My Classic Movie Travel Dreams – What’s on Your List?

I’ve been talking a good game the last few years about how I’m going to start doing more traveling, with most of my desired destinations being places somehow related to classic movies or old movie stars and singers. But for various reasons I have not lived up to that talk and pretty soon I’m going to have to start putting my money where my mouth is or I’ll never end up going anywhere.

Hollywood SignOne of my biggest travel goals is to visit the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival held in California every spring. Ever since I first saw that some of my fellow classic movie bloggers were going to the festival a few years ago, I’ve been saying, “next year I am definitely going!” only to have it not come to pass for one reason or another.

I’m not going to lie, the last few years I have really struggled with jealousy as I read all the blog posts and tweets written by those attending the event and this year is no different. But instead of letting envy get the best of me, I decided to focus on all the things I have to be grateful for (which are many!) and to use those feelings as motivation to figure out ways to make my travel dreams come true.

Over the years I’ve compiled quite the list of classic movie related places I’d like to visit someday and following are just a few of them. My hope for this blog is that one day I will be able to post about visiting most if not all of these places.

  1. The Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pennsylvania
  2. The Clark Gable Birth Home and Museum and Clark Gable Bed & Breakfast in Cadiz, Ohio
  3. The Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, North Carolina
  4. The Rosemary Clooney House in Augusta, Kentucky
  5. The Kate –  A museum inside the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, Connecticut
  6. Malabar Farm in Lucas, Ohio
  7. The Hollywood Museum in Hollywood, California
  8. Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum – Gene Autry, Oklahoma (this would be in honor of my mom who loved Gene and other singing cowboys) :-)
  9. Warner Brothers Studio Tour in Burbank, California
  10. Vienna Walking Tour – In the Footsteps of The Third Man in Vienna, Austria
  11. The Cypress Inn (co-owned by Doris Day) in Carmel, California
  12. The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and The Surrey Hotel in New York City – several celebrities stayed or lived in these hotels and Cole Porter’s piano is displayed at the Waldorf-Astoria
  13. Las Vegas – although The Sands Hotel is no longer there, an article in USA Today suggests several ways we can still “experience the Rat Pack in Las Vegas”
  14. Los Angeles Union Station – “one of the last grand train depots in America” and a filming location for the William Holden movie Union Station (1950)
  15. Various restaurants frequented by old movie stars including Sardi’s in New York City, Café La Maze Steakhouse in National City, California and Dominick’s in West Hollywood, California
  16. Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, California – I don’t drink wine but still think it would be a beautiful place to visit and I’d like to explore the onsite movie gallery

So, what’s on your list of travel dreams, classic movie related or otherwise? If you’ve been to any of the places I mentioned above, I’d love to hear the story of your visit in the comments below!

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If You Had a Time Machine, Where Would You Go First?

A few days ago I went to an awesome concert put on by a local community band, the theme of which was “A Trip Around the World.” I loved every piece and did not think I would be able to pick a favorite UNTIL they came to a medley of music by German composer Kurt Weill. The medley included a song I’m sure most of you are familiar with, “Mack the Knife” from one of Weill’s most famous works, The Threepenny Opera (1928).

Cocoanut Grove in The Ambassador Hotel Los Angeles

The reason that piece was my favorite is that I immediately felt like I had been transported back to the 1930s and was sitting in a nightclub listening to an orchestra or jazz band. I realized that even if they had not introduced the piece and mentioned when it was composed, I would have immediately recognized it as being from my favorite time period as far as entertainment goes, the 1920s-1940s.

It made me ponder how I would answer if someone asked me when and where I’d go first if I had access to a time machine. I think after my experience at the concert, I’d have to say I would go back to the 1930s and visit a nightclub such as The Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles or the Stork Club in New York City and listen to great jazz or big band music while socializing with some of my favorite movie stars. Being the huge history lover that I am there are many other places I’d love to go as well, but for the pure fun of it I think that would be my first choice.

To take a visual trip to some of these clubs as seen in classic movies, check out a fun post called Nightclubbing Through Classic Hollywood: The 1930s by Carley at The Kitty Packard Pictorial.

So, if you had a time machine and could go back to any time period, when would that be and what’s the first thing you’d do when you got there?

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P.S. Even though I knew the song “Mack the Knife”, I was not familiar with Kurt Weill but have since learned that he has an interesting story which includes some ties to classic movies. For more information about his life and career, please visit the website for The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.

Malabar Farm: A Getaway for Classic Movie Stars of the 40’s

Even though I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like, I love to travel, and as I mentioned in my recent tribute to Jimmy Stewart regarding the Jimmy Stewart Museum, there are several classic movie related places I’d love to visit someday.

I just found another one to add to my ever growing list, Malabar Farm in Ohio. If you are a big fan of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, you just may be interested in visiting, too.

I learned about Malabar Farm when I found an interesting article regarding a fundraiser called “Hollywood Returns to Malabar” which was held there last month. Stephen Bogart and Tyrone Power, Jr. who both have ties to Malabar Farm through their famous movie star fathers, attended the fundraiser to help preserve what is known as the “Big House” located at Malabar Farm State Park in Lucas, Ohio. Continue reading →

A Visit to the Ava Gardner Museum: One More for My Wish List

Was anyone else a big fan of Rachael Ray’s tv show “$40 a Day?” If you’re not familiar with it, it was a show on the Food Network where for each episode Rachael would spend 24 hours in a certain city with only $40 per day to spend on meals and snacks. The cameras would follow her around each city, and she would give tips on what local attractions to see, how to find bargains, and how to eat on a budget. That brief description doesn’t really do the show justice, but I’ll just say that I absolutely loved watching it, and it inspired me to want to travel more and take short trips to various cities throughout the United States.

My Classic Movie Trip Wish List

I’ve only taken one such trip so far – a  three day visit to Boston a few years ago, but I plan on going on many more in the years to come.  One thing I dream about doing on those trips is visiting as many classic movie related attractions and events as possible. It may be a while before I can fully realize that dream, but in the meantime I’m assembling a wish list that seems to be growing bigger every week. Some examples of the places I would like to visit and the events I would like to attend include the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Pennsylvania, the Warner Brothers Museum in California, the Clark Gable Museum and Bed & Breakfast in Cadiz, Ohio, and the annual Noir City Film Festival in San Francisco. Continue reading →