
Instrumental cue played before the show starts

"The Words Are in My Heart"
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Dick Powell during the boat scene
Also sung by Dick Powell and ensemble during the show
Played often in the score

Music by Harry Warren
Played during the opening scene and production number

Monday, May 17, 2010

Harry James

To celebrate Noir and Chick Flicks: Musical page 100th post. I thought I would Spotlight Harry James, my favorite musician and bandleader. James was an instrumentalist of the swing era. He was one of the most popular bandleaders of the first half of the 1940s, and he continued to lead his band until just before his death, 40 years later.

He was the son of a bandleader of a traveling circus. By the age of 10 he was taking trumpet lessons from his father. Every day, James was given one page to learn from the Arban's book.

In 1931 the family settled in Beaumont, Texas, where James began playing with local dance bands.

He joined Ben Pollack in 1935 but at the start of 1937, left Pollack to join Benny Goodman's orchestra, where he stayed through 1938.

His was the first "name band" to employ Frank Sinatra, in 1939. He wanted to change Sinatra's name to 'Frankie Satin' but Sinatra refused. His later band included drummer Buddy Rich.

He played trumpet in the 1950 film Young Man with a Horn, dubbing Kirk Douglas. This was the film that had me hooked on Harry James. Jame's recording of "I'm Beginning to See the Light" appears in the motion picture My Dog Skip (2000). His music is also featured in the Woody Allen film Hannah and Her Sisters. James recorded many popular records and appeared in many Hollywood movies.

He was second only to Glenn Miller as the most successful recording artist of 1942.

James was married three times. In May 1935, he married singer Louise Tobin, with whom he had two children. They divorced in 1943. That same year, he married actress Betty Grable. They had two daughters, Victoria and Jessica, before divorcing in 1965.

1940s Hollywood Pin Up girl, Betty Grable, and her husband, bandleader, Harry James performed together in "Baby Wont you Please Come Home".

James married a third time in 1968 to Las Vegas showgirl Joan Boyd, whom he would divorce in March of 1970. He had 16 grandchildren.

James owned several thoroughbred racehorses that won races such as the California Breeders' Champion Stakes (1951) and the San Vicente Stakes (1954). He was also a founding investor in the Atlantic City Race Course. His knowledge of horse racing was demonstrated during a 1958 appearance on The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour entitled "Lucy Wins A Racehorse."

Bathing Beauty (1944)

Best Foot Forward (1943)
Carnegie Hall (1947)
Do You Love Me (1946)
If I'm Lucky (1946)
I'll Get By (1950)
Outlaw Queen (1957)
Private Buckaroo (1942)

Private Buckaroo(1942). Director: Edward F. Cline. Cast: The Andrews Sisters, Dick Foran, Harry James, Shemp Howard, Joe E. Lewis, and Jennifer Holt. The film is about army recruits following basic training, with the Andrew Sisters, attending USO dances. The film is a mixture of comedy and songs.
Riot in Rhythm (1957)
Springtime in the Rockies (1942)
The Benny Goodman Story (1956)
The Sting II (1983)
Two Girls and a Sailor (1944)
The Opposite Sex (1956)

Harry James with Helen Forrest peforming: "I had the craziest dream".

Harry James and Buddy Rich on drums, performing: Green Onions(1965.)

The Gold Diggers are coming....

On Tuesday, May 18th TCM is airing 4 of the popular Gold Diggers films. Starting early at 6:00 am EST. The films being shown are Gold Diggers of 1933 with Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Ginger Rogers; Gold Diggers of 1935 with Dick Powell and Alice Brady; Gold Diggers of 1937 with Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell (a wonderful pair) and Gold Diggers in Paris (1938) with Rudy Vallee and Rosemary Lane. Try to catch at least one of these fabulous films, they're good high spirited fun filled musicals. Oh and Dawn, the next post will be 100. If you do one before I do, make it a special one.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paint Your wagon(1963)

Paint Your Wagon (1969). Musical. Adapted from the 1951 stage musical by Lerner and Loewe. Cast: Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, and Jean Seberg.

