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Musicals on Tap


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Donald O'Connor danced on roller skates to Life Has Its Funny Little Ups and Downs in I Love Melvin, and Gene Kelly danced on roller skates to I Like Myself in It's Always Fair Weather.  And of course, as everyone knows, the two of them appeared together in Singin' in the Rain.

 

Correct on all counts!  Great job, Star.  Here are the videos of both performances. 

 

 

Here's Gene Kelly singing and skate-dancing in It's Always Fair Weather --

 

 

 

 

Here's Donald O'Connor (with Noreen Corcoran) singing and skate-dancing in I Love Melvin.

 

 

 

 

OK, your turn, Star.

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Thanks, Azure.  I actually had forgotten that Donald O'Connor had done a number on roller skates.  Thanks for reminding me.  He was great!

 

A song extolling the pleasures of dancing in a particular fashion was written by a famous composer and introduced by a famous musical star in a well-known 1930’s musical.  A few years later, this same composer, probably with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek, wrote a song for another movie that was about the opposite way to dance that the first song had been about.  This second song was introduced by an actress/singer, who came nowhere near achieving the fame of the first performer.  In keeping with that, the second film isn’t nearly as well-known and the song itself has become rather obscure.

 

Name the composer, the two songs, the two performers and the two movies.

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Irving Berlin wrote a song called "Cheek To Cheek" that was sung by Fred Astaire while he danced with Ginger Rogers in 1935's "Top Hat".  In 1939, a movie called "Second Fiddle" featured a song called "Back To Back", written by Berlin and sung by Mary Healy.  I saw "Top Hat" in a retrospective program in a movie theater some years ago, and this dance number actually received applause.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLHxCH-FnLQ 

 

I don't think that there is a clip of "Back To Back".

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In a 1940's musical that was fact based, a struggling vaudeville husband and wife team use their young son in the act and the boy is a sensation.  However, the Gerry Society (or some equivalent group) tries to enforce a law that limits how long a child can work in stage shows.  The parents try to disguise the boy and say he is an adult midget.  Can you name this movie and whose story it is based upon? 

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That's correct, Starlit.  In the movie, Jack Carson and Ann Sothern play Joe and June Tyme.  Young Robert Ellis plays their son, Buster Tyme, also known as "Small Tyme" in the act.

 

For such a fine effort, Starliteyes, you get the thread !

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As Ricky Ricardo would say, "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!"

 

LOL! 

 

Lucille Ball talked a little bit about her experience in this movie in her autobiography.  It was pretty interesting.  I know that a couple of other notable actresses appeared in that scene, too (Paulette Goddard and Betty Grable....I think.) 

 

==

 

Open thread.

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During a musical montage in this movie, the male star performed a song that would become the title of a musical biopic the following year starring another actor and it would become one of that actor’s most well-known roles.  More than a decade later, the first male star would play the same role in a television special.

 

Name the song, the two movies and the two stars.  Bonus points for the name of the television special.

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in 1941's "Babes On Broadway", Mickey Rooney imitates George M. Cohan singing "Yankee Doodle Dandy", which would be the name of the 1942 biopic of Cohan that won an Oscar for James Cagney.  In the fifties, Rooney played Cohan in a TV special called "Mr. Broadway".

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Thanks. Now, in this musical, a young man professes his love for a young woman by singing in the night air.  Part of the lyrics include these lines:

 

A lover more impetuous than I,

Would say his say, or know the reason why,

But when I get my chance,

I let my chance go by

 

Can you name the song and the musical?

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That's right, Marsha.  The song was not in the 1927 Broadway production, but it was inserted into the 1936 movie.  It was not included in the 1951 MGM remake, but it was used in the 1993 stage revival.  Here are Allan Jones and Irene Dunne:

 

 

 

Good work, Marsha.  You're up next.

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In this musical sequence a sailor is searching for his sweetheart because his ship will be leaving any moment.

 

As he is frantically searching he sings a song about her.  Here are some lyrics to the song:

 

I learned to love her

The little devil was just a butterfly

But you'd discover something on the level

Shining in her eye

 

Name the movie, name the song, and name the actor who portrays the sailor in this musical sequence. Extra points for naming the lyricist and composer and the actress who plays the sweetheart.

 

 

 

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I've been looking high, and I've been looking low

Looking for info on Shanghai Lil

 

James Cagney sang this in Footlight Parade to Ruby Keeler (Lil) and it was written by Harry Warren and AL Dubin

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Excellent shutoo!  Correct on everything. James Cagney really actively promoted himself for the role of Chester Kent in "Footlight Parade" because he knew he would have the chance to dance in this musical number and he wanted the opportunity to get away from playing gangster roles and this part was perfect for him. The public, who only knew Cagney as "The Public Enemy", were delighted as well as surprised to see him dancing not knowing that he was a long time song and dance man on stage.

 

Great job. It's your turn.

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Three musicals linked by a song...this song was written for a Broadway play in the late 20's -- a perfect tune to help depression weary audiences forget their $ woes. The play was adapted on film in the 30s and again in the 40s -- both with the original title and by the same studio. In the 50s, the song itself became the title of a musical biopic.

 

Can you name the play/first 2 musicals and the song/biopic title?

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The Broadway show "Good News" opened in the late 1920's.  In 1930, it was adapted for the screen using the original title.  It was remade in 1947, with both films being made by MGM.  In 1956, one of the songs from the show, "The Best Things In Life Are Free", became the title of a musical biopic of the show's songwriters, DeSylva, Brown, and Henderson, starring Gordon MacRae, Ernest Borgnine, and Dan Dailey.

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Thanks.  A college musical featured a popular radio comedian of the day singing a song to a duck.  One of the lines was:

 

Because you're not so pretty,

The world seems so cold.

Who cares if your feet are flat,

You've got a heart of gold!

 

Can you name the actor, the song, and the movie?  It's not "Waddle I Do?"

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