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Would Betty Grable have been rehearsing at MGM?


sewhite2000
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Visiting my 80-something parents for the holidays. My dad is always trying to foist books he's read off on me, and while I gently try to inform him I have a backlog of about two dozen purchased and unread books at all times, he takes it as a personal affront if I don't express interest in the books he's offering. So, in a quiet moment during the festivities, I was going to sit down and read a chapter or two of The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood by Jane Leavy from 2010, but the train got derailed after I read the very first sentence: "On March 20, 1951, shortly after arriving in Los Angeles for their spring training tour of California, the world champion New York Yankees visited the lot at MGM, where Betty Grable was rehearsing dance numbers for her latest flick". I couldn't read another sentence. All I could think about was ...

 

... Betty Grable rehearsing at MGM?

 

I scouted imdb to see if there had been any MGM releases in 1951 with Grable in them. Grable was in two movies in 1951, Call Me Mister and Meet Me After the Show, both Fox releases. Was there a movie she filmed at MGM in 1951 that sat in the can a while before being released? Grable didn't appear in any releases in 1952 at all, then had two more in 1953, The Farmer Takes a Wife and How to Marry a Millionaire, both also from Fox.

 

Could Leavy, a sportswriter, have gotten her studios mixed up? On page 2, she goes on to say the Yankees "met Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Howard Keel". Okay, those are all MGM contract players. Then she adds the curious note "They saw Debbie Reynolds hurrying down the hall carrying two fur coats and yelled out 'Hiya, Deb!'" Not that it would be odd to see Debbie Reynolds at MGM in 1951, but a full year before the release of Singin' in the Rain, would she have been known by name to the New York Yankees? She'd been in about five films up to this point, mostly kid sister parts, not the female lead in any of them, hardly a household name at that point.

 

So, what's going on in this book? 

 

1) Were the studios chummy enough that MGM just let Grable come over and rehearse on their lot even though it didn't profit them in any way, since she didn't make any movies there? It feels like a Hollywood reporter going to Yankee spring training and writing that Ted Williams was working out with the team.

 

2) Did the Yankees visit more than one studio in the same day, and this is just an error on Leavy's part?

 

3) Is this whole story horse hockey, as Colonel Potter would have said?

 

Leavy says a photo of Grable and the Yankees taken on the MGM lot was published in Movie Fan magazine. A dozen or so Google searches entering different word combinations failed to produce evidence of that photo for me.

 

If anybody knows anything about this (or even has an educated guess), please let me know!

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Maybe a substitution error?  Could it have been Debbie Reynolds who might have been rehearsing for a dance number and Betty Grable getting attention from the NY Yankees at that time (maybe just visiting somebody else at MGM and thereby tasked with the chore of carrying the fur coats)?  LOL  No theories on the picture, but I haven't thought about that yet.

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Well, ya know what MIGHT explain this whole seeming mix-up here doncha, sewhite?!

 

Uh-huh,  the author of that book you read had to have gotten this little bit of Yankee yore from one particular teammate of Mickey Mantle's. Yep, a man known far and wide for, lets say, getting his facts just a little mixed up when telling a story.

 

Yep, YOU know! The dude who played catcher for that team during that time.

 

(...'cause if there were ANYBODY who could, lets say, "put their own unique little personal twist on a story", it sure was Yogi Berra, ya know)

 

;)

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Visiting my 80-something parents for the holidays. My dad is always trying to foist books he's read off on me, and while I gently try to inform him I have a backlog of about two dozen purchased and unread books at all times, he takes it as a personal affront if I don't express interest in the books he's offering. So, in a quiet moment during the festivities, I was going to sit down and read a chapter or two of The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood by Jane Leavy from 2010, but the train got derailed after I read the very first sentence: "On March 20, 1951, shortly after arriving in Los Angeles for their spring training tour of California, the world champion New York Yankees visited the lot at MGM, where Betty Grable was rehearsing dance numbers for her latest flick". I couldn't read another sentence. All I could think about was ...

 

... Betty Grable rehearsing at MGM?

 

I scouted imdb to see if there had been any MGM releases in 1951 with Grable in them. Grable was in two movies in 1951, Call Me Mister and Meet Me After the Show, both Fox releases. Was there a movie she filmed at MGM in 1951 that sat in the can a while before being released? Grable didn't appear in any releases in 1952 at all, then had two more in 1953, The Farmer Takes a Wife and How to Marry a Millionaire, both also from Fox.

 

Could Leavy, a sportswriter, have gotten her studios mixed up? On page 2, she goes on to say the Yankees "met Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Howard Keel". Okay, those are all MGM contract players. Then she adds the curious note "They saw Debbie Reynolds hurrying down the hall carrying two fur coats and yelled out 'Hiya, Deb!'" Not that it would be odd to see Debbie Reynolds at MGM in 1951, but a full year before the release of Singin' in the Rain, would she have been known by name to the New York Yankees? She'd been in about five films up to this point, mostly kid sister parts, not the female lead in any of them, hardly a household name at that point.

 

So, what's going on in this book?

 

1) Were the studios chummy enough that MGM just let Grable come over and rehearse on their lot even though it didn't profit them in any way, since she didn't make any movies there? It feels like a Hollywood reporter going to Yankee spring training and writing that Ted Williams was working out with the team.

 

2) Did the Yankees visit more than one studio in the same day, and this is just an error on Leavy's part?

 

3) Is this whole story horse hockey, as Colonel Potter would have said?

 

Leavy says a photo of Grable and the Yankees taken on the MGM lot was published in Movie Fan magazine. A dozen or so Google searches entering different word combinations failed to produce evidence of that photo for me.

 

If anybody knows anything about this (or even has an educated guess), please let me know!

The writer possibly got the facts mixed up. Of course, by 1960 or so, Debbie Reynolds was a big star, which she hadn't been a decade earlier, and had been mixed up in a very public, very messy scandal, involving her husband Eddie Fisher and the woman who "stole" him, Elizabeth Taylor.

 

Another guess could be that Grable went to MGM to "audition" for a musical which had been intended for Judy Garland, such as ANNIE GET YOUR GUN. Grable's own studio, 20th Century Fox, had tried to purchase it for her, as had the eventual replacement's, Betty Hutton, own studio, Paramount, for Hutton. OR it could've been Huttkn rehearsing for same, and the writer mixed.up the two blonde Bettys.

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First time on the board in a couple of days. Thanks everyone who provided feedback. Yeah, something is definitely screwy with this account. I know the book's not about Hollywood, but to immediately wade into an apparent error one sentence in sorta casts a pall over the accuracy of the rest of the book in my mind.

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