This one of those movies I'm embarrassed to admit I love. I really enjoy the friendship that develops between the two lead characters and their lack of singing talents, which is so bad that it becomes interesting.. The story begins as a wagon crashes into a ravine. Prospector Ben Rumson finds two brothers, one is dead and the other is injured with a broken arm and leg. As the one brother is about to be buried, gold is found at the graveside. As dirt is flying, Ben stakes a claim on the land and declares the other brother as his "Pardner". Later Pardner, a hopeless romantic sings a love song about a girl named Elisa.( Can you believe Clint Eastwood is really singing?) Pardner hopes to find enough gold to buy some farmland. Ben claims that while he is willing to fight, steal, and cheat at cards, he promises not to betray a partner, and that he will share what ever gold he finds with Pardner on the condition that Pardner takes care of him in his moments of melancholy.

Soon a tent city by the name, "No Name City" is built with the miners living a wild life. Singing songs: ("Hand Me Down That Can o' Beans") sung by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and my favorite song in the movie a beautiful balled ("They Call the Wind Maria"). By this time, the men are missing female companionship and the arrival of a Mormon, Jacob Woodling, with two wives are the last straw and they talk him into selling one of his wives to the highest bidder. Elizabeth, agrees to be sold believing that whatever she gets, "it can't be as bad as what she has." A drunken Ben has the highest bid. Ben is readied for the wedding by the other miners ("Whoop-Ti-Yay"), and Elizabeth is married to Ben under "mining law". She wants him to treat her with respect and to build her a wooden cabin. Ben promises to build her a cabin and with the help of towns men, Elizabeth has a roof over her head..

Elizabeth's presence soon becomes a problem for Ben. Just in time to save to Ben's sanity, they hear the news of the arrival of "six French tarts" coming to a neighboring town and quickly come up with a plan to kidnap the women and bring them to "No Name City" ("There's a Coach Comin' In"), providing the town with income as other miners from all over will travel to "No Name City" for... what should I call it... the night life.. Ben leaves Elizabeth in the care of Pardner. While Ben is gone, the two fall in love("I Talk to the Trees"). Elizabeth says that she also still loves Ben, and convinces them that if a Mormon man can have two wives, a woman can have two husbands. Everything seems to be going, what I will call.. reasonably well.. until a group of religious settlers is rescued from the snow, and is invited to spend the winter with Elizabeth and Pardner, who they believe to be her only husband. Ben has to stay in town. What will happen to this love triangle ?


Eastwood and Marvin did their own singing while Seberg's songs were dubbed. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has a cameo in the song "Hand Me Down That Can o' Beans".

This film was made near Baker City, Oregon, Big Bear Lake, California and San Bernardino National Forest. Eastwood said that the experience made him want to become a director. According to Robert Osborne," Marvin drank heavily during the filming of the movie, which may have enhanced his screen appearance, but led to delays and many retakes.". My gosh..can you imagine..


"I'm On My Way"
(Main Title)
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Sung by The Chorus

"I Still See Elisa"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Sung by Clint Eastwood

"The First Thing You Know"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by André Previn
Sung by Lee Marvin

"Hand Me Down That Can Of Beans"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Sung by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band & The Chorus

"They Call The Wind Maria"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Sung by Harve Presnell & The Chorus

Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Sung by The Chorus

"A Million Miles Away Behind The Door"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by André Previn
Sung by Anita Gordon dubbing Jean Seberg

"I Talk To The Trees"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Sung by Clint Eastwood

"There's A Coach Comin' In"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Sung by Harve Presnell & The Chorus

"The Gospel Of No Name City"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by André Previn
Sung by Alan Dexter

"Best Things"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by André Previn
Sung by Lee Marvin, Ray Walston and Clint Eastwood

"Wand'rin' Star"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Sung by Lee Marvin & The Chorus

"Gold Fever"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by André Previn
Sung by Clint Eastwood & The Chorus

(I'm On My Way)
Sung by Lee Marvin, Ray Walston & The Chorus

Wand'rin Star: From the Film Paint Your Wagon(1963)

Lee Marvin, had a hit song with "Wand'rin' Star" from the western musical Paint Your Wagon (1969).

"Wand'rin' Star"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Sung by Lee Marvin & The Chorus

They Call the Wind Maria: From the film Paint Your Wagon(1963).

