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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Golden Age films, , , , , , , Shop Around the Corner, summer, summertime, Van Johnson   


    Tomorrow is the first official day of smelly armpits season (unless, of course, you live in the southern hemisphere of earth — or in any hemisphere of Ur-anus, where, they say, it stinks the year round). To greet the season, I’m saluting summer with a look back at several good old summer films (and I mean films that actually have “summer” in the title).

    It’s unthinkable that there’s no unstinkable way of sweating as I wrack my brain composing a fulsome introduction to each movie, so I’ll make do with a minimum of b.s. (background setting) preceding each clip….then sum(mer) it all up with bonus b.s. at post’s end.

    First we have SUMMERTIME (1955), starring Katherine Hepburn as a spinster vacationing in Venice. After meeting and being attracted to shop owner Rossano Brazzi in his antiques store, they unexpectedly encounter each other again in this scene:

    Next: IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949) starring Judy Garland & Van Johnson as lonelyhearts pen pals in a musical remake of THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Jimmy Stewart. Here is the trailer:

    Last we have SUMMER AND SMOKE (1961), a film adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play, neither of which I have seen, but which I include here because its title serves as a “Perfect!” lead-in to this anecdote told by the late actor Tony Randall (and which relates back to the first of our films):

    David Lean, one of the world’s finest directors, is a meticulous and fastidious craftsman, compulsive and uncompromising about getting things exactly the way he wants them. There is a scene in Summertime in which the [female] owner of a Venetian pensione arranges a tryst with a young American guest at night on the terrace of the pensione. Lean put the couple in two high-backed wicker chairs that completely envelope them,  placed with their backs to the camera so that all the lens could see were her left hand holding his right hand and puffs of white smoke from their cigarettes curling above the backs of the chairs. The brief scene, which could have been shot with any two people sitting in the chairs and the voices of the couple dubbed in later, took an entire night and a carton of cigarettes to film. Lean made the two actors do it over and over. Just as dawn was about to break, Lean finally got a shot that satisfied him.
    “Perfect! Perfect!” Lean exclaimed enthusiastically. “The puffs were perfect!”

    It seems we’ve come to the end  — but where, you might ask, is the promised “bonus b.s.”? Will you settle for the bonus without the b.s.? Here is the trailer for the aforementioned THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, directed by that master of “the Lubitsch touch” of happy memory to Golden Age film buffs:



    • Ricardo 12:51 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Apropos of nearly nothing, I noticed the other day that “Wet Hot American Summer” was available on Netflix, Sr. Muse. If that doesn’t make you want to subscribe, whatever will?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:39 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        “Wet Hot American Summer’ sounds too cerebral for my tastes, Ricardo, but thanks anyway for the heads up.


    • linnetmoss 6:55 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I do love “The Shop Around the Corner”! When I hear about “Summertime,” I always think of the story that Hepburn fell into a Venetian canal and got a terrible ear infection. It may be a beautiful city, but the water is icky!

      Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 7:27 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I remember that cane chair smoking scene well 🙂
      need to work on your bs …

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:32 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Linnet, I appreciate your comment. Perhaps I should should have noted in my post that SUMMERTIME was filmed on location in Venice. Here is the scene in which Hepburn falls into the canal:


    • Garfield Hug 7:51 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Lol!! “Season of smelly armpits!!” 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

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

        Perhaps you’ve heard of the old phrase, “It’s the pits!” — it originally referred to stinky armpits, then came to metaphorically mean anything that stinks. And that’s my trivia lesson for today!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:37 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      We can’t have summer without..

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:39 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Don. For those who may wonder who is the singer with the beautiful soprano voice, her name is Harolyn (not a typo) Blackwell.


    • D. Wallace Peach 6:32 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I haven’t seen any of your Summertime movies. I liked Hepburn as a kid and should pick that one up. I fell into a canal in Holland, so I can relate. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:51 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Diana, no doubt your fall into the canal in Holland was no Dutch treat (except perhaps to a few juvenile bystanders who may have thought it was funny), but I’m sure you will find Kathryn Hepburn and SUMMERTIME to be a treat. Enjoy!

        Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 1:09 am on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      And from what I’m reading about climate change we could have smelly armpits a lot longer. Unfortunately accompanied by widespread heat alerts and drought in the west.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:28 am on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      You’re right — climate change is the pits!


