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Don't know why I've been thinking of this likable MGM star recently. Maybe it's that TCM promo, with a brief clip of Van going "WOW !" or something (think it's from Battleground.)

 

Anyway, I really like Van Johnson and wanted to start a thread about him, if only to see if he has other fans around here.

Van always had a pleasant screen persona; he may have played nasties occasionally, but off-hand I can't think of any (not that there's anything wrong with playing nasties...) Some of my favourite Van Johnson movies are The Romance of Rosy Ridge, In the Good Old Summertime (I like the James Stewart version better, but this one's pretty enjoyable, too), and Miracle in the Rain. And then, consider how he was pretty darn good in The Caine Mutiny.

 

I'm guessing that Van had a much happier life on-screen than off; like all closeted actors then, it must have been really difficult to have a fulfilling private life. But if he was unhappy, it never shows in his work.

 

Actually, although I'd almost certainly seen him before, the first time I remember seeing Van Johnson in a movie was one where he was playing a character in a movie: The Purple Rose of Cairo. It was supposed to be one of those escapist type films from the late 30s, and Van was one of the group that frequented the stylish night club in the movie (the movie within the movie, that is.) I loved TPROC, and Van's role in it, small though it was, contributed an authenticity to the "adventure movie" feeling.

 

I don't think he gets recognized much these days, which is kind of too bad. Anyone else like Van Johnson?

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I like Van Johnson too, a very good actor and always an engaging personality. I have a friend who lives at 405 East 54th Street, NYC, a big old building which goes through to 55th Street/First Avenue. My friend remembers Van Johnson, a long-time resident of that building, fondly. Hermione Gingold also lived there at one time.

 

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Yes, I like Van Johnson also.  He was always a pleasant presence in musicals (in 1954's "Brigadoon", 1949's "In The Good Old Summertime", etc.) and comedies (1948's "State of the Union" and "The Bride Goes Wild", just to name two) and an effective dramatic actor (1949's "Battleground", 1954's "The Caine Mutiny).  A favorite actor.

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Don't know why I've been thinking of this likable MGM star recently. Maybe it's that TCM promo, with a brief clip of Van going "WOW !" or something (think it's from Battleground.)

 

Anyway, I really like Van Johnson and wanted to start a thread about him, if only to see if he has other fans around here.

Van always had a pleasant screen persona; he may have played nasties occasionally, but off-hand I can't think of any (not that there's anything wrong with playing nasties...) Some of my favourite Van Johnson movies are The Romance of Rosy Ridge, In the Good Old Summertime (I like the James Stewart version better, but this one's pretty enjoyable, too), and Miracle in the Rain. And then, consider how he was pretty darn good in The Caine Mutiny.

 

I'm guessing that Van had a much happier life on-screen than off; like all closeted actors then, it must have been really difficult to have a fulfilling private life. But if he was unhappy, it never shows in his work.

 

Actually, although I'd almost certainly seen him before, the first time I remember seeing Van Johnson in a movie was one where he was playing a character in a movie: The Purple Rose of Cairo. It was supposed to be one of those escapist type films from the late 30s, and Van was one of the group that frequented the stylish night club in the movie (the movie within the movie, that is.) I loved TPROC, and Van's role in it, small though it was, contributed an authenticity to the "adventure movie" feeling.

 

I don't think he gets recognized much these days, which is kind of too bad. Anyone else like Van Johnson?

This is the first I hear about his "private" life.

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It is interesting that the subject is Van Johnson, because on August 25th, it will be 100 years since he was born. So I would like to think he will get a full day for Summer Under the Stars. It should be easy enough to schedule, since a large percentage of his film output was at MGM, and most of those titles are in the TCM/Turner library.

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My sister and I recognized Van the other day when he was in an episode of Murder She Wrote. Yes, he is a very likable player in films. And I happen to believe that some of your own personality comes through in your roles, so I imagine that Van was a very nice person in real life.

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Lee Marvin and Mitchell Ryan had large heads; so did the more modern, but still deceased, actor Pete Postlethwaite.  Fred Clark had a very large head.   

