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Steve Ziegfeld

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  1. After watching today's lecture on Showboat and the discussion about differences between the Universal & MGM versions. Some of that is due to the nature of the studio heads, as well as a sign of what was happening in society at the time of the MGM version. Louie B Mayer considered himself a father figure to all of his employees. He want clean wholesome pictures. Pictures that only reflected the best of the US. Being a Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe, he wanted to fit in, become main stream America. He ran a very puritanical home not letting his daughters out w/o a chaperon. He would want to down play the gambling and abandonment, and other vices. Society at the time was is turmoil, with woman returning to traditional rolls after the war, issues with race, we were good enough to fight and be treated as equals, then to come home to Jim Crow again. Also the rise of morals, this time it was anti-gaming. The Kefauver committee hearing had start in 1950. The Senator took his committee throughout the US turning a spot light on gambling and organized crime. Even though TV was not a popular medium at the time, it was must watch TV for those how had access to it. At the same time you have people in Hollywood being Blacklisted for being communists. If only through contact. Sen McCarthy when after the entrainment industry. Again this became must see TV. I think Showboat this is a good film to show how what is important to society as time goes on. What would Showboat look like today? Who would be the gay character? How would other races be placed in key rolls?
  2. I worked in the Ziegfeld Theatre where TE 1 & 2 both premiered. They were grand affairs w/ many of the presenters in the film attended. I have probably over 100 time. Many of the clips being used in the course I a seen.
  3. Easiest way to tell the difference, the beds. Pre, double bed implying the couple sleeps together. Post twin beds in the master bedroom even if they are married.
  4. The better question who didn't dance well w/ Astaire? He made everyone look good, even walls and cleaning supplies. I like Ginger & Powell in particular.
  5. Powell is definitely the better dancer. More polished, graceful, and professional. She is more enjoyable to watch dance alone or w/ a partner.
  6. Just loved the elephant vase for the flowers, Ziegfeld believed that brought good luck. We had a 4' tall one in the lobby of the Ziegfeld Theatre in NYC.
  7. I was watching Eddy paddle the boat, if they were moving they would be going in circles, just part of the lack of realism in earlier musicals. May be a metaphor for the relationship they are starting? They were MGM's squeaky clean couple. I'm currently reading Neal Gabler's "An Empire of their Own, How the Jews Invented Hollywood. It goes into the start of the exhibitors' end of the movie business and how Edison had a strangle hold on the industry. How the influential and wealthy looked down on the movie industry, and the lower class that enjoyed it. Very similar to how the Production Code came about.
  8. I think that I respond most to a song or dialogue in the movie. Singing in the Rain, the concept of the movie industry, Good Morning. Band Wagon making fun of the theatre, all the music, especially Triplets. Kiss me Kate, Brush up on Shakespeare. Sat. Night Fever, Brooklyn is an actor in the movie, all places I know. And so on.
  9. Asking to pick one is like asking me who was my favorite dog I have had, impossible. I grew up in the entertainment industry, film the exhibitor side, and TV & theatre as a stagehand.(grip in movies) My first movie that I worked was a screening of Fiddler, the next was Cabaret, including the NYC premier. So I have had a lot of movie ingrained in my system. So they have become favorite, That's Entertainment I & II led to snippets of many musicals. But in no certain order, Singin the Rain, any Fred & Ginger, Kiss me Kate, Cabaret, Rocky Horror, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Yankee Doodle, Annie get your Gun, Band Wagon. Songs from each run through my head all the time.
  10. I would love to take some of the previous course that where offered. But this June time frame is a killer for me. It would be nice to have them offered at other times of the year. I am hoping to keep up with the material but I am going to have problems finishing on time.
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