    • RMW 12:53 pm on June 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Summertime is one of my all-time favorite movies (I do have quite a few on my list). The romance between Hepburn and Brazzi left so much to the imagination, making it even more “romantic.” I can’t imagine either actor being willing to bare it all in front of the camera! Thank heavens…

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bea Wain, big band singers, , end of summer, , , summer   


    In a way, this post is a retroactive prequel to my EARLY AUTUMN post of Sept. 24, 2014 which recognized such classic old songs of the season as AUTUMN IN NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER SONG and (aptly enough) EARLY AUTUMN. I don’t know where you are, but where I am, tomorrow is the last day of summer, and I am off again on another seasonal trip to music’s halcyon days, before SUMMER HAS GONE:

    Doris Day, as some of you may remember, was a top movie star in the 1950s-60s. A native of my home town (Cincinnati), and still with us at age 92, she started as a big band singer in 1939. Though never one of my favorite vocalists, I think her rendition of the above is so spot-on that a FADED SUMMER LOVE curtain call is warranted:

    May your June-September memories be warm ones as autumn falls upon us, leaving behind SUMMER SOUVENIRS that live on (speaking of which, this song’s singer, 99 year old former big band vocalist Bea Wain, makes Doris Day look like a spring chicken):

    • Midwestern Plant Girl 6:27 am on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Very beautiful autumn songs!

      Liked by 1 person

    • linnetmoss 7:18 am on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Why do they all say “autumn” not “Fall”?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:07 am on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Well, if it must “fall” on me to answer that question, the songwriters probably thought “autumn” sounds classier and fits better in the lyrics (two syllables rather than one). 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 9:41 am on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The leaves don’t fall off the trees until January here, Sr. Muse–the trees that do have falling leaves, palms and firs being the exception. Then they’re all greened up again by the end of March. Barely worth a tune.


      • mistermuse 1:34 pm on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        WINTER IN SAN DIEGO might make a good tune, Ricardo, but don’t color me green with envy, as I like spring and especially autumn too much to want to live there year-round.


    • Cynthia Jobin 10:44 am on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      These days I can’t put Doris Day in mind without also thinking of PDQ Bach”s wonderfully sacrilegious “Agnes Dei and her sister Doris….”

      Summer is not my favorite season, so it’s okay with me that it’s coming to an end. On the other hand, I love the bittersweet fall and am much more attuned to September Song and Autumn in New York. I once saw a bit on the Johnny Carson show where he was trying to prove that if you hummed the opening bars of Autumn in New York you couldn’t possibly then remember the opening bars of Moonlight in Vermont, and vice versa.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 1:19 pm on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        My late mother-in-law’s name was Agnes, but her last name was Haas — she was a Haaswife until the Dei she got divorced, which was extremely sacrilegious because she was Catholic….and her sister’s name was Alberta, which is pretty close to Doris if you don’t think about it, which I hope you don’t. 🙂

        Interesting bit about the bit on Johnny Carson. AUTUMN IN NEW YORK was composed by Vernon Duke in 1935, which I think was several years before MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT, so it appears the composer of the latter moonlighted as a Vernon Duke wannabe.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 6:09 pm on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Doris Day did the trick here Muse. Nice stuff.

      Bea Wain? Never heard of her before. But I just got done listening to her sing Heart and Soul. Really nice. She was born Beatrice Weisner in Da Bronx. I think I’ve heard of that place. Thanks for introducing her, That’s why you’re here Muse. Keep them alive.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:20 pm on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Bea Wain is one of my favorite female vocalists of the big band era, Don. I own several dozen of her old 78 rpm records, but I didn’t know she is still living until I checked. Her late husband was André Baruch, a well known radio announcer whom you may have heard of — he and Bea were a famous disc jockey team known as Mr. & Mrs. Music on WMCA in NYC back in the day. He was also part of the Brooklyn Dodgers broadcast team on WMGM radio and WOR-TV from 1954 to 1956.


    • BroadBlogs 8:27 pm on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply


      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 9:01 pm on September 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply


      Liked by 1 person

    • inesephoto 4:33 pm on September 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Exquisite September post! I absolutely enjoyed the music – can listen to Doris Day for hours 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , lazy, , , , summer, summer songs   


    In summer, the song sings itself. –William Carlos Williams
    Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. –Sam Keen

    June 20 being the first day of summer, and thus the ‘official’ start of those lazy hazy days of summer, what better time to rest on my laurels — such as they are — and take it easy. The less said (and the more summer songs I can summon to save me the amount of work that went into my last post), the less strain on my brain to compose today’s post (if that rationale sounds like a reprise of a vaguely familiar theme, I did a celebration of spring songs on March 20 — the first day of spring — titled IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SPRING).

    Excuse thus established, on with the show. Enjoy!