 

     Speaking of Van Johnson, I wonder how his daughter Schuyler is doing?  I read they were estranged at the time of his death in 2008 at age 92.

 

      My opinion:  Van Johnson was underrated as an actor.  I suppose that's no surprise in Hollywood.  If there are overrated actors then there must surely be underrated actors.      

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I'm a big fan of Van Johnson.

 

 

He was all set to star in A Guy Named Joe and had shot some scenes when he was in a car accident in which he was nearly decapitated.  You see the scar from the metal plate in his head.  Instead of having him replaced as was often done and did happen to people like Judy Garland, Stars of the movie Spencer Tracy and Irene Dunne as well as Katherine Hepburn lobbied to put A guy Named Joe on the shelf while they did other things  until Van was healthy again and that gave him something to give him to strive for and helped  him get healthy.

 

He made his on screen appearance instead in another Irene Dunne war-time called The White Cliffs of Dover as a patient.

 

Then later A Guy Named Joe resumed filming with Van Johnson playing the role he started to film.

 

His most frequent leading lady was June Allyson.

 

I love to watch him in all genres.

 

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I've grown to very much appreciate Van Johnson's acting talent in recent years, myself.

 

Two of my favorite roles of his which have yet to be mentioned here were his supporting role as the savvy wisecracking USAAF sergeant in the star-studded COMMAND DECISION (1948), and his lead role in another WWII themed film, GO FOR BROKE (1951) where he plays the at first reluctant U.S. Army officer who is charged with the duty to make soldiers out of some of the Japanese-American volunteers who signed up out of the relocation camps they were forced to go during this conflict.

 

(...two very good films in my book)

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AS a matter of fact I did (and still do) expect Mr. Postlethwaite's deceased-yet-somehow-still-living-head to pop up from its grave and begin feasting on the living!  Like "The Walking Dead" but with simply "A Hungry Head".  Ya better believe it! 

 

     Ben Affleck's head is big and looks like a block. 

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It is interesting that the subject is Van Johnson, because on August 25th, it will be 100 years since he was born. So I would like to think he will get a full day for Summer Under the Stars. It should be easy enough to schedule, since a large percentage of his film output was at MGM, and most of those titles are in the TCM/Turner library.

   Would love to see REMAINS TO BE SEEN an MGM film from 1953 never shown on TCM.  Please get the legal problems straightened out and show it.

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This thread comes up only a couple of days after I was scrolling around the Stars of the Month forum. I was just kind of absentmindedly checking off the usual suspects one would expect to be SOTM on TCM given that the large bulk of their work was "in library" - Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, Greer Garson, Spencer Tracy, etc. I was stunned to see Van Johnson has only been SOTM once and that was many years ago.

 

Then I went to imdb and checked out his resume, started clicking on titles unfamiliar to me and comparing them against MovieCollectorOH's database. Yes, this is how I spend my spare time. There are interestingly any number of Johnson films that have never aired on TCM  (MOTHER IS A FRESHMAN, EAGLES OVER LONDON) and others that have aired only very infrequently (THREE MEN IN WHITE, WHEN IN ROME, MIRACLE IN THE RAIN) I would be in favor of his getting another go-around as SOTM, if TCM would endeavor to sprinkle it with some premieres and rarities among the inevitable inclusions (THE CAINE MUTINY, BATTLEGROUND, THE LAST TIME I SAW PARIS, TOO YOUNG TO KISS, A GUY NAMED JOE, etc.).

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No, I don't like Van Johnson. I LOVE Van Johnson. Love, love, love him. Boy next door, aw shucks, but with a little bit of mischievousness and that twinkle in his eye. So adorable and endearing. I love watching him. He just goes down easy, you know?  And he was in so many good movies, from musicals to romance to war. Very versatile, and yes, I agree, underrated.

I love his pairings with June Allyson (another vote for Remains To Be Scene, please!), Esther Williams and Judy Garland. 23 Paces to Baker Street was one of the first movies I saw him in when I was much, much younger and is still one of my favorites. I have collected every movie of his from 1940 to 1960, except for 3, and quite a few after that. I wish he would be SOTM again, or at least, as was suggested, that he have his own day this August. We'll see.

