Yesterday I performed in a concert with my band (I play the saxophone in a community band), and by far my favorite of all the pieces we played was the jazz standard “But Not for Me,” which was composed in 1930 by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
I think it might be the most fun piece we’ve ever played. Well except for maybe the time we played songs from the musical Hair. “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” especially was an absolute blast to play!
Anyway, when I got home I decided to look up the history of “But Not for Me,” and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it has ties to classic film. Turns out it was originally written for the 1930 musical Girl Crazy, a play that by most accounts made Ginger Rogers a star and helped launch the career of Ethel Merman. On opening night of the play, the pit orchestra included the likes of Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Glenn Miller, and Jimmy Dorsey. Boy, would I have loved to have been there for that!
The song was also performed by Judy Garland in the film version of Girl Crazy from 1943, and it appeared in the movies Manhattan (1979), When Harry Met Sally (1989), and Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Continue reading »
“If being reconciled to your son going away means you can’t cry, I can’t see any point in being a mother.”
That’s a quote spoken by one of my favorite movie moms, Emily Hardy in the movie Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941). Mrs. Hardy said those words after she watched her son Andy leave home after high school graduation to go live in New York.
I wrote it down a long time ago because it really touched me when I heard it, and I figured this day devoted to mothers would be a perfect time to finally share it with someone. I just thought that quote was so sweet and epitomizes the spirit of a loving mother. I bet anyone who’s experienced a child leaving home can relate.
“You are the same today you’ll be in five years except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” ~ Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
I just recently discovered that quote, and I have to say that I can really identify with it. I love to read and there are so many books that have made a big impact in my life. Also, in the past two years since I’ve started blogging, I’ve met some really cool new people online, and that too has enriched my life.
One of the coolest bloggers, heck one of the coolest people period, that I have met in the past two years has been Karen, author of the blog Shadows and Satin and editor of an awesome newsletter called The Dark Pages. She writes mostly about film noir and pre-code films, and not only is she very passionate and knowledgeable about the topics she writes about, she also has a great sense of humor that makes her blog really stand out. Please be sure to visit her site before you read any further!
Always one of my most generous supporters, Karen recently presented me with a Liebster Award (thank you Karen!), which came with some fun requirements. As a recipient of the award, I am supposed to list 11 random facts about me and answer the 11 questions given to me; nominate 11 other blogs; and present the recipients with 11 new questions. Continue reading »
For this week’s Saturday State Post, I decided to highlight some actors and actresses from my neighbor to the west, Minnesota since I recently watched a few movies with two of the actors on this list, Lew Ayres in Remember? (1939) and The Unfaithful (1947) and Warren William in The Case of the Howling Dog (1934).
A few of the actors and actresses from the state of Minnesota are:
Born: December 2, 1894 in Aitkin, MN
Died: September 24, 1948 (age 53)
Married once – to his wife Helen for 25 years before his death in 1948
Known for the Movies: Three on a Match, Employees Entrance, Gold Diggers of 1933, Lady for a Day, Imitation of Life, Satan Met a Lady, The Wolf Man
My Favorite Warren William Movie: Three on a Match
Interesting Facts About Warren William:
- He was the first actor to portray the character of defense attorney Perry Mason on the big screen, the first time was in the movie The Case of the Howling Dog (1934) which I recently watched on TCM. He played the character in a total of four movies.
- He is sometimes referred to as “The King of Pre-Codes” because of his frequent portrayal of amoral, ruthless, and heartless businessmen in movies made in the early 1930s before the advent of the Production Code.
- He was an amateur inventor who created items such as a lawn vacuum, a recreational vehicle, a rolling picnic table, and custom barbecue grills, receiving patents for a few of his inventions.
- If you would like to learn more about Warren William, be sure to check out Cliff’s blog devoted solely to the actor! Continue reading »
I hate writing reviews! There I said it. Movie reviews, book reviews, it doesn’t matter. I just don’t like doing them.
I know that may sound strange coming from someone who chose to write a blog about movies, but I just don’t think I’m particularly good at them and frankly, I consider doing them to be kind of boring. Don’t even get me started on how I feel about writing out a plot synopsis.
I find that I don’t fully enjoy watching movies or reading books if I constantly have to decide what is or isn’t an important point to cover in a review. I have such a terrible short term memory, that I can’t wait till I’m completely done to do that because I will have forgotten too many of the details by then, but I don’t like taking notes either.
So starting with this post, I will be trying something new with the hopes that I’ll still be able to discuss books and movies in an interesting and informative way without writing formal reviews.
I’ve been wanting to read more books about classic movies for a while now, and what better place to start than with a biography about my favorite actor, Jimmy Stewart.
I just started reading “Jimmy Stewart, A Biography” by Marc Eliot, and instead of waiting until I’m done and writing a review, anytime that something really stands out to me in the book, I will try to present it in an interesting way in a short blog post.
I just happened to find something right off the bat on the first page of the book when I read this great quote by actor Thomas Mitchell, “He was the most naturally gifted actor I ever worked with. It was all instinct, all emotion; I don’t think it came from training or technique . . . it came from forces deep within him.”
Thomas Mitchell, who played Uncle Billy opposite Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), is one of only a few actors to have won an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony. I think some people have misconceptions about Jimmy Stewart and don’t realize the true depth he had as an actor, so to read that quote by such a decorated actor really made me happy. It’s my wish that everyone could see those qualities in him.
What is your favorite Jimmy Stewart role?
A Fabulous Films of the 1940s Blogathon and the Academy Awards ceremony coming up in a just a few short days gave me the motivation to watch a movie I had been eager to watch for a few months now, The Heiress.
As I mentioned in my post about my favorite movie podcasts, I love the “A Year at the Oscars” series hosted by Jason O’Brien on his radio show, Oscar, Oscar where in each show covering a separate year of the Academy Awards, he gives an in depth analysis of the year’s nominees and winners.
The most recent episode from November covered the year 1949, when All the King’s Men won the award for Best Picture. Although he had some positive things to say about that movie, two movies that he thought were more deserving were The Bicycle Thief and The Heiress.
As he was praising The Heiress for its many great qualities, I couldn’t remember if I had seen it before but had a vague recollection that I had many years ago . . . and didn’t like it. So I consulted my trusty spreadsheet where I keep track of whether or not I like the movies I watch, and sure enough, right next to the movie’s title were the words “didn’t like.” Continue reading »