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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Star Is Born, , , , , , , , musicals, Nicholas Brothers,   


    Just as all good things must come to an end, so too must all bad things (even Trump’s evil rule will run out of recourse eventually — e.g., the fat lady’s last aria at the opera seems to go on forever; will it end short of becoming a hoarse opera?). What it all a-mounts to is….

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch , we bid happy trails to “bad” actors not named Trump, and end our HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN AGE series with a roundup of some of the era’s great song & dance stars, starting with this incomparable pair whose magic outlasted their time:

    When it comes to high-energy dancing, no one outshined Gene Kelly. Here he is in THE PIRATE (1948), clowning around with the fabulous Nicholas Brothers:

    I do have one regret about this retrospective: so many musical stars, so little time and wherewithal for them all. Perhaps, as time goes by, I will use a favorite star’s birthday as an occasion to do an occasional post.

    In closing (speaking of when A STAR IS BORN), if ever someone was born to be one, it’s this star-crossed girl/woman with whom we bring down the curtain on this series:

    • calmkate 4:07 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      what a joyful collection of viewing, thanks Mr M!

      But Ginger and Fred are just sheer magic … no couple have ever created the ease and charm that they exuded on screen! My forever heros 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      • mistermuse 10:54 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        It didn’t hurt (quoting from A SMITHSONIAN SALUTE TO THE AMERICAN MUSICAL) that “Astaire and Rogers worked with the finest composers of their day. Of their ten films together, one featured music by Cole Porter, two by Jerome Kern, one by George and Ira Gershwin, and three by Irvine Berlin.” Throw in great directors and supporting casts, and it’s no wonder there was movie magic!

        Liked by 3 people

        • calmkate 6:15 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink

          that would certainly help and their stage settings add to the majesty but they had class and talent by the ton!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger 9:27 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Have you seen the new movie Judy? I liked it very much. It focuses on the final months of her life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:01 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Haven’t seen it, but saw snippets and an interview with the star on TV. Thanks for your comment.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ashley 1:51 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      This has been a great series and you should be congratulated for putting it all together.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:28 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Many thanks, Ashley….and I even managed to cast a few aspersions at Trump in the bargain.


    • Rosaliene Bacchus 3:39 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I could watch Fred & Ginger and Gene Kelly dance all day long! They brought joy to my tumultous young life.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 6:34 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        To bring joy to a “tumultuous young life” — as Ira Gershwin wrote and Gene Kelly sang (in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS), “Who could ask for anything more?”

        Liked by 2 people

    • Rivergirl 8:52 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      The Nicholas Brothers! That goes back…

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 11:31 pm on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        They go way back, but they lived long — especially the older brother, who died in 2006 at age 91.

        Liked by 2 people

    • mlrover 8:53 am on November 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Ginger spoke in an interview about that particular dance. Fred insisted on perfection, and as usual, doing it in one take. She said that by the time this scene was done as he liked it there was blood in her shoes. She also said, as she had before and would again, that she got paid less and did everything he did in heels and backward.

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 1:28 pm on November 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Fred was indeed a perfectionist. Quoting from the book I mentioned in my earlier reply to calmkate, “the roller skating sequence in SHALL WE DANCE, for example, was shot 30 times, and the Never Gonna Dance number from SWING TIME was done in forty-eight takes.” As for Ginger, “I had plenty of input in our routines and got to be known as the ‘button finder’….the one who puts the last word or finishing touch on a scene.” So I don’t blame her for complaining “that she got paid less.”

        Although Ginger “did everything he did in heels and backward,” the one thing she didn’t do as well was sing. Irving Berlin said, “I’d rather have Fred Astaire introduce one of my songs than any other singer I know — not because he has a great voice, but because his delivery and diction are so good that he can put over a song like nobody else.”

        Liked by 2 people

        • David Thompson 9:00 pm on December 6, 2019 Permalink

          I grew up, will h my mother’s influence ..with this era. I am richer for the experience.


    • Elizabeth 1:40 pm on November 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I loved this series. Thanks for all the time and thoughtfulness you put into it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Silver Screenings 12:22 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Amazing tributes, all, but the one for Judy Garland is amazing. To see all those films in one clip is a little mind-blowing. She was certainly prolific!

      Liked by 2 people

    • mistermuse 1:50 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I’m glad you singled out the Garland clip for special mention — it was an unexpected find, and probably my favorite in this series.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:12 pm on December 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for the Like, David Thompson. I tried to check out your blog, but when I click the link, I get a blank screen. Before I approve your comment, kindly advise if your blog is not operational for some reason.


  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe, Blues In The Night, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Dorothy Dandridge, Grand Canyon, , , Nicholas Brothers, , railroads, Sun Valley Serenade, trains, Union Pacific Railroad, Vienna Waltz   


    All my life I have been thrilled by the names of famous trains. The Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul, the Train Bleu rushing through the night to the Riviera, the Flying Scotsman and the Brighton Belle rolling north and south from London, the Twentieth Century Limited, the Santa Fe Chief and Super Chief crossing the vast continent of America — these were magical names to people of my generation, but on a dark November evening in 1963 the rather dingy train awaiting us in the Zurich station offered no interest until, at a second glance, I noticed that under the grime it bore a name in letters which had once been of polished brass — the Wiener Waltzer [Vienna Waltz]! My spirits rose. How charming, how romantic and how right, I thought, for I was on my way to Vienna to play the part of Johann Strauss in a picture.
    –Brian Aherne, English-American actor (1902-86)

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I, too, have long been fascinated by trains — probably since the age of 12, when I traveled with my family by train from Cincinnati to Mexico City. Perhaps my most vivid memory of that trip: the elegant dining car, lined on each side of the aisle with tables covered by immaculate white tablecloths topped by spotless linens and tableware, at which we would sit like ‘big wheels’ eating leisurely meals as the scenery rolled by. “Dinner in the diner, nothing could be finer” — like the old song, now echoing back over time.

