Archive for the Category »Songwriters «

The Pajama Game (1957)

As a resident of the state of Wisconsin as well a huge football fan, I’ve certainly been no stranger to the world of union disputes lately. With the labor unrest in Madison and the battle between NFL players and owners both dominating the news, it was quite timely but totally coincidental that I decided to watch a movie whose plot basically revolves around a union dispute.

However, there was just a *slight* difference in the amount of money being fought over in the movie. By slight I mean billions of dollars (in the NFL) vs. 7 ½ cents an hour. ;-) Sounds a bit ridiculous I know, but the movie I’m referring to is a musical comedy from 1957 called The Pajama Game, which centers around a union in a pajama factory fighting for a 7 ½ cent raise. With $1/hr. being the minimum wage in 1957, 7 ½ cents probably did seem like a lot back then, but it’s funny how insignificant it seems now compared to the amounts currently being contested. Continue reading »

The Lone Star State: Classic Movie Actors From Texas

As mentioned in my post from a few weeks ago about classic movie actors from Wisconsin, I decided to start a series highlighting the birth states of other well known classic movie stars, eventually covering the remaining 49 states over the course of this year. Not wanting to play favorites, I came up with a way to randomly assign a number order to the other states. So next up in the series . . . the Lone Star State, Texas.

Here are just a few stars from that state:

Joan Crawford

Born:  March 23, 1905 in San Antonio, TX

Died:  May 10, 1977 (aged 72)

Married five times including marriages to actors Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Franchot Tone

Known for the Movies: Grand Hotel, The Women, Mildred Pierce, Humoresque, Daisy Kenyon



Interesting Facts About Joan Crawford:

  • Her real name was Lucille Le Sueur. MGM did not feel that was a fitting name for a star so they held a contest in Photoplay magazine asking readers to vote on a new name for her, which is how she became known as Joan Crawford. In private however, she preferred to be called by her childhood nickname, Billie.
  • She married the Chairman of the Board of the Pepsi-Cola Co. in 1956 and continued on as an executive and spokesman for the company even after her husband died in 1959.
  • She was Fred Astaire’s first onscreen dance partner, appearing with him in the movie Dancing Lady (1933). Continue reading »
Happy Birthday Hoagy Carmichael

Hoagy Carmichael, a successful songwriter, composer, pianist, and actor, was born on this date, November 22, 1899 in Bloomington, Indiana. Carmichael started playing the piano at age six, having been influenced by his mother who helped support the family by playing piano at parties and as an accompaniment to silent movies.

As a songwriter, he is well known for his songs “Stardust” and “Georgia On My Mind”, the former having been recorded by several singers including Bing Crosby in 1931, and the latter having been recorded most notably by Ray Charles. In 1935, he moved to California and started composing songs for Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Some of the movies he composed songs for were I Met Him in Paris (“I Met Him in Paris”), Romance in the Dark (“The Nearness of You”), and Some Like it Hot with Bob Hope (“Heart and Soul”). Continue reading »

Jimmy Stewart: Was He Born to Dance and Sing?

When it comes to naming my favorite old movie star, no one else even comes close to Jimmy Stewart. I think he was a wonderful and diverse actor, a true gentleman in real life, and even though it’s not usually the first thing people think about him, at least not compared to actors like Clark Gable and Cary Grant, I find him to be extremely handsome and charming. I haven’t watched any of his westerns, but I have seen the majority of his most well-known or easy to find movies.

One of the movies that I had not yet seen until yesterday was the MGM musical Born to Dance (1936) starring Eleanor Powell. Jimmy Stewart’s profile on mentioned that his undubbed singing voice was showcased in that movie, and I had been hoping to find a copy of it so I could hear him sing. While doing a search at my local library last week, I discovered that they had gotten a DVD collection of musicals called Classic Musicals From the Dream Factory, Volume 3 and was happy to find that it contained Born to Dance. Continue reading »