Record Player

Sunday Song List: The Frank Sinatra Edition

I LOVE music of all kinds! I don’t think it’s much of an exaggeration to say that I could not live without it. From classical to blues to jazz to big band to rock ‘n roll to ’80s music – yes, it is an actual genre for those of us who grew up on it :-) and everything in between. I love it all! And if the music has any ties to classic film or that era, I have an even greater affection for it.

So for those that love music as much as I do, I thought it might be fun to share with you on occasion a simple lists of songs I listen to or discover as I indulge in my passion for entertainment from that great time period. Who knows, we may find that we have the same tastes in music and love the same songs or you may just discover a great new song you’ve never heard before.

rank Sinatra Nothing But the Best Album

Since it seems like I’m in a Frank Sinatra mood almost all the time and have been listening to him a lot lately, I thought I’d kick things off with a list of songs that he recorded during his career. In the future however, my lists will feature a variety of artists.

Some of these have been my favorite Sinatra recordings for a while and some I recently discovered through various movies or television specials. Continue reading →

Little Women 1933 vs. 1949 . . . and Dumb & Dumber (1994)?

Little Women 1994I am disappointed in myself regarding two things; 1) That I’ve never read “Little Women,” the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott about four sisters growing up in New England during the Civil War and 2) That back in 1994 (was that really over 20 years ago already?!) I was faced with the decision to go see one of two movies with my three sisters, Little Women or Dumb and Dumber, and while two of my sisters chose the former, my other sister and I chose the latter.

What was I thinking? I love comedies because I love to laugh, but disgusting “bathroom humor” is just not for me and that movie had plenty of it. You can bet that if I had that choice to make over again, I would have gone to see Little Women instead, especially since, come on, four sisters watching a movie about four sisters? What could be more fitting than that? :-)

I have yet to watch the 1994 movie, but I have now watched both the 1933 and 1949 versions. Thanks to my love of listening to podcasts I recently discovered a wonderful interview with actress Margaret O’Brien through the Warner Archive Collection Podcast. In the interview Margaret talked about what a great time she had filming Little Women (1949) with co-stars June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Janet Leigh, and it inspired me to watch both of the older films. I wasn’t necessarily watching them both to compare the two, but I was curious to see if I would like one more than the other. Keep in mind that my opinions are somewhat skewed because I wasn’t familiar with the story not having read the book, but I did indeed have a definite preference of the two. Continue reading →

Honoring the Legacy of Paul Newman on the Anniversary of His Birth

Paul Newman

If he were still alive, Paul Newman would have turned 90 years old today. As a way to honor his memory on the date of his birth, I thought I’d tell the story of how he went from being just another famous name I heard of while growing up to now being one of my favorite actors. I will also share with you a way that you can join his daughter Clea in honoring his legacy through something that Paul Newman was well known for – giving back.

Paul Newman is one of those names I heard quite often in my pre-old movie loving days but didn’t really know much about because I hadn’t seen any of his movies. Well, except for The Towering Inferno (1974) when I was very young, but I think I was too disturbed by that movie as a little girl to even give much thought as to who was in it. It’s interesting now to realize that I was watching some of my future favorites; Fred Astaire, William Holden and Paul Newman, and I had no idea they’d become a big part of my love for old movies many years down the road.

Whenever I heard the name Paul Newman, I would usually associate it with his blue eyes or maybe with Robert Redford because of the two movies they made together and their shared reputation as heartthrobs, but that was about it. Even after I became a huge fan of old movies, I didn’t watch much of his work because I preferred black and white movies from the ’30s and ’40s, and his film career did not begin until 1954. Continue reading →

Football

John Wayne and the Monday Morning Football Blues

When I woke up this morning, I was really hoping yesterday evening didn’t actually happen, but alas it did and today I have what Iwould call the Monday morning football blues.

If you happen to follow professional football, all you need to know is that I am a lifelong, diehard Green Bay Packers fan and that should tell you what kind of mood I’m in today. Frankly, I’m just super bummed out.

If you don’t follow football, I’ll just say that if not for an epic and stunning collapse at the end of the NFC Championship game yesterday, I’d be watching my team in the Super Bowl two weeks from now, but now I’ll probably be far away from the tv that day. Patriots vs. Seahawks, yuck!

Famous Actors Who Played Football

Anyway, as I was nervously awaiting the start of the game yesterday, I got the idea to research whether there were any old movie stars who played football either professionally or in college. I already knew about some of the more current actors who had played football of some kind like Mark Harmon, Dean Cain and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but I didn’t know if there was anyone from the classic era. Continue reading →

Christmas Traditions: Lionel Barrymore as Ebenezer Scrooge

A Christmas Carol 1938

A couple weeks ago I had the great opportunity to see two classic Christmas movies on the big screen thanks to the wonderful people at Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events. Many theaters throughout the country were showing a double feature of A Christmas Carol (1938) and Christmas in Connecticut (1945), and thankfully one of my local theaters was participating, a treat that doesn’t happen too often in my small’ish community.

Last time I was able to see an old movie on the big screen was when I made a 5 1/2 hour round trip drive to see Vertigo (1958) when the Landmark Theatres chain was showing it in select cities a year or two ago. Is that dedication to my passion for old movies or what? :-) Thankfully this time, my drive was only 10 minutes each way. Not bad!

Ben¬†Mankiewicz from Turner Classic Movies introduced both of the movies in the Christmas double feature, and in his introduction to A Christmas Carol, I learned something new (thanks Ben!) – that before the much loved Charles Dickens classic came to the screen, Lionel Barrymore performed the role of Ebenezer Scrooge on a radio version of the story. He first performed it in 1934, making this year the 80th anniversary of its debut, and listening to the subsequent years’ broadcasts with Barrymore reprising his role became an annual tradition for families across America.

A special performance was aired live on Christmas Eve in 1939 as part of the CBS Campbell Playhouse radio program. Narrated by Orson Welles, the program also featured music which was composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann. You can listen to a recording of that 1939 broadcast including all the original commercials at the Internet Archive website.

A Christmas Carol 1984

And speaking of annual traditions, I have one of my own that I started many years ago that fittingly includes viewing A Christmas Carol every Christmas Eve night. However, the one I watch is the one from 1984 starring George C. Scott. My tenth grade English teacher shared her affinity for that version with us in class, and it has been my favorite ever since. As much as I love old movies, it still beats out the 1938 and 1951 versions for me even though I enjoy both of those as well.

My tradition has been to watch two Christmas themed episodes of Little House on the Prairie and then A Christmas Carol (1984) with all the lights off in my house except for those on my Christmas tree. I’ve missed very few years since I started, and I plan on doing it once again tonight. I can’t wait!

If you and/or your family will be partaking in a special holiday tradition this year, I hope you enjoy it as much as I will mine! I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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