"They Call The Wind Maria"
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Sung by Harve Presnell & The Chorus

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Benny Goodman Story(1956)

The Benny Goodman Story (1956). Biographical film. Cast: Steve Allen and Donna Reed, Director: Valentine Davies. The film is based on the life of clarinetist Benny Goodman, who recorded most of the clarinet solos used in the film. Lionel Hampton, Martha Tilton, Kid Ory, George Givot, Gene Krupa, and many other musicians have cameo appearances in this film. Ziggy Elman performed on screen recreating his trumpet solo on "And the Angels Sing", he was unable to record his portion for the soundtrack; Manny Klein actually performed it, off-camera.

I just love Biographical films. This story begins with Benny becoming an excellent clarinetist by the time he is fourteen. Benny's grabs the first opportunity to play in a ragtime band, he joins the musicians' union and begins his career. Benny has the opportunity to listen to the "Kid", who tells for him to play the way he feels and invites him to sit in. Benny, joins the Ben Pollack band and plays at dances throughout the country. The Pollack band secures a job in the speakeasy of Benny's former neighbor, now gangster, Little Jake Primo. There he meets John Hammond, a music critic and his sister Alice, who prefers classical.

Pollack's band flops in New York and Benny, begins to worry that there is no audience for his kind of music, and is forced to perform with more traditional dance bands. Still impressed with Benny's talent, Hammond invites him to perform a Mozart clarinet concerto before an audience in the Hammond mansion. Alice is surprised by "all this emotion comes pouring out" when he plays. Benny forms a band and begins to perform on an NBC Saturday night radio program. Jazz musician Fletcher Henderson hears the program and is so impressed that he contributes arrangements for the band. After the show is canceled, Benny's orchestra goes on tour, but before he leaves, he and Alice declare their feelings for each other. The tour is a failure until the orchestra reaches Palomar, California, where, the group is a huge success. Benny sees Alice in the audience and plays "Memories of You" for her. Benny forms a quartet that includes Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa, and by the time Benny, his orchestra and his quartet return to Chicago, they are making headlines. Benny is booked into Carnegie Hall and worries that "a hall full of longhairs" will not like the orchestra's music. Which features guest performers Harry James, Ziggy Elman and Martha Tilton.

Benny Goodman's band performed in many musicals: The Big Broadcast of 1937, Hollywood Hotel (1938), Syncopation (1942), The Powers Girl (1942), Stage Door Canteen (1943), The Gang's All Here (1943), Sweet and Lowdown (1944) and A Song Is Born (1948). Goodman's only starring feature was Sweet and Low Down (1944). Goodman's success story was told in the 1955 motion picture The Benny Goodman Story with Steve Allen and Donna Reed. It was a follow up to 1954's successful The Glenn Miller Story. The screenplay was heavily fictionalized, but the music was real. Many of Goodman's professional colleagues appear in the film, including Ben Pollack. Gene Krupa, Lionel Hampton and Harry James.

This clip is, The Benny Goodman big band playing Sing Sing Sing, featuring Gene Krupa at the end. Also... Mr. Harry James plays a trumpet solo.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lena Horne, singing : Stormy Weather.

She made her debut with MGM in 1942's Panama Hattie, and performed the title song of Stormy Weather (1943), which she made at 20th Century Fox, on loan from MGM.

Rest In Peace Lena Horne (1917-2010)

Lena Horne has passed away at age 92.

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."

Her contributions to the Civil Rights movement include working alongside Paul Robeson and Medgar Evers, participating on the March on Washington and collaborating to end desegregation and lynching.

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

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"Catwoman" Julie Newmar. The "Purrfect" Villainess!

Julie Newmar was a "dancer-assassin" in Slaves of Babylon (1953) and the "gilded girl" in Serpent of the Nile (1953). There is a video on youtube of her dancing in this film. It is a little to racy for me to post here. She also danced in several other films: The Band Wagon and Demetrius and the Gladiators. She also worked as a choreographer and dancer for Universal Studios.

Her first major role, was as one of the brides in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954). Her 3 minute Broadway appearance as the leggy "Stupefyin' Jones" in the musical Li'l Abner in 1956 led to a reprise in the 1959 film version. She was also the female lead in the comedy, The Rookie. She also featured in many further films including, Mackenna's Gold (1969).

