Tune in for your weekly fireside

Don Ameche, Ginger Rogers, Cecil B. DeMille and Charles Winneger performing on the Lux Radio Theater

“Radio  Waves Over Hollywood” will be streaming live Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m (Eastern time).

Topics for Jan. 27:
-Film actors who made it big on TV
-Kay Kyser, Georgia Carroll and other big bands
-Actors who got married
-And more…

So be sure to listen at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  live stream on www.winrfm.com (go to Listen Live) or  the old WINR website.

Call in at 803-323-2122, whether you know me or not, to contribute to the discussion.  I would love to hear from you!

And remember, non-Winthrop students can listen and call in too!

Also, if you listen to the “Radio Waves Over Hollywood” show, leave feedback for me in the comments area. Let me know what I need to work on or what you want to hear!

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“I felt so low I could walk under a dachshund on stilts”

Dachshunds are probably the cutest dog to ever walk the planet. Maybe I’m a little biased, but their foot long torsos, stubby little legs, floppy ears and clown-like mischievousness is hard to resist. No wonder so many actors and actresses had these adorable hot dogs.

I generally don’t do long strings of photo posts, but I have noticed that lots of these cute German dogs pop up in movies and in celebrity homes. I also am really homesick for my best four-legged friend, Molly. Here is a list of stars who had these cute dogs:

*The quote above is from the Clara Bow silent film “It” (1927)

French Charles Boyer and English Ronald Colman cuddle the little German

Crawford and her famous Baby and Boopshem

Davies and her dachsie

Jean Harlow and her pup

Walter Huston and his dog spending quality time

Alan Ladd with his two children

Diana Lewis (aka Mrs. William Powell) and her doggie

Adolphe Menjou and his puppy

Even The Duke had a dachshund

Author of the blog and her dachshund Molly, Christmas 2009

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Y’alls dance, Y’alls dance: RIP Georgia Carroll

“Gorgeous” Georgia Carroll

Texas breeds cows, politicians and beautiful women.  One of these women was “Gorgeous” Georgia Carroll.

Carroll was born on Nov. 18, 1919 in Blooming Grove, Texas and became a model in the 1930s and 1940s.

Ginny Simms was Kyser’s orginal band singer. The two were romantically involved and Simms left shortly after they broke up. Carroll met future husband and band leader Kay Kyser during World War II, according to the Daily Tar Heel. Carroll enrolled in Kyser’s “Musical Kollege of Knowledge” as the band’s singer and the two later were married.

Carroll and Simms were the opposite end of the piano when it came down to talent and personality. They both brought different things to Kyser’s band.

Georgia Carroll was very beautiful and had an equally golden voice. Carroll was demure, classy and soft. She seems like she was probably polite, quiet and sweet in person. On the other hand, Ginny Simms had a beautiful voice, but she also had a lot of soul. She too was pretty but had a bit harsher appearance than Carroll. I don’t know much about Simms personally, but I do know that she went through men alot, and I’ve also wondered if she was working her way up the ladder. She dated Kyser, sang for him, then left when they broke up. She also had one of her big solo breaks in film after dating Louis B. Mayer. However, dating aside, Simms did have a long and successful marriage until she died in 1994.

Mr. and Mrs. Kyser

Kyser left the big band scene in the early 1950s, and moved his family to Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Carroll remained in Chapel Hill from 1951 until her death this year at the age of 91.

Kyser was a 1928 UNC graduate- he wrote their fight song and was student body president- and that may be one reason I like him so much. Kyser has a lot of southern charm and humor and went back home to his roots when he retired. Carroll also was a UNC grad, taking 20 years to graduate when she just took one class a semester.  Carroll also helped start a historical preservation society in Chapel Hill in 1972 to save buildings that might be torn down.

On a bit more of a personal note, my grandparents lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina from 1956 to 1961, while my grandfather was teaching and getting his PhD at UNC.  Though Kyser was a Christian Scientist, Georgia Carroll and the children went to the same Lutheran church my grandparents went to. My mom was in the same Sunday school class as some of the Kyser children, though she was too young to remember, and my grandmother saw Georgia in church frequently. She said she was just as beautiful in person as she was on the screen.

Grandmama even said she would see Kay Kyser in the grocery store on occasion, but she was too nervous to say hello. Such a shame.

Rest in peace, Georgia Carroll. She is so beautiful and is yet another classic singer or star who has left us. Not only do I love her for her talent, but I have always been so intrigued that she lived so nearby.

I really had planned on calling her for an interview for my blog sometime, but never could get up the nerve.

Here is a great video of Kyser’s band with Carroll from “Thousands Cheer” (1943).  Carroll sings about 3 minutes in, but it also shows the energy and fun of Kay Kyser:

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First radio show of the semester! Listen!

Carole Landis on the radio

It’s the first show of the semester with some changes in the format so be sure to listen!

“Radio  Waves Over Hollywood” will be streaming live Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m (Eastern time).

Topics for Jan. 20:
-New movie endeavors and other things in my life movie related
-Assessment of TCM Movie Moguls Documentary and Hollywood history
-One actress’s suicide and its controversy
-And more…

So be sure to listen at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  live stream on www.winrfm.com (go to Listen Live) or  the old WINR website.

Call in at 803-323-2122, whether you know me or not, to contribute to the discussion.  I would love to hear from you!

And remember, non-Winthrop students can listen and call in too!

Also, if you listen to the “Radio Waves Over Hollywood” show, leave feedback for me in the comments area. Let me know what I need to work on or what you want to hear!

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page and Radio Waves Over Hollywood Facebook page.

Once more, Miss Grable?

Top pin-ups of WW2: Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth

Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth.