    On the wall near where I sit as I write this post, hangs a large 1966 calendar published by the Union Pacific Railroad (“Road of the Domeliners”). Above each month is a color photo of a scene which is presumably within viewing or dreaming distance of a Domeliner: Sun Valley, Idaho; Morro Bay, California; Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon; Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona; a covered bridge somewhere in northern California; and so on. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge in 51 years.

    But the handwriting was already on the wall for iconic streamliners in America by 1966. Numbered were the days of such storied trains as the CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO and railroads like THE ATCHISON, TOPEKA AND THE SANTA FE. Sad to say, the new kid on the track, AMTRAC, would lack their imagery….not to mention, their soundtrack songs from films such as SUN VALLEY SERENADE (1941) and THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946):

    Those were the days, my friend. Clickety-clack, echoing back. It’s enough to give one the….

    NOTE: I will be taking a one-post break. Until my next post on June 20, keep your dreams intact and your hopes on track.



    • calmkate 1:00 am on June 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      ah that brought back a few memories … here we have The Ghan and a few others that cross our vast arid interior … hadn’t realised you had a posting schedule, enjoy your break 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:17 am on June 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I hear that tourists can even travel by train now to (near) Ayers Rock in Australia’s remote outback. Perhaps “The Ghan” is one of those trains. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • calmkate 7:41 am on June 10, 2017 Permalink

          it is indeed that train, a trip I would love to do one day as I love our outback and Uluru [AR] is a magic spiritual spot … been there twice 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Garfield Hug 3:43 am on June 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Have a good break â˜ș

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:18 am on June 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you! 🙂


    • Ricardo 11:22 am on June 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Coincidentally, the girl and I have just booked a trip from Anchorage to Denali in August by train. It will be my first non-commuter train ride ever.

      Mexico City by train? There’s a trip I could go on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:52 pm on June 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Conversely, Ricardo, I have never been on a commuter train ride, and Anchorage to Denali by train is a trip I could go on. I envy you!


    • WanderlustAndSmoke 4:36 pm on June 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for visiting my page. I also enjoy your content! Keep it up 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 8:20 am on June 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great selection Muse. Now there’s no real scenery with this train. Well none you’d really like to see but still the music is just fine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:24 pm on June 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Don — that’s an Ellington classic. If I had time, I could probably find a dozen old train songs on Youtube. Here’s one from a 1948 Irving Berlin musical (EASTER PARADE) starring two legendary performers:


    • MĂ©l@nie 12:14 pm on June 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      my very best & bonnes vacances, Monsieur Muse! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 7:14 am on June 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Love the dining car nostalgia! It’s too bad we do not have a more extensive passenger train network in this country. Especially since the airline experience has gone down the tubes. In the old days they used to sing about the romance of air travel (“Flying Down to Rio”)–but no more!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:13 am on June 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Linnet. Your comment leads me to a connection which, unlike today’s airline experience, is easy to make for those of us who are fans of old movies: Fred Astaire appeared in both FLYING DOWN TO RIO (1933) – – his first pairing with Ginger Rogers — and 15 years later in EASTER PARADE with Judy Garland (see the “When That Midnight Choo Choo Leaves For Alabam” clip above).

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Scheel 1:33 pm on June 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply


      You know, Atchison and Topeka are nearby Dee and me. Been there many times. Ridden the train out of Emporia many times (a railroad center in its day–the William Allen White era). Got caught in a blizzard once trying to get to KC and catch my flight to Washington D.C. to process through National Red Cross HQ for Germany. And I saw the Orient Express in Germany once, but didn’t ride on it. Rode others. Don’t overlook “Folsom Prison Blues,” by Johnny Cash. And “City of New Orleans,” by Steve Goodman. On and on. Thanks for the memories!


      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 2:37 pm on June 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        You’re welcome, Mark. What a thrill it would’ve been to ride on the Orient Express, made legendary by Agatha Christie’s novel MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (I wonder if there has ever been a real murder on the Orient Express?)!

        Love “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash, but the “Blues in the Night” clip is a much better fit for this post because of the train lyrics (“Now the rain’s a-fallin’ / Hear the train a-callin’, whoo-ee! / Hear that lonesome whistle blowin’ ‘cross the trestle, whoo-ee / A-whoo-ee-Ah-whoo-ee, ol’ clickety-clack’s a-echoin’ back / The blues in the night”).


        • Mark Scheel 3:27 pm on June 17, 2017 Permalink


          I think it’s a close call:
          I hear the train a comin’ rollin’ round the bend…/While a train keeps a rollin’ on down to San Antone…/When I hear that whistle blowin’ I hang my head and I cry/Well I’ll bet there’s rich folks eatin’ in some fancy dining car…/Well if they freed me from this prison if that railroad train was mine/Bet I’d move it on a little farther down the line/Far from Folsom Prison that’s where I long to stay/Then I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away.

          Yep, Johnny was a great one! 🙂


          Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:17 pm on June 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      You’re right, Mark — Johnny Cash was a great one. I have “Folsom Prison Blues” on LP but hadn’t played it in a long time — I should’ve listened to it again before my previous comment….but, even though it’s a close call, I think I still would’ve used “Blues in the Night” because of the film clip I chose.


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