    And with that, my very fine feted friends (notice I didn’t say fine fetid friends), I declare that….

    • scifihammy 2:53 am on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Lovely post. I like the cat rescuing the fish! 🙂
      Enjoy your summer. – At the other end of the world, we are mid-winter!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:31 am on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you. I’ve heard of rescue dogs, but rescue cats? Sounds fishy to me — I’m thinkin’ maybe the cat was contemplating a snack but was so well fed that the fish swam away while the feline was still thinking about it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • scifihammy 8:34 am on June 20, 2016 Permalink

          I don’t know what goes on in a cat’s head! Maybe it just thought it didn’t look right, so fixed it. 🙂 Also, I thought it was a clockwork fish! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:35 am on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’m in La Paz, where it’s summer until about December and some years longer. Suits me perfectly.


    • mistermuse 11:51 am on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Scifihammy, I must confess I’ve never heard of a clockwork fish, but I am familiar with A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (both the movie and the fruit). I recommend you get only the juice of the latter (like MINUTE Maid), otherwise you may have a hard time digesting the clockwork. 🙂


    • Cynthia Jobin 9:31 pm on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I especially like that one-man barbershop quartet. I always enjoyed singing in an a cappella quartet, and now I think that if I were still young (and technology savvy) I would definitely want to try to pull-off something like that. I don’t know if I could do four voices, but three would certainly be possible. I could be a one-woman Andrews Sisters!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:27 pm on June 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        As good as the Andrews Sisters were, I prefer their ‘jazzier’ predecessors The Boswell Sisters, who were from New Orleans & disbanded in 1935. Here they are in a scene from a 1934 film singing a song titled ROCK & ROLL before there was such a thing as rock & roll!

        As for barbershop quartets — here’s a great scene from the 1949 Judy Garland film MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS:

        Liked by 1 person

    • RMW 5:13 pm on June 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Always a sucker for a cat video, I like to imagine he was indeed rescuing the poor thing rather than thinking about dinner.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:41 pm on June 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’d like to think so too, RMW….or, if not rescuing, just too well fed and/or lazy to pursue the matter fur-ther.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 7:00 am on April 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , summer, tuxedos   


    April 25 is World Penguin Day. As everyone knows, a penguin is an extremely dignified bird which waddles like a duck, but isn’t a duck — which is a bird that quacks like a duck, but isn’t a penguin….nor do ducks wear tux. Penguins are so dignified that they never go anywhere without their tuxedos on….just as polar bears are so snooty that they would never think of going shopping for prey without their white fur coats.

    Fortunately for penguins, they and polar bears are polar opposites, north and south-wise, so penguins are seldom dinner guests of polar bears outside of lax zoos, where space-saving co-mingling does not bode well for the waddlers. But both bear and penguin have similar seasonal tastes, and — lucky you — I have composed an illustrative poem, which I hope you have time to read:



    • Mélanie 8:05 am on April 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      @”PENGUINS AND POLAR BEARS” – I love them both… my middle name could be Linux or Fram… 😉 meet cute Lala, please: 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:20 am on April 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Love it – merci beaucoup! Ou Lala, oui oui! (Also, how cool is Scott Joplin’s MAPLE LEAF RAG as background music!)


    • arekhill1 1:20 pm on April 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think World Penguin Day should pass by us without taking note of The Penguin–one of Batman’s most feared enemies.


    • mistermuse 3:46 pm on April 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Not to mention the Pittsburgh Penguins, who play hockey surprisingly well, considering how restrictive tuxedos are. I suppose all that waddling enables them to bob and weave their way around and through opposing defenses.


    • Don Frankel 10:25 am on April 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Summer could learn something from her. Picture a tomboy dressed in lace. Lala with the laughing face.

      The best Penquin of all time was Burgess Meredith.


      • mistermuse 1:43 pm on April 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        ….”the face in the misty light, the laugh that floats on a summer night.”
        That was Lala….”but she’s only a dream.”


    • BroadBlogs 1:09 pm on April 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Love, love, love Penguins!!!


    • mistermuse 1:56 pm on April 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      There’s a large aquatium nearby which is a major draw for both tourists and locals. The most popular attraction there, year in and year out, is the Penguin Exhibit. Google NEWPORT AQUARIUM for more info.


    • Joseph Nebus 10:53 pm on April 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, I’m so sorry to have missed World Penguin Day. I suppose I was too busy to observe it anyway, but still, I’m sorry to miss it.


    • mistermuse 6:45 am on April 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      On behalf of the world’s penguins, I forgive you.


  • mistermuse 7:24 pm on June 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , summer   


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