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Pam Tharp

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About Pam Tharp

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  • Birthday December 16

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  1. Had never seen this movie before but had heard so much about it that it was on my bucket list of movies to watch. My most favorite movie time period is the Victorian era with movies like Meet Me In St. Louis, et al. My second favorite movie time period is the 20's. I loved this movie because it beautifully captured exactly what it was supposed to reveal -- the craziness of the 20's in costuming/hair styles/make-up/backstage rivalry/elaborate choreography a la Busby Berkeley/fantasy numbers, etc. I believe Julie Andrews began her stage career in this musical in America playing the role of Polly. Would have loved to see her in it. Like the TCM "musical" line-up this past month or not, I have made it a point to watch every film they've shown, although some "disappeared" before I could access them. Some I enjoyed, others I had to grit my teeth, but at least my curiosity has been satisfied regarding many of them. Many of the films I watched numerous times, while some I had never ever seen before and was pleased that TCM offered these films so that I could broaden my appreciation of musical films.
  2. The first musical I ever saw was Show Boat. My parents took me to see it at our outdoor under-the-stars musical theater Starlight Theatre in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. It was a live production and I absolutely fell in love with it and with musicals!! Many years later, Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas Chiefs football team, purchased the actual MGM Cotton Blossom and brought it to Kansas City as a permanent attraction for our theme park Worlds of Fun. What a thrilling moment that was for Kansas Citians!! It opened on May 26, 1973 and we enjoyed it for many years until, sadly, it fell into disrepair from structure rot, since it was only intended to be a movie prop and not constructed to be an enduring structure. It was removed in 1995 but so many of us remember that amazing piece of Hollywood memorabilia that we were privileged to see in person and enjoy for so many years.
  3. I LOVE all of the musicals of all time periods and I'd like to share a bit of trivia about another more contemporary musical that I went to see at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, my hometown. Several years ago, Starlight was presenting Finian's Rainbow with Paul Williams as Og. Starlight is an outdoor/under the stars theater, so it's subject to the unpredictable weather. Yep. It started raining prior to the production. Many people left but I decided to stay and so glad I did because Paul Williams decided that the "show must go on" even if it wasn't the "scheduled" production. He walked out on the stage under a large umbrella and proceeded to sing and dance to Singing in the Rain!! What a showman!! ?
  4. Although Oklahoma! is not one of the musicals being shown/discussed during the Mad About Musicals film fest, I wanted to add a bit of trivia regarding a professional stage production I went to see several years ago. Oklahoma! was being presented in a local outdoor theater in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, just outside of Tulsa. During intermission, the concessions were serving bowls of ice cream with a side of cookies. Someone left an unfinished bowl of ice cream on the stage apron in front of the orchestra pit. When the second act began and the actors started singing and dancing, a very large non-poisonous tarantula began side-stepping its way across the apron toward that bowl of ice cream. (Tarantulas are very common in that area.) That giant arachnid didn't miss a beat and "danced" right in time to the music, heading straight to its dessert goal.
  5. The first musical I ever saw was Show Boat. My parents took me to see it at our outdoor under-the-stars musical theater Starlight Theatre in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. It was a live production and I absolutely fell in love with it and with musicals!! Many years later, Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas Chiefs football team, purchased the actual MGM Cotton Blossom and brought it to Kansas City as a permanent attraction for our theme park Worlds of Fun. What a thrilling moment that was for Kansas Citians!! It opened on May 26, 1973 and we enjoyed it for many years until, sadly, it fell into disrepair from structure rot, since it was only intended to be a movie prop and not constructed to be an enduring structure. It was removed in 1995 but so many of us remember that amazing piece of Hollywood memorabilia that we were privileged to see in person and enjoy for so many years.
