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About Whipsnade

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 02/15/1958

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Arroyo Grande, California
  • Interests
    Old movies, radio & music (before 1970). History & philosophy. Raising chickens. Sport fencing (foil & epee). Fly fishing and hiking.

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  1. Not a bad idea. Other variations on the theme (since you brought up Sherlock Holmes) would be a history of detective movies. Think of all the movie series detectives that could be discussed: Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, Philo Vance, Hildegarde Withers, Bulldog Drummond, Nick Charles (The Thin Man), and Mr. Moto, just to name a few. Then there could be the single entry detectives in movies such as, "The Mad Miss Manton," "The Maltese Falcon," "Footsteps in the Dark," and "The Big Sleep." Later efforts could include the "Miss Marple" series with Margaret Rutherford. And parodies abound: Red Sk
  2. Music was an essential component of all the classic Warner Brothers cartoons. Several of them were mini-musicals in parody form. Charlie's Girl mentioned one, the send-up of Wagnerian opera, "What's Opera, Doc." Another Operatic send-up, "The Rabbit of Seville," poked fun at the Italian Opera of Rossini, "The Barber of Seville." So much of my early education in classical music and opera came from these cartoons, that when I hear the music (almost fifty years later) I still think of Bugs and the gang.
  3. And Julie Newmar was one of the brides in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." She later played "Cat Woman" in the "Batman" television series.
  4. It appears that the use of "air" in Astaire was intentional. Fred's mother, Johanna Austerlitz, was concerned about finding a suitable stage name for Fred and Adele. She wanted a name that had "star quality." She was concerned about both the length of the family name and its foreign sound, neither of which would look good on a theater marquee. The process of finding an appropriate name began around 1907, when Fred and Adele (approximate ages 7 and 10) were students at the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts, in New York. Although some have theorized that the name
  5. I never saw this in a theater, but I do have fond memories of this movie on TV within a couple years of its release. Although they thought it was ridiculous, my parents made sure we saw it. Things had changed so much by this time (ca. 1966), that the early Beatles looked pretty tame. I've always felt that the revolutionary nature of their early music has been understandably overstated. They broke out first and get the lions share of the credit, but they did not operate in a vacuum. In general, early Beatles songs were more wholesome and commercial (and therefore, less revolutionary) than a lo
  6. Since this has gone "off topic," I can throw in my two cents and say that I actually enjoyed "Guys and Dolls." I didn't expect to and was surprised that it exceeded my relatively low expectations. I've never been a fan of Brando but thought he was acceptable in this role. Yes, making it through his singing was challenging but survivable. I did think Sinatra was a bit subdued but thought it fit the character. Now I know he was upset about his part. It wasn't a great movie, but it was good. It had the Damon Runyon flavor and some great characters, like Nicely, Nicely. Now, back to t
  7. I've been a long-time fan of Alice Faye, ever since I saw her opposite Tyrone Power, in the 1937 movie "In Old Chicago," almost 45 years ago. Since then, I have sought out her other movies, and listened to her singing and acting on radio. I always felt she was a much more "explosive" bombshell than Betty Grable. Twentieth Century clearly pushed other actresses ahead of Faye (Grable, Darnell, etc.) for reasons that I never understood. In frustration, she walked out on Zanuck & Co. in 1945, and returned to her roots in radio. She got her start in radio as a singer with Rudy Vallee's band an
  8. I think Astaire wins on both counts. His long apprenticeship was served as a partner with his older sister, Adele, and involved dramatic acting, singing, dancing, and light comedy. By the time he made his movie debut, in MGM's "Dancing Lady" (1933), he had been a professional performer for more than 25 years. This training made him a better actor and singer than Kelly. As to their dancing, I incline more towards the light and graceful Astaire style to the more powerful and athletic Kelly style. Astaire seemed to float on air with an effortless grace, while Kelly's grace forced its way through
  9. Thanks for the correction. My reference to Porter was a mistake in my draft that I intended to correct but didn't. I was looking for a second recognizable name for stylistic reasons and meant to change it to Jerome Kern, who did the score for the 1922 flop, "The Bunch and Judy Show."
  10. Just finished a great book on Fred Astaire's early life and his pre-movie career as a dance partner with his older sister, Adele Astaire. It was written by Kathleen Riley under the title, "The Astaires: Fred and Adele" and was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. While they started out as a small-time child act, they came into their own in the late teens through the twenties and were world famous. Fred's first collaborations with the Gershwins and Cole Porter occurred in this era and were written for this pairing. They had several long running shows on Broadway and the London stage. A
  11. Almost all of my television viewing before 1983 was on black and white TVs. In spite of this, I still remember these programs as if they were in color. I never felt like I was missing out on something if I saw a color program in black and white. Because of this, I don't understand the appeal of colorizing black and white film.
  12. 1) I would speculate that the use of starting credits was something of a holdover from stage productions, where programs allowed the audience to acquaint themselves with the cast before the program began. While beginning credits were more common in the Golden Age, end credits were occasionally used. And Universal used both frequently in the 1930's. The cast listing at the beginning was followed by a repeat listing at the end, under the heading "A Good Cast is Worth Repeating." With "Frankenstein" (1931), the beginning credit listed a question mark for the role of the Monster, while the end cr
  13. Good to know I wasn't alone in my early and obsessive pursuit of classic movies. Hello, fellow traveler! You know what a challenge it was to be a film buff back in the pre-cable, pre-VCR Stone Age. Kids today have no idea how much work we had to do to get our movies. Most of my viewing was on a 12 inch screen and all of it was in black and white (with no remote). We lived too close to the foothills, so we could not get KABC Channel 7 on our rooftop antenna. Half a block to the south , my friend could get it. It was all about positioning Indeed, our LA Channel 11 (KTTV) had similar prog
  14. I have to agree that Oscar makes a great second fiddle (or banana). He is an amazing talent in his own right, but his piano talent doesn't compete directly with the singing and/or dancing of the lead. And he adds greatly to the humor in the film. Donald O'Conner and Danny Kaye filled these kinds of roles many times, but did so in ways that tended to compete with the lead - think of O'Conner dancing with Kelly in the Moses Supposes clip from "Singin' in the Rain" (1952). Another good pair of foils were Victor Moore and Helen Broderick playing second fiddle to Fred Astaire and Ginge
  15. In the early and mid 1970s (before VCRs), I watched all those Paramount classics on Channel 5. As a young film buff, it was my primary resource for viewing films. I saw so many great classics for the first time on the overnight programming called "Movies until Dawn." W C Fields, Bob Hope, The Marx Brothers, and so many others. Channel 5 also had weeknight 8PM movies, and often had theme weeks, like a Road Movie week or Abbott & Costello week. Good Times! Other great movie sources in LA in the seventies were "The Million Dollar Movie" on KHJ Channel 9, and "The Late Show" and "The Late, La
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