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Trivia for the other 98% of us


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Thanks, Princess.  :-)

Next: in a rare 1978 audio interview, this actress was (for the most part) relentlessly modest about her achievements, but did allow herself the following observation:

"I never wanted to do comedy, and yet it was very easy for me. Very natural. Maybe that's why I wasn't so appreciative of it. I liked the heavier things...Cary Grant always said I had the best timing of anybody he ever worked with. But that's unconscious, I think--comedy timing. Nobody can give you that--you just have it or not."  [NB I'm combining two separate quotes here]

hint: she and Grant made three films together, all within the space of five years.

 

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Nope, Hepburn and Grant made four films together.  The actress I'm looking for only made three with him.

Another (big) hint: Grant and this actress each received Oscar nominations for one of their films together (but not the same film).

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19 hours ago, Terrence1 said:

Thanks, Fausteritz.   Name the movie in which Debbie Reynolds plays a blackmail victim.

The Gazebo?

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OK, let's stick with classic TV commercials.

An iconic Hollywood tap dancer was featured in a production number advertising a food product.

When you identify this performer, also identify the food product.

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I loved that commercial.  That was Ann Miller and the food product was soup.  I don't remember which soup, but according to the IMDb it was for Heinz's Great American Soups.

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14 minutes ago, starliteyes said:

I loved that commercial.  That was Ann Miller and the food product was soup.  I don't remember which soup, but according to the IMDb it was for Heinz's Great American Soups.

Star, Great answer for a great commercial. But the Great American Soups didn't go over too well with the public. Yes, it was Heinz, but I don't associate them with soup at all, despite this great commercial.

Star, You're up.....

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In case you were wondering, here is Ann Miller's commercial:

 

 

 

It's from 1970.  The husband is played by character actor Dave Willock.

Star, it's still your turn.  

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This one might be a little harder, but I feel confident that there are people here who will be able to figure it out.

In an early 1940's musical, the male star, who was a comic, danced (just regular dancing, not a choreographed routine) with the female star, who was a dancer.  They danced to the strains of a song being played by an unseen orchestra.  The tune they were dancing to was a song that was written by a composer that the comic actor would portray several years later in a biopic.  

Name the actor, the song and the two movies in which it was heard.

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In the biopic, the comic actor plays the tune on the piano while his lyricist, played by a male dancer, sings the song and then dances with his wife, played by another dancer.

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That's a great question, Starlit.  I think I know the actor in question, but not the first of the two movies.  So I'll let someone else go for it.

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Well, I'm still a little confused, but I think this is what you mean:

The biopic is Three Little Words (1950), where Red Skelton (the comic actor) plays composer Harry Ruby, while lyricist Fred Kalmar (Fred Astaire) sings "Nevertheless I'm In Love With You" while dancing with his wife, Jessie Brown (Vera-Ellen).

I assume the early 1940s musical is Ship Ahoy (1942), where Red Skelton is on deck showing some "breathing exercises" to Eleanor Powell and she deftly takes advantage of the moment so that he's dancing with her before he realizes it.  The only problem is that the song being played by the unseen orchestra at that moment is not "Nevertheless I'm in Love With You," but "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" -- which is a rather similar title, but by a different composer/lyricist pair: George Bassman and Ned Washington.  (Tommy Dorsey has a trombone solo.)

But maybe I'm just in the same boat as Terrence1 and don't realize it yet...

 

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You may be right about the song that was playing by the unseen orchestra, Fausterlitz, but I would have to go back and check.  I just recently watched Ship Ahoy and, while they were dancing on deck, I could swear that the tune that was being played was Thinking of You and that brought back the memory of the scene in which Fred Astaire and Vera-Ellen dance all around and over some furniture in a very big room aboard ship in Three Little Words.  I still think it may be Thinking of You because Bert Kalmar was listed in the credits as one of the writers of Ship Ahoy and, as you no doubt know, he was the lyricist of that song; and so he may very well have suggested it.  However, if the song was I'm Getting Sentimental Over You, I offer my sincere apologies.  At any rate, I think you answered the question well enough to take the thread.

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Hi starliteyes, no worries and I think I've figured out the source of the confusion.  :-)

There are actually two scenes in Three Little Words that begin with Red Skelton at the piano, and immediately segue into Astaire and Vera-Ellen singing and/or dancing.  But because you wrote "the comic actor plays the tune on the piano while his lyricist, played by a male dancer, sings the song and then dances with his wife, played by another dancer," I chose "Nevertheless I'm In Love With You" -- because that's the sequence of events for that number: Skelton plays, Astaire sings, Vera-Ellen joins him, they dance.  (You didn't mention furniture in your original clues, and there isn't any in this scene.)

In the "Thinking of You" number, however, Astaire actually doesn't sing at all--only Vera-Ellen (or whoever was dubbing for her) does.  Then they both dance (with furniture behind them).

So I assume certain aspects of these two scenes understandably got conflated in your memory.

As for Ship Ahoy, the music credits for it on imdb don't show "Thinking of You" anywhere, but they do show this (note boldface):

I'm Getting Sentimental Over You 
(1932) (uncredited) 
Music by George Bassman 
Lyrics by Ned Washington 
Performed by Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra at a nightclub in the first scene 
Reprised as dance music aboard ship and danced by Red Skelton with Eleanor Powell  <----
Played also as background music 

-------------------------------------

I think the fact that there are three songs whose titles all end in a preposition + "you" (with you, over you, of you) probably also added to the confusion.

I've included links for each scene below, plus Ella Fitzgerald singing "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" for comparison.

"Nevertheless I'm in Love With You" from Three Little Words:

"Thinking of You" from Three Little Words:

Ship Ahoy: Red Skelton dances to "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" with Eleanor Powell (Tommy Dorsey trombone solo at 0:52, = "Never thought I'd fall...")

Ella Fitzgerald singing "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You":

 

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10 hours ago, Fausterlitz said:

Next:

Buster Keaton owes the survival of several of his best-known feature films (plus a few shorts) to what other well-known actor, and why?

Is it James Mason?  I believe he bought Buster Keaton's former home and found the films somewhere in the house.  Mason paid to have them restored.

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Yes, exactly.  Mason and his wife Pamela bought the famously ornate "Italian Villa" in 1949, although by that time Keaton hadn't lived there for 17 years. They converted what had been Keaton's film-editing room into a tool shed.  While rummaging around one day, Mason found prints of several Keaton films stuffed into a safe.

Exactly what happened after that seems to be a matter of some debate.  One source states that when Keaton showed up on his doorstep and tried to claim the films, Mason refused, instead donating them to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (apparently because he doubted Keaton had the money and skill to properly restore them himself), and that Keaton later referred to this event as the "crowning indignity" of his life.  Another source says that Mason notified film collector Raymond Rohauer of the films and gave them directly to him.  (It's possible that both sources are correct, and that Rohauer only entered the picture years later, which would make more chronological sense.) In any case, Mason certainly deserves credit for taking the situation seriously, and possibly saving several films (or at least decent prints of them) from disappearing entirely.

Nice work, Peebs, and your turn.  :-)

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Thanks, Fausterlitz!  Interesting question, I had heard about the Keaton/James Mason connection but didn't know the specific details.

 

Next:   Actress Diana Hyland was hired to play a mom on an hour long tv show.  She filmed only four episodes of the new series.  She had been diagnosed with breast cancer a few years earlier and thought she had beaten it.  The cancer returned and she soon passed away.  When the show returned the next fall, the father on the show was now a widower.  His character eventually begins dating and gets remarried.  Can you  name the show?

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