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EdgeCliffe

Betty Grable

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Isn't it about time TCM paid tribute to the Pin Up queen of all time? December 18, 2016 marks the anniversary of Grable's 100th birthday. TCM has run some of Grable's films from time to time but she has never been Star of the Month.

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As a Fox star, Betty Grable's films are less available to TCM than the stars of MGM, Columbia, RKO, or Warner Brothers. But Fox has been making more of their films available to TCM than formerly, so there is hope. Grable was one of the biggest female box office stars ever, and I'd like to see more of her work.

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I love Betty Grable.  Not last year, but the year before when she had a SUTS day, I think it may be one of the few times in my history of having TCM that I actually watched multiple movies, in real time on the channel.  I normally record and watch later, but this particular day, which also was a weekend day, I was able to keep the TV on the channel all day.  I think I had to take a break at some point to get some things done, but I was back on at night to watch some more.  I saw so many of her films I hadn't seen:

 

Give Me a Sailor

Coney Island

The Dolly Sisters

Mother Wore Tights

Meet Me After the Show

 

I've also seen:

 

Down Argentine Way

Moon Over Miami

Pin Up Girl

I Wake Up Screaming

The Shocking Miss Pilgrim

Sweet Rosie O'Grady

Springtime in the Rockies

How to Marry a Millionaire

 

Prior to TCM, I really only knew Betty Grable from 'Millionaire' and her appearance as herself on the fourth 'Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour' episode "Lucy Wins a Racehorse." I also knew she was a WWII pin-up and had great legs.  However, I didn't really know how great of a star she really was.  Sure, she made a lot of the same type of musical, and didn't seem to stray from her comfort zone often.  As a result, some of her musicals tend to run together for me.  I think I Wake Up Screaming is her only attempt at a dramatic film.  However, there's no doubt that she was very talented, gorgeous and very charismatic.  I would definitely welcome a SOTM tribute to Grable.  I would welcome another SUTS tribute as well, but seeing she just had one two years ago, I doubt they will repeat so soon.

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I also knew she was a WWII pin-up and had great legs.

"There are two reasons why I am successful in show business and I'm standing on both of them."

-Betty Grable :)

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She has been showcase for Summer Under the Stars.  I've seen a lot of her films via other channels.  I love Betty Grable.

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I love Betty Grable. Not last year, but the year before when she had a SUTS day, I think it may be one of the few times in my history of having TCM that I actually watched multiple movies, in real time on the channel. I normally record and watch later, but this particular day, which also was a weekend day, I was able to keep the TV on the channel all day. I think I had to take a break at some point to get some things done, but I was back on at night to watch some more. I saw so many of her films I hadn't seen:

 

Give Me a Sailor

Coney Island

The Dolly Sisters

Mother Wore Tights

Meet Me After the Show

 

I've also seen:

 

Down Argentine Way

Moon Over Miami

Pin Up Girl

I Wake Up Screaming

The Shocking Miss Pilgrim

Sweet Rosie O'Grady

Springtime in the Rockies

How to Marry a Millionaire

 

Prior to TCM, I really only knew Betty Grable from 'Millionaire' and her appearance as herself on the fourth 'Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour' episode "Lucy Wins a Racehorse." I also knew she was a WWII pin-up and had great legs. However, I didn't really know how great of a star she really was. Sure, she made a lot of the same type of musical, and didn't seem to stray from her comfort zone often. As a result, some of her musicals tend to run together for me. I think I Wake Up Screaming is her only attempt at a dramatic film. However, there's no doubt that she was very talented, gorgeous and very charismatic. I would definitely welcome a SOTM tribute to Grable. I would welcome another SUTS tribute as well, but seeing she just had one two years ago, I doubt they will repeat so soon.

Great writeup. Grable did have her comfort zone, at least once she became a huge star, knowing exactly what her fans wanted, and she knew her limitations. Darryl Zanuck, head.of her studio, 20th Century Fox, tried to vary her formula, and push her to try other genres. After the early noir, I WAKE UP SCREAMING, she resisted.