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I like his movies, to me he was just another one of the guys and a good actor at that.  Weekend At The Waldorf or In The Good Old Summertime come to mind.  Also Battleground.  I always watch his movies all the way through.

 

Now here's something I do that maybe some of you won't understand.  I make a point not to watch all the movies of the actors I like the most.  I collect as many of them as I can, but I make a point to NOT watch them.  Not as quickly as TCM can show them.  Watching their all-day marathons with one of my favorite actors would be like feeding fillet mignon to a dog.

 

Ever so slowly I might introduce a "new" movie by one of my favorite stars.  Then it is more of an event for me.  But most of the time I just watch old favorites, movies I have already seen, or movies by other actors.

 

For the stars I like the most, I have probably only seen about 1/4 or so of any of their movies at the most, and Van Johnson is one of those stars.

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I totally understand that viewpoint, Moviecollector.

 

I have seen 99% of Gregory Peck's films and television appearances, but that has been over a period of 25 years.

 

I have several movies recorded that I have never seen before  that are waiting for me to watch them for the first time until I won't be interrupted and can enjoy them for the genre they are.

 

For two years my building was on either side of a construction site as new buildings were being put up.  It drove me crazy.

 

I didn't watch a single drama or comedy or romance during that time because the mood would have been ruined.

 

I watched loud movies like war films and westerns so I could  pretend that the noise was on my screen only and if I pushed mute it would be silent.

 

 

I have The Trial recorded and look forward to adding that to my seen list of Glenn Ford movies. I am not going to watch it until I can enjoy it.

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I wouldn't exactly call myself a VAN JOHNSON "fan", but I always enjoyed seeing him in movies.  Liked the movies he was in, and yeah, he was OK.

 

Sure, I too, due to him sorta being an "old friend" movie-wise, enjoyed seeing him in THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO.  and his most memorable line, "We never make it to the bedroom" (or words to that effect) was wisdom on Allen's part to have a veteran from that movie era utter a line like that.

 

Maybe, if you're such a fan, you could lead me to the name of a movie he did back about the late '40's or very early '50's----LOUIS CALHERN was in the cast, and Van was a young senator or congressman and in one scene Van's character, adressing the full quorum, told a story I saw fit to retell(as best as I can remember) about a young pilgrim monk asking his elder master, "Master, why do we take a vow of poverty?"

 

The master went to a small chest and took out two pieces of glass and invited the young monk to step outside.

 

He held up a piece of glass and said, "Look through this glass and tell me what you see."

 

The young monk replied, "I see a large field of tall grass waving in the gentle breeze.  At the far end of the field, I see a small flock of sheep grazing on the grass.  And just beyond the sheep I see a small stream running by them, and on the other side of the stream is a willow tree with it's long fronds also waving in the gentle breeze."

 

The Master removed the first glass, held up the second and invited once more the pilgrim to look into it and report what he sees.  But the second glass was a mirror!

 

When looking into it, the pilgrim laughed slightly and said, "but master, it is a mirror, and I'm afraid the only thing I see is myself!" 

 

The master then said, "So then, do you not also see the difference a little bit of SILVER makes?"

 

Apparently, Van's character told this story in response to some shifty(as HE saw it) political maneuvers his opponents were trying.

 

I've had occasion to retell this story to people I felt really needed to hear it!

 

And in most of his movies, Van was always that "everyman" type of guy that NObody could find a way to hate! 

 

Sepiatone

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Have you seen Slander?

 

I dunno Fedya. As I recall, even though Van's character kind'a loses it a bit for a while and becomes somewhat mean to his son and wife, I think he's still the likable sort we're supposed to root for in this film, isn't he?!

 

(...now Steve Cochran on the other hand......) 

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So I'm guessing nobody knew the movie I was referring to.

 

I'd really like to know.  I didn't see it all, and I'd like to hear that little fable again in order to recall it correctly.

 

Sepiatone

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