Newmar had first appeared on Broadway in 1955 in Silk Stockings with, Hildegarde Neff and Don Ameche. She also performed in the 1961 play, The Marriage-Go-Round, which starred Charles Boyer and Claudette Colbert. Newmar developed the role of the Swedish vixen and won a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress. She later performed on stage with Joel Grey in the national tour of, Stop the World. I Want to Get Off and as "Lola" in Damn Yankees! and "Irma" in Irma La Douce.

From an early age, Julie Newmar (Catwoman), studied piano, dance and classical ballet. Julie became prima ballerina for the Los Angeles Opera.


Just for You (1952)
Serpent of the Nile (1953)
The Band Wagon (1953)
Slaves of Babylon (1953)
Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Li'l Abner (1959)
The Rookie (1959)
The Marriage-Go-Round (1961)
For Love or Money (1963)
Mackenna's Gold (1969)
The Maltese Bippy (1969)
Mother (1970)
Hysterical (1983)
Love Scenes (1984)
Streetwalkin' (1985)
Evils of the Night (1985)
Deep Space (1987)
Nudity Required (1988)
Body Beat (1988)
Cyber-C.H.I.C. (1989)
Ghosts Can't Do It (1990)
Oblivion (1994)
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995) (cameo)
Oblivion 2: Backlash (1996)
If... Dog... Rabbit... (1999)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dan Dailey

Dan Dailey, performed in vaudeville before his Broadway debut in 1937 in Babes in Arms. He then went on to serve in the United States Army during World War II, was commissioned as an Army officer after graduation from Signal Corps Officer Candidate School at Fort Monmouth, NJ. He then returned Hollywood to perform in the movie, Mother Wore Tights (1947). Dailey was Betty Grable favorite co-star. His performance in their film, When My Baby Smiles at Me in 1948 won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. In 1950, he starred in A Ticket to Tomahawk, often thought of as the first screen appearances of Marilyn Monroe, in a very small part as a dance-hall girl. In 1953, Dailey starred in Meet Me at the Fair. One of his best known roles was in There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), which featured Irving Berlin's music and also starred Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe, Johnnie Ray, and Donald O'Connor.

As the poularity of musicals began to fade in the mid-1950s, he moved on to comedic and dramatic roles, including his television series, The Governor & J.J. and the NBC Mystery Movie series "Faraday & Company". His sister was Another World actress Irene Dailey.

Partial filmography:

The Mortal Storm (1940)
Hullabaloo (1940)
Keeping Company (1940)
Lady Be Good (1941)
Mother Wore Tights (1947)
You Were Meant for Me (1948)
When My Baby Smiles at Me (1948)
Chicken Every Sunday (1949)
When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950)
A Ticket to Tomahawk (1950)
My Blue Heaven (1950)
Call Me Mister (1951)
I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1951)
The Pride of St. Louis (1952)
What Price Glory? (1952)
The Girl Next Door (1953)
The Kid from Left Field (1953)
There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)
It's Always Fair Weather (1955)
Meet Me in Las Vegas (1956)
The Wings of Eagles (1957)
The Wayward Bus (1957)
Pepe (1960)
Hemingway's Adventures of a Young Man (1962)
Las cuatro noches de la luna llena (Four Nights of the Full Moon) (1963), co-starring Gene Tierney

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Moon Over Miami (1941)

A fun Betty Grable movie, Moon Over Miami.
Moon Over Miami (1941)
Moon Over Miami (1941) Photos

Kay, Barbara and Susan Latimer come into a small legacy when they expected a large one, then abandon the Texas greasy-spoon where they work to hunt in Miami for rich husbands, said to be plentiful there. Barbara and Susan posing as the secretary and maid of "wealthy" Kay, they check into a posh hotel, and soon Kay is in the delightful predicament of being pursued by two handsome, wealthy bachelors at once. But Musical Comedy Complications arise...Betty plays Kay, while Carole Landis is Barbara and Charlotte Greenwood is Susan. All three actresses are top notch. And might I add Betty looks absolutely stunning in those bright and beautiful dresses and costumes she wears. And she is a knockout during her song and dance numbers. Also on hand are Don Ameche and Robert Cummings. But this one is all about the girls, with Grable and the underrated Carole Landis having a good old time. As does Charlotte Greenwood as their feisty aunt Susan.
Moon Over Miami (1941)
Moon Over Miami (1941) Photos