 

In an early envisioning of THE RAZOR'S EDGE, Zanuck proposed to Grable to be the tragic Sophie. She told him her fans would never go for it, expecting her to rise from the waters (she drowns in the story), seaweed in hair, and burst into song. Around this time, the studio did try to vary her musicals, but the likes of THE SHOCKING MISS PILGRIM, THAT LADY IN ERMINE, and THE BEAUTIFUL BLONDE FROM BASHFUL BEND did much more poorly at the boxoffice that the tried and true.

 

In the early 50s, Fox tried to get her to do more sophsiticated comedy, but either she wasn't interested, unavailable, or on suspension. In 1952, the studio wanted.her to do another noir, and offered her a script called "Blaze of Glory". She flatly turned it down, stating it called for a highly dramatic actress. Additionally, she referred to it as a "skid" picture, something a studio wants a star to do when they were on the skids, hoping to finish them off. She sustained another suspension, and the studio cast Jean Peters, and the film became a.noir classic under its new name PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET.

 

Betty Grable should have allowed herself more challenges,.and her film career might not have died out so quickly in the mid 1950s. Still, I enjoy her in her films, and respect her place in film history as one of the most popular movie stars ever, and the enduring iconic pin up girl.

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Great writeup. Grable did have her comfort zone, at least once she became a huge star, knowing exactly what her fans wanted, and she knew her limitations. Darryl Zanuck, head.of her studio, 20th Century Fox, tried to vary her formula, and push her to try other genres. After the early noir, I WAKE UP SCREAMING, she resisted.

 

In an early envisioning of THE RAZOR'S EDGE, Zanuck proposed to Grable to be the tragic Sophie. She told him her fans would never go for it, expecting her to rise from the waters (she drowns in the story), seaweed in hair, and burst into song. Around this time, the studio did try to vary her musicals, but the likes of THE SHOCKING MISS PILGRIM, THAT LADY IN ERMINE, and THE BEAUTIFUL BLONDE FROM BASHFUL BEND did much more poorly at the boxoffice that the tried and true.

 

In the early 50s, Fox tried to get her to do more sophsiticated comedy, but either she wasn't interested, unavailable, or on suspension. In 1952, the studio wanted.her to do another noir, and offered her a script called "Blaze of Glory". She flatly turned it down, stating it called for a highly dramatic actress. Additionally, she referred to it as a "skid" picture, something a studio wants a star to do when they were on the skids, hoping to finish them off. She sustained another suspension, and the studio cast Jean Peters, and the film became a.noir classic under its new name PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET.

 

Betty Grable should have allowed herself more challenges,.and her film career might not have died out so quickly in the mid 1950s. Still, I enjoy her in her films, and respect her place in film history as one of the most popular movie stars ever, and the enduring iconic pin up girl.

Thanks Arturo! I can't believe she turned down Pickup on South Street, what a great film! Though I don't know if I could buy her as a tacky, former prostitute--though I'll never know, she didn't take the opportunity. 

 

She would have been great in the 1950s melodramas.  I could see her as Sandra Dee's mother in A Summer Place.  

 

It's also a shame that she died so young in 1973.  I think she was only what, 56? 

 

She would have been great playing Mitzi Gaynor's mom or something in Mitzi's TV Specials of the 1960s-1970s.

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I was surprised at 16 year old Betty in Hold 'Em Jail that was on TCM the other day. I wasn't aware she went back that far.

 

HoldEmJail-Cast-3.png

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I believe she made her screen debut in 1929 or 1930 when she was 13ish.  She lied about her age, stating that she was 15 or so.  I think the earliest Grable appearance I've seen is in The Gay Divorcee.  She was a Goldwyn Girl along with Lucille Ball.  She also dated Desi Arnaz in the late 30s before he met Lucy.

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Betty Grable did have an underestimated view of her own acting in dramatic roles, but she was a generous actress who was happy to share the screen with her so-called rivals.  The press was expecting her and Monroe to have fights on the set of How to Marry a Millionaire, but it was exactly the opposite.  they were great friends.

 

Grable makes a very important appearance in her publicity photo in the movie Stalag 17. The film takes place during the time before and after she marries bandleader Artie Shaw.  Animal is totally in love with her (played by Robert Strauss).  When she marries he is devastated and when his buddy puts on a wig to dance with him, Animal believes he is dancing with Betty Grable and serenades his partner with "I Love You."

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I don't believe that Betty Grable and Artie Shaw were ever married. He married eight times, counting Ava Gardner and Lana Turner among his harem. Grable did marry a bandleader however, she was married to Harry James. What's funny in "How to Marry a Millionaire," there's a scene where Grable and Rory Calhoun listen to the radio and hear a trumpet player. Grable insists that it's Harry James and the radio announcer comes on and says: "That was [insert trumpet player's name here, that is not Harry James]" and Grable turns the radio off in disgust.

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I don't believe that Betty Grable and Artie Shaw were ever married. He married eight times, counting Ava Gardner and Lana Turner among his harem. Grable did marry a bandleader however, she was married to Harry James. What's funny in "How to Marry a Millionaire," there's a scene where Grable and Rory Calhoun listen to the radio and hear a trumpet player. Grable insists that it's Harry James and the radio announcer comes on and says: "That was [insert trumpet player's name here, that is not Harry James]" and Grable turns the radio off in disgust.

He (Shaw)was engaged to her. I was talking about the film Stalag 17, however - not real life - and James is not mentioned in the film.  What happened in real life and what POWS in Stalag 17 heard weeks after things happened (newspapers would come to them weeks old) are not the same thing.

 

Animal believed she had married Shaw. And that was all that mattered to him.

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By the way, the reason I mention Betty Grable in regards to Stalag 17 in this thread is that they do air this film on TCM.   TCM does not own the rights to a lot of her movies.  And regardless of who marries Betty, the character of Animal and his buddy are the comic relief of the movie.  Otherwise this is a serious dark and realistic look at the unlikelihood of anyone escaping the prison camp alive with a man who is tipping the guards off when and where  escapes will happen.

 

Then men think it is a traitor.  It is actually a spy.

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By the way, the reason I mention Betty Grable in regards to Stalag 17 in this thread is that they do air this film on TCM.   TCM does not own the rights to a lot of her movies.  And regardless of who marries Betty, the character of Animal and his buddy are the comic relief of the movie.  Otherwise this is a serious dark and realistic look at the unlikelihood of anyone escaping the prison camp alive with a man who is tipping the guards off when and where  escapes will happen.

 

Then men think it is a traitor.  It is actually a spy.

 

Ok, right, Betty Grable is talked about repeatedly in Stalag 17, and one of the characters is obsessed with her. But we do need to keep in mind that, while the film is worth mentioning in a thread about Betty Grable because of the prisoner's infatuation with her, and in fact, her poster graces the walls of the prisoners' cabin, she does not actually appear in Stalag 17. The way you wrote this,

 

"Grable makes a very important appearance in her publicity photo in the movie Stalag 17."

 

would suggest to someone who hasn't seen the movie that she does. Yes,  you do say "publicity photo", but for anyone who's not seen this movie, it does make it sound like she has more to do with it than she actually does.

 

By the way, Stalag 17 is a great movie. It's a shame to give away the ending like you did.

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Ok, right, Betty Grable is talked about repeatedly in Stalag 17, and one of the characters is obsessed with her. But we do need to keep in mind that, while the film is worth mentioning in a thread about Betty Grable because of the prisoner's infatuation with her, and in fact, her poster graces the walls of the prisoners' cabin, she does not actually appear in Stalag 17. The way you wrote this,

 

"Grable makes a very important appearance in her publicity photo in the movie Stalag 17."

 

would suggest to someone who hasn'st seen the movie that she does. Yes,  you do say "publicity photo", but for anyone who's not seen this movie, it does make it sound like she has more to do with it than she actually does.

 

By the way, Stalag 17 is a great movie. It's a shame to give away the ending like you did.

 

And all this time I believed that guy in the film wearing the wig was Grable! 

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All I meant was that on Gregory Peck's 100th birthday, I was writing a lot of posts during the time that The Yearling was airing during a 24 hour marathon and Down Goes Fraser told me that I should be offline watching TCM.  I told him that I cannot watch The Yearling anymore.

 

Today is Mary Astor day.  Mary Astor is a fantastic actress and TCM is showcasing a lot of her films during the daytime. If you are a fan of Mary Astor, why not be watching TCM today?