  6. What do you notice about the Lubitsch touch? How do the props, the dialogue, and the staging help you understand the character of Alfred (Maurice Chevalier)? The props were extremely effective in conveying Alfred's playboy character -- the garter and the drawerful of guns, obviously collected from previous jealous female lovers with a penchant for drama; the dialogue exchange both in French and English, and the staging, specifically Alfred's willing assist with the dress zipper, all transparently present Alfred's true heart as a dedicated Lothario. Based on this scene, what are some of the things you notice about the scene’s use of sound? Describe a specific sound or line of dialogue you hear and what you think it adds to the scene’s effectiveness. The translated dialogue from Chevalier when he tells us she's jealous and again, when it's her husband at the door, remind me of the silent film title cards and also the asides that actors in melodramas toss to the audience to enhance the understanding of who/what was just presented. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression-era musicals? The theme of this might be that the well-to-do citizens have the money to indulge and play to excess and there are little if any restrictions placed upon them, morally or otherwise.
  7. Do you agree that the clip exhibits a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic? Why or why not? Very much a brighter perspective of life than might be realistic. Much of society was not living the "good life" that entailed time for entertainment leisure as frivolous as the musical show presented in the clip. A lavish set with ornate furnishings and plants, a beautiful performer dressed in ruffles and carrying a parasol were not exactly what the everyday person was accustomed to enjoying or even being exposed to, although the purpose of entertainment was to provide an escape from the depressive reality of that era, not very many of the working class could afford to escape to that dream world portrayed in the clip. What themes or approaches might you anticipate from this clip in other Depression era musicals? Escapism was probably the approach that Depression era musicals intended to provide for the public, although it was only momentary, it probably satisfied some people until they left the theater, went home and faced the reality of how their lives actually were. Since this is a musical that was made after the motion picture code was enforced, how might you imagine it might have been filmed or scripted differently if it had been pre-code? Give specific examples. Costuming might have been skimpier, revealing more female flesh, and the relationship between Mr. Ziegfeld and Anna Held would not have been as sanitized.
  8. Comparing Eleanor Powell to Ruby Keeler is almost an unfair comparison. Eleanor was a trained ballet dancer long before she began tap dancing and the way she uses her entire body to dance, which is the way my dance instructors always taught us to do in class, is magnificent. Ruby Keeler was, as some have phrased it, a "hoofer" and her movements do look very elementary and jerky. She almost appears as if she is unsure as to what steps to use, regardless of whether or not she was taught the routine by a choreographer. Ruby is adorable and has such a cute little face and I can see why Al Jolson was enchanted by her and he most definitely used his huge star power and influence to get her introduced to the "right people" to help launch her career. Eleanor was so loaded with talent that she made it on her own. She was absolutely adorable, too, with such a beautiful face and that marvelous smile of hers. Have always enjoyed watching Eleanor's films and would always take the time to view them. Ruby's films are ok, but she's not the reason I would watch them. I would watch them for the other star players like Dick Powell and Joan Blondell, whom I absolutely loved because of her pretty face, sassy characterizations and abundant talent, even her performance in the film Grease, so many years later.
  9. What do you notice about the interaction between the characters in these two scenes? Please give specific examples. In the canoe scene, he persists, she resists, he insists, she desists. Both are interested, him to a greater degree than her, but they still play the initial cat and mouse game. In the saloon scene, she is definitely uncomfortable and out of place, but persists until she sees the futility in trying to fit in where she doesn't belong. He begins by appearing disinterested, proceeds to amused, then his face exhibits sympathy for her and he finishes his expressive facial emoting by showing genuine concern/admiration for her embarrassing effort as she hastily exits. If you have seen either or both of these actors in other films or television shows, please share your perceptions about them. Have seen probably every film in which they were paired together, and their performances in non-paired films. He has a marvelous voice but has always seemed somewhat "stiff" and unnatural as an actor or as someone else posted on here: Eddy playing Eddy. MacDonald, however, has one of the loveliest voices imaginable, and has always seemed to me to be more "natural" in her acting endeavors and more adaptable to the characters she has played but still adding her own interpretation. Thought she was marvelous in San Francisco, although it is my understanding that her co-star Clark Gable did not warm up to her because he thought she was snobby and stuck-up. What do these clips tell you about the male/female relationships as they are depicted in the films during this era? What norms might you expect are supported under the Hollywood Film Code? The relationships might have been interpreted as "antiseptic" whether or not there were underlying intentions. I suspect the norms supported were "clean, decent, pristine" with a flirt, a kiss, a hug because no one wanted a slap on the hand even though the public may have secretly longed for "Hester to win just one more A."
  10. What other aspects of battle of the sexes do you see indicated in this clip or in the film Top Hat? I didn't really see a "battle of the sexes" in this clip or in the rest of the film. I saw it as two people, mutually attracted to each other, who through confusion of identity, went through a "like" then "don't like" then "like" series of encounters, until each finally discovered "who was who." Loved the Gazebo/Rain sequence because he finally managed to "woo/win" her by engaging her in something that mutually interested both of them -- dancing, and she, being a strong woman, proved that she could hold her own, although he never seemed to try to hold her back from being who she was. Love Irving Berlin and this Lovely Day song is one of my favorite numbers to tap to because of its natural syncopation. How does this film distinguish itself from other Depression era musicals we have watched or discussed this week? Dale and Madge are both portrayed as strong, independent women, who appreciate/dismiss a man for "what he is, shortcomings and all" and yet both exhibit the ability to be able to get along on their own with or without a man. In some of the earlier Depression Era films, women appeared to be portrayed as "helpless" and needing a man to guide them and make decisions for them. What possible reasons might there be for the changes in roles between men and women depicted in these screwball comedy musicals that distinguish themselves from earlier musicals in the 1930s? Possibly, women in "real life" were setting examples that strong, independent women had something to say and important things to do equal to the speeches and accomplishments of men, and women of this calibre needed to be showcased and represented in films to reflect that not all women should be considered "helpless." To wit: Amelia Earhart.
  11. I LOVE all of the musicals of all time periods and I'd like to share a bit of trivia about another more contemporary musical that I went to see at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, my hometown. Several years ago, Starlight was presenting Finian's Rainbow with Paul Williams as Og. Starlight is an outdoor/under the stars theater, so it's subject to the unpredictable weather. Yep. It started raining prior to the production. Many people left but I decided to stay and so glad I did because Paul Williams decided that the "show must go on" even if it wasn't the "scheduled" production. He walked out on the stage under a large umbrella and proceeded to sing and dance to Singing in the Rain!! What a showman!! ?
  12. Such a dilemma to narrow it down to just ONE musical! I know that a musicophile is one who loves music, but what would be the best term for someone who loves musicals? A musicalophile? That would be me. I was born in that "basket" and I've proudly carried it all of my life. The first musical I remember seeing was Showboat, on stage in Kansas City, at the Starlight Theatre, which is still presenting musical venues! Hooked on musicals ever since! I have a nice collection of DVD musicals that I view often and whenever a musical is presented on TCM, I drop EVERYTHING and watch it! I have been a trained dancer since the age of four and musicals that highlight dancing seem to be my favorite but it's so impossible to narrow it down to just one. So, I guess I would have to pick a period musical, specifically set in the Victorian era as the criteria to narrow down my choice. My choice(s) would be Meet Me In St. Louis, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, My Fair Lady, The Music Man, Yankee Doodle Dandy, et al. Not only do I love musicals, I try to "connect" myself to them by extracurricular research, for example: After viewing Meet Me in St. Louis, many times, I decided to "visit" the addresses Judy Garland sings about in The Boy Next Door, 5135 and 5133 Kensington Avenue. Those addresses do exist although the Victorian houses there do not resemble the sets in the movie but are abandoned and boarded up and the neighborhood is quite run down. Sad. After viewing Molly Brown, many times, I went to visit the Molly Brown house in Denver. Not as ornate as the movie version but the museum is kept in good condition for tours. For The Music Man, my daughter-in-law who has a children's musical theatre production company in the LA area, enlisted me to design/construct costumes for her production of this show, as well as several of her other shows. Attached is the costume I made for Marion the Librarian. So, I guess, if I have to narrow it down, it would have to be the Victorian era musical. ?
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