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Boogie Shoes

Yikes! That’s not from the 1930s!!!

And yet, that first line expresses Harold’s sentiments perfectly.

In the late twenties and early thirties, there seemed to be two main pastimes: dancing and going to the pictures (and even the picture shows featured dancing). Practically every little town hosted a Friday or Saturday night dance… in the armory, in a barn, at a local church, wherever space allowed.

Imagine how that would be for a fella with two left feet! Especially since Rose loves to dance. Poor Harold. Even the “simple” dances of the era–foxtrot, waltz, castle walk–were challenging. But that didn’t stop him. If dancing was what Rose wanted, well… Continue reading

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And the Winner Is…

This Sunday (26 Feb 2017) marks the 89th Annual Academy Awards. Shhhh, don’t tell anybody, but I never watch them. Too many long drawn out speeches. That said, I do have my favorites for Best Picture: Lion, Manchester by the Sea, Hidden Figures.

Rose didn’t watch the Academy Awards either. (Of course, she didn’t! There wasn’t TV, dodo!)

There were awards, though. The First academy awards were held on May 16, 1929. These were a private affair, held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, with only 270 people in attendance.  Tickets to the after-party were only $5 per person (equivalent to $70 in 2017). The winners, however, had been announced to the media three months earlier. (Apparently, the Awards Gurus realized their mistake, because the following year, the Awards Ceremony was broadcast live on radio.) I’m also certain the speeches weren’t quite so long back then; the entire ceremony only took 15 minutes. [1]

So, what won best picture at that first ceremony? (I know you’re dying to find out; it’s written all over your face.) The 1927/1928 Best Picture, announced that first year, was the only silent movie ever to win Best Picture. Here’s a clip…

Two young men—one rich, one middle class—who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I. [2]

Did Rose see the movie? You bet she did! She loves Clara Bow and Harold wouldn’t have complained at all since there were fighter pilots, and planes, and dogfights!

Sources and Notes

[1] from Wikipedia: 1st Academy Awards

[2] from IMBD: Wings

[3] Also from IMBD, the Remastered movie trailer for Wings

[4] In case you’d like to see the first Dogfight Scene (using real WWI pilots!)

A Tribute

I recently did a music/movie post, but that was before I noticed that Singin’ in the Rain was a song from Rose’s era. So, in tribute to my favorite movie ever and remembering all three of its stars now deceased—Gene Kelly, Donald O’Conner, and Debbie Reynolds, here is the original version of the song.

This version is from the movie The Hollywood Revue of 1929, sung by Cliff Edwards—aka Ukelele Ike—who was also the voice of Disney’s Jiminy Cricket. Actually, The Hollywood Revue was less of a movie and more of a variety show on film. There was no plot, no main character, just all of MGMs greatest stars trotted out on after the other to sing, dance, or… Gee, what is the verb form of comedian? Comede????

What’s a bit ironic, though, is that the movie Singin’ in the Rain is set at just exactly the time that the real song came out—the late twenties at the advent of talking pictures. So, while I watch this old video, I can picture Rose watching from her seat in the Rialto Theater and I can imagine Gene, Donald, and Debbie maybe hanging out backstage while the scene is being filmed.

For the weirdest version of Singing in the Rain ever, watch this finale from the Hollywood Revue of 1929.

It defies words… Really.

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Button Up Your Overcoat

While that’s good advice for a January in the northern hemisphere, this post is not a commentary on winter weather. Rather, I’ve been thinking about popular music that Rose might hum while she works, and Button Up Your Overcoat jumped out of the Wikipedia list of tunes made popular in 1929.

This song was first recorded by Ruth Etting in 1928 but was made famous by Helen Kane’s 1929 recording. Don’t recognize the name Helen Kane? Continue reading