The two pin-up girls that almost all soldiers pinned on their barracks and hearts during World War II.  The two glamour girls duked it out to be Number 1 pin-up thanks to two famous LIFE photos.  Betty with her coy over the shoulder bathing suit glance, and Rita perched on a bed in lacy negligee.

Both women were no doubt enviously beautiful but in very different ways. Hayworth had major glamorous sex appeal. Long wavy red hair, a slender figure and smoldering beauty.  Grable’s sparkling eyes, blonde hair and sunny smile gave way to an all-American girl look.  In the 1940s Time magazine said, “She can lay no claims to sultry beauty or mysterious glamour.  Her peach-cheeked, pearl blonde good looks add up to mere candy- box-top prettiness.” 

This was no doubt the reason Grable was the top pin-up girl.  She had attainable beauty that soldiers could find in their wives and childhood sweethearts.

But though Grable wins in the pin-up photo battle, she may lose in other areas.

I adore Betty Grable so in the past week I’ve been watched both “Springtime in the Rockies” (1942), “Song of the Islands” (1942) and assorted YouTube clips of Betty. While watching these, I’ve noticed something that very much disturbs me. Betty Grable isn’t the best dancer.

In “Rockies” her dance numbers were good but not exciting. In “Song of the Islands” I felt like her hula dancing was a bit haphazard.  She almost frantically waved her arms and hips around. I will say the sand that she was dancing on looked like a hindrance. I was pleased to note that several of her hula moves were authentic based off my “Island Girll” work out DVDs.

In comparison, a recent clip I watched of Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire dancing in “You Were Never Lovelier” (1942) or Hayworth dancing solo in “Down to Earth” (1947) were impressive to say the least.  Her moves were graceful and well thought out, and footwork was complicated but done with ease.  Hayworth was an excellent tap dancer, but-to be fair- she also had the upper hand since she was part of her father’s dance troop.

Grable can really sell a song and do a fun dance number, but when compared to her contemporaries like Rita Hayworth- Grable really falls short.

Here are too numbers I found to compare their dancing styles.

I chose these two clips for specific reasons:
1. Both Grable and Hayworth are wearing pants, so you can see their feet better
2. They are both meant to look like practice routines
3. Hermes Pan and Fred Astaire have very similar dancing styles

Betty Grable and Hermes Pan in “Footlight Serenade” (1942):

Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire in “You’ll Never Get Rich” (1941):


Both dance well, but I think Rita does a better job.  Astaire and Hayworth seem to be on the same skill level in their number while Pan is much more graceful than Grable.

What do you think?

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Boola boola and rah rah rah: College in the movies

A typical day at Winthrop…not. (From “Good News

After a fast Christmas break, I have moved back into my Winthrop University dorm for the last time.  In honor of my last semester as a college “co-ed”  here is a blog with different representations of college in classic film and judge at how realistic the films portray college.

*I’d like to point out that all of these are classic films, so don’t be disappointed that I didn’t review “National Lampoon’s Animal House” or “Accepted.”

 

Harold Lloyd and Jobyna Ralston in “The Freshman”

•The Freshman (1925)-

Harold Lloyd is very excited about going to college after seeing a movie about a popular campus. Lloyd’s only purpose at college is to be the big man on campus. He achieves this by doing a silly dance before he shakes people’s hands and fumbling around the football field. However, he just makes a fool of himself. To review: I’m not a huge fan of Harold Lloyd actually (I am loyal to Buster Keaton), but this is actually one of my favorite silent movies. It’s heartbreaking to see how people make fun of him but also hilarious at the same time. I really don’t know what college life was like in the 1920s, but in my college experiences there is not one BIG popular person. I will say, I am on a fairly small campus of 6,500 people so there are notable figures but no one person who I would say is the most popular.

Pigskin Parade (1936)- Winston and Bessie Winters (Jack Haley and Patsy Kelly) are college coaches trying to have a winning season. Things are going rough until hillbilly Amos (Stuart Erwin) and his sister Sairy (Judy Garland)-also a redneck- come to campus.  Amos can throw a winning football pass after throwing melons on the farm. To review: Its been a long time since I’ve seen this movie but I remember it being pretty excruciating. Between Judy’s country accent and the Yacht Boys singing, it was pretty obnoxious.

 

Rosemary and Priscilla Lane publicity shot for “Variety Show”

•Varsity Show (1937)-

Priscilla and Rosemary Lane (as Betty and Barbara) and friends are trying to put on a show on Winfield Campus, but the faculty doesn’t like swing music. They pull in former student and Broadway star Chuck Day (Dick Powell), to help with the show, but his last performances have laid eggs. To review: I love Priscilla Lane and Dick Powell, and its fun to see them in a movie together. However, this is another stereotypical song and dance college musical. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen in college put on as big of a show as they do in this movie.

Vivacious Lady (1938)-Francey (Ginger Rogers) marries college chemistry professor Peter (James Stewart). The marriage is a secret from his family because he is already engaged and his father (Charles Coburn)  is the college president. Stewart and Rogers go to extreme measures to stay together, including Rogers becoming a student at the college. To review: This is one of my favorite movies. Rogers and Stewart have wonderful chemistry and there are several funny moments. I did think most of the college students in Stewart’s class looked a lot older than college students though.

Bathing Beauty (1944)- Caroline (Esther Williams) goes back to her old job as a teacher at a girls’ college after a misunderstanding with her boyfriend Steve (Red Skelton). Steve tries to win Caroline back by finding a loophole in the rules and enrolling in the school. Comedic moments ensue with Red in a tutu and Harry James jazzing up music class. To review: I love this movie. Esther is beautiful in Technicolor. Xavier Cugat and Lