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My sister was in love with him for years because as a redhead herself, he was the only tall, good looking actor around.

 

Talk about another under-rated star; I never realized how versatile he was until today, I've seen most of the films shown today before, but never back to back, and that makes the distinction more apparent. He was so cute in the one with Liz Taylor where he couldn't drink because of being hidden in a wine cellar for months during the war, and I find myself watching him instead of Kelly during the Bonnie Jean piece in 'Brigadoon'. But as I've said before, Kelly always keeps his partners off to the side so he can be the one to 'shine'.

 

I thought on his day, there should be a thread here of his own.

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Wow,

 

Either everyone is busy watching his movies tonight, or nobody has a thing to say about him. Well, I thought I would try to get some interest going one more time. So if nobody comes in, I'll just go out.

 

Bye, bye

 

Anne

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I love Last Time I Saw Paris and there is an old I love Lucy Show where Lucy and Ricky are in Hollywood and she ends up doing a dance routine with him .I knew that he was a great actor but it really wasn't until years later that i discovered what a great dancer he was as well .

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In Robert Osborne's column in the Hollywood Reporter, he said that Van will be turning 90 tomorrow, Friday August 25. He's living in a retirement home in Nyack, New York, north of Manhattan. I hope he's doing well!

 

To be honest, I've never been a huge fan of his, to me he wasn't really a "great" actor, but he was excellent in the movie "Miracle in the Rain," with Jane Wyman (another legend of the Golden Age that's still with us). It's always been an underrated movie, not as well remembered as some of his others, but it's such a nice story, and the two stars were very good together. And I thought he was great in that episode of "I Love Lucy," that someone else mentioned. He and Lucy danced to "How About You," and were great together. And I think the reason why he was able to sing and dance as well as "act" was because he was at MGM for most of his career, and they made sure that all of their stars learned everything in regard to entertaining.

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I am a really big fan of Van Johnson, and I wish there was some his fans could reach him to wish him a happy 90th tomorrow - God love him! Maybe TCM will be kind enough to send any birthday wishes his way, as they seem to know exactly where he is located. Anytime I want a "feel good" movie, I just reach for a DVD of Van and Judy Garland in The Good Old Summertime. Anyway, Van if by chance you see this, thanks for all the great times you've given all of us who love your movies. Happy Birthday!

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I find myself watching him instead of Kelly during the Bonnie Jean piece in 'Brigadoon'.

 

I found myself doing the same thing during 'Brigadoon'! I really, really enjoyed him in that one. I've seen that movie many times on the TCM schedule, but never watched it until yesterday. I'm not sure why, but I really enjoyed his jaded and cynical attitude compared to Gene Kelly's.

 

I kinda wish TCM had gotten 'Miracle in the Rain' as well. I saw that one a few months ago (it was being shown on the Max channels) because my mother mentioned how much she loved that one when she was a kid. And I have to say, that as a card carrying member of the "I cry at the end of every romantic movie" club, this one didn't disappoint at all. I was weeping like a baby for a good five minutes afterwards. Van Johnson is wonderful in this one. He's so sweet to Jane Wyman.

 

And I know TCM recently showed it: I enjoyed him in "Divorce, American Style" too. I felt so bad for his character at the end. He was so good natured and then got dumped by Debbie Reynolds. Poor guy.

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Did anyone notice in Two Girls & A Sailor that Ava Gardner was the dancer who fell asleep on the Marine's shoulder and then at the end he was asleep on her shoulder? I thought it was her when they first showed her but it was confirmed at the end when I saw that little dimple in her chin. It must have been one of first films because she wasn't quite as glamorous as she was later on.

 

Speaking of Two Girls & A Sailor--I like musicals okay but this one seemed a little overboard with the musical numbers. A little picture (at least it seemed like kind of a B picture even though Van Johnson & June Allyson were big stars then) but it lasted over 2 hours. Too much music (and I thought I'd never say that.) Plus, I guess it came out in 1944 and it seemed too much like those Hollywood/Stage Door Canteen movies with hardly a plot (or at least I seemed to lose track of the story with all the musical numbers going on.) It seemed like the movie was trying to be too many things--a romatic story, a musical, some pathos. It seemed too jumbled.

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Van Johnson was one of those affable, good looking MGM studio guys who had just enough appeal to hang around for as long as his type was required. He was most often cast (or perhaps is just best known for his roles) in war films and/or musicals. He played the drafted son, and Mickey Rooney?s big brother in The Human Comedy (1943), but things really took off when he was cast opposite June Allyson and Gloria DeHaven in Two Girls and a Sailor (1944). After appearing in The White Cliffs of Dover (1944), he played the lead in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944), the true story of James Doolittle?s morale lifting bombing raid on Tokyo just months after Pearl Harbor in World War II. Johnson played Ted Lawson (whose book was made into the movie), a pilot of that mission whose plane later crash landed in China and, despite his injuries, made his way back with help from the Chinese. After WW II, he played a Civil War soldier in The Romance of Rosy Ridge (1947) at the end of that war who falls in love with Janet Leigh (who wouldn?t; it was her screen debut); her father (played by Thomas Mitchell) is most concerned with finding out on which side Johnson?s character had fought before he gives his approval. He then appeared in two very good films with excellent casts, State of the Union (1948) & Command Decision (1948), before he played one of his most memorable roles in Battleground (1949), yet another war movie. I just saw Go for Broke! (1951) in which Johnson played one of his least likable roles, a bigot who is asked to command Japanese-American troops during WW II. Three years (and several pictures) later, Johnson played a pivotal role in The Caine Mutiny (1954); his character is goaded into taking command of Humphrey Bogart?s ship by Fred MacMurray et al, which lead to the titled event. That same year he (seemed miscast when he) starred opposite Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse in the somewhat disappointing musical Brigadoon (1954). Many years later, he was one of the few bright spots in (what is now a terribly dated Norman Lear comedy) Divorce American Style (1967) and the next year he played the matchmaking family friend of Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in the original Yours, Mine and Ours (1968).

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