Tag-Archive for » Judy Garland «
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).
Learning about the song also inspired me to learn more about the Gershwins who I realized I didn’t really know much about. It’s probably something I should have already known, but I was surprised to learn that George (pictured at left) died tragically of a brain tumor in 1937 at age 38. For some reason I was thinking he was around a lot later than that. His brother Ira did live a long life though, dying in 1983 at age 86.
I love it when studying one topic takes me on a trail of discovery about a different subject, so it was great to learn more about the Gershwin brothers, listening to a little Rhapsody in Blue along the way.
The version of “But Not for Me” that we played was arranged by composer Warren Barker, who worked as a composer and arranger-conductor for studios such as 20th Century Fox, MGM and Columbia. He also composed music for over thirty television series including the popular tv show, Bewitched, and arranged pieces for concert and community bands like mine.
Being an instrumental version of the song, our piece didn’t necessarily sound like the ones performed over the years by many well known singers, but it was still interesting to listen to other versions by those who have recorded the tune in the past.
Some of those artists include Ketty Lester, Chet Baker, Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, Miles Davis, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, John Coltrane (I have his instrumental version on my iPod), Rosemary Clooney, and Frank Sinatra. Besides the Coltrane instrumental, my favorite version is the one by Sam Cooke. I just love his soulful vocals, and he has one of those voices that I could listen to all day long.
Are you familiar with the song “But Not for Me” and if so, do you have a favorite version?
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 »
This post is an entry in the Gene Kelly Centennial Blogathon, hosted by the Classic Movie Blog Association. Please visit the CMBA site to read all the other great entries.
I was fortunate to become a member of the CMBA earlier this year, and when I discovered they were hosting a blogathon honoring Gene Kelly, I jumped at the chance to participate.
I mean who wouldn’t want a ready made excuse to watch another Gene Kelly movie? Well okay, I guess people who don’t know or like Gene Kelly. But thankfully that’s not me. I love him as an actor, and he is my favorite dancer. I truly could watch him dance all day long!
When I saw that all of the Gene Kelly movies I was interested in covering had already been spoken for, I chose to watch the movie Deep in My Heart (1954) just because I had never seen it before. Excited to see Gene in something new, I was disappointed to say the least when I checked out the DVD from the library and realized that he is only in the movie for a whopping 2 minutes!
So I admit, I struggled with what to do for this post since it is meant to honor Gene Kelly, and to devote the whole post to a movie he barely appeared in didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Yes, I know I could have picked a different movie, but as long as I had it in my possession and didn’t have much time to find something else, I decided to stick with it, especially when I discovered all the talented actors, dancers, and singers that star in the movie.
So I decided to write the following review of the movie and then follow it up with a list of some of my favorite Gene Kelly dance partners. Continue reading »