 

 

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I don't believe that Betty Grable and Artie Shaw were ever married. He married eight times, counting Ava Gardner and Lana Turner among his harem. Grable did marry a bandleader however, she was married to Harry James. What's funny in "How to Marry a Millionaire," there's a scene where Grable and Rory Calhoun listen to the radio and hear a trumpet player. Grable insists that it's Harry James and the radio announcer comes on and says: "That was [insert trumpet player's name here, that is not Harry James]" and Grable turns the radio off in disgust.

It's interesting that all three actresses in HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE were then involved with well-known men. Besides Grable-James, there was Bacall-Bogart and Monroe-DiMaggio. Bacall tells William Powell that she loves older men, including "What's his name, the old guy from AFRICAN QUEEN? I'm crazy about him!". I wanna say DiMaggio is also mentioned in the dialogue, but I'm not remembering the specifics.

 

PS. I think the other bandleader mentioned on the radio was Gus Columbo, to which Grable replies, "Turn that liar off!".

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Thanks Arturo! I can't believe she turned down Pickup on South Street, what a great film! Though I don't know if I could buy her as a tacky, former prostitute--though I'll never know, she didn't take the opportunity.

 

She would have been great in the 1950s melodramas. I could see her as Sandra Dee's mother in A Summer Place.

 

It's also a shame that she died so young in 1973. I think she was only what, 56?

 

She would have been great playing Mitzi Gaynor's mom or something in Mitzi's TV Specials of the 1960s-1970s.

Just as Grable had started out at Fox in 1940 as replacement/rival to the studio's top blonde musical star, Alice Faye, taking over from a sick Faye in DOWN ARGENTINE WAY, she soon found her own niche and amazing popularity. Fox next costarred them in TIN PAN ALLEY; this was a favorite ploy of the studio, to pair an established star with a potential successor. It worked out well for both. In the first half of the 40s, Faye and Grable often substituted for the other in movies when one was sick or pregnant. When both were unavailable, Fox would borrow Rita Hayworth (MY GAL SAL), or Ginger Rogers (ROXIE HART). They could've built another dynamite blonde musical star; they had Carole Landis under contract. She had costarred with Grable in a couple of films, and she was very popular due to her efforts supporting the troops. However, in house politics had her as Zanuck's mistress, and she was only given second leads, or leads in Bs, which wasted her.

 

In the mid 40s, the studio tried to promote two other blonde musical stars, Vivian Blaine, and June Haver, who quickly eclipsed the former. Blaine left after a few years, for eventual fame on Broadway. Haver did becone popular, but never seriously threatened Grable's position. In the early 50s, it was Mitzi Gaynor, and then Marilyn Monroe. Monroe would be the one to succeed Grable, and Grable knew this when they assigned GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES to Monroe (after toying with the idea of giving it to Mitzi), a property the studio bought for Grable. She would soon be leaving the studio, but did one more film there, the dire HOW TO BE VERY VERY POPULAR, with a potential successor to Monroe, Sheree North.

 

Grable almost played Mitzi's mother in THERE'S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS. However, she refused the role, despite having done something similar in 1947, MOTHER WORE TIGHTS. She commented something like, "It was fun then, to play someone older. But now I really am older!" Guess it hit too close to home, and Ethel.Merman was given the role.

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All I meant was that on Gregory Peck's 100th birthday, I was writing a lot of posts during the time that The Yearling was airing during a 24 hour marathon and Down Goes Fraser told me that I should be offline watching TCM.  I told him that I cannot watch The Yearling anymore.

 

Today is Mary Astor day.  Mary Astor is a fantastic actress and TCM is showcasing a lot of her films during the daytime. If you are a fan of Mary Astor, why not be watching TCM today?

 

If you are addressing your question to me, the answer is, I was.

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I remember seeing Betty Grable in a movie where she is performing on stage in a musical sequence dancing and ice skating with someone in a Polar Bear Costume in a winter setting. I think the movie was " When My Baby Smiles At Me " co - starring Dan Daily. Does anyone remember seeing this? Sincerely, Jay 

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The first Betty Grable film I saw was My Blue Heaven (1950) in which she co-starred with Dan Dailey. Grable and Dailey played a husband and wife radio comedy/music team who were having some problems with having a baby, so the entire film involves them trying to adopt a baby and the funny complications it ensues. 

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