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Van Johnson & *Spencer Tracy together and.....


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:D  :D  :D   As most reading this are already aware TCM is just finishing up on Van Johnson-(l9l6-2008) day for it's annual "Summer Under the Stars"-(but as some have previously said it, this yrs "SUTS" was fairly weak?)


I just wanted to add a nice story for a change on my A #1 Idol *"The Great: Spencer Tracy"-(l900-l967) and as a teenager, during the late 1970's & just falling in love with THE MOVIES. I'd love to watch tv shows such as: Dinah Shore-(l9l7-1994), Merv Griffin-(l925-2007), Mike Douglas-(l925-2006),etc & these guys were also huge moviebuffs/lovers of "Hollywoods Golden Age/Studio-System"-(circa 1925 to 1960) & let us never forget little "Mr. Nice Guy:' Dick Cavett-(l935-) who probably had on his own talk show, more genuine heavyweights than anybody else. (NOTE: To TCM, please bring back Mr. Cavett & forever air his marvelous 1970's interviews, w/the likes of: Hitchcock, *Kate Hepburn, Groucho Marx, Robert Mitchum & even *Brando!!!  As a matter of fact & who agrees, he'd be a superior TCM host then anyone else now on the network, except of course Mr. 0sborne)


Especially Douglas & he'd always have on some still then "living -legends" of that glorious era, including Mr. Johnson himself, very often too. & they would be talking about so & so & then Van would always & I mean always bring the conversation back around to his Hero *Tracy!-(NOTE: Of whom was also ironically Mr. Douglas hero and idol, ever since his own childhood, in the midwest.

A memorable show to me, was when they were allowed to take the cameras into the "Rude" to fans "F. Lawn" in Glendale, CALIF. & as the cameras approached the grave of *Tracy, Mike literally said, he was getting goose pimples. Now that's what I'd call "A bona-fide fan")-(NOTE: Not sure who was either Dinah's or Merv's heroes though were?)


Anyhow, it brings one back to Van-(always said to be among the nicest men ever in the industry) & his now famed story of working for the first time w/*Spencer, on "A Guy Named Joe" (M-G-M) (***)

He'd yet to become a household name though & during filming, had an awful auto-accident!

Breaking many bones, including his hip-(hence the limp from then on) I think he even had to have his hip replaced. So M-G-M immediately wanted to replace Van, but "Hold the Farm" as they say & *Mr. Tracy told them in no uncertain terms were they going to do that to a then 26yr old Johnson. & that he believed the kid had potential & to shoot around Van, until he could return, it worked obviously. "Joe" was a $hit$ & then the two raced into 1944's even bigger hit$ "Thirty Seconds 0ver Tokyo" (MGM) (***)

However & this was very typical *Tracy at the time. He was on the wagon during "Joe" & didn't really know leading lady: Irene Dunne-(l898-l990) at the time, so he took it out on her & A LOT TOO!

Going so far as to calling Dunne "Needle-Nose" & other things, so much so she was often reduced to tears & both were called into what was dubbed "The Iron Lung"-(on acct of it always being so cold)

Into the legendary *"Thalberg bldg."-(among sole places still-standing, for now, on what was once "The Pinnacle" of all of "The Dream Factories" & was located in Culver City.)  & L.B. Mayer-(l885-l957) himself.  Apparently, Mayer quieted *Spence down enough to finish shooting the picture.


& as they say "The Rest is History" Not known as being anyone involved with it, as their best, though *Spielberg loves it enough to have nicely remade it for 1989's "Always" (***) with: *Richard Dreyfuss & *Holly Hunter.


Also, somewhat ironically, though a 1943 release, when it officially & according to *Oscar, became a 1944 production, same as "Thirty Seconds 0ver Tokyo"-(& won for Best Special Effects)


OOPS, *Tracy also had another fine film for '44 "The Seventh Cross" (MGM) (***-out of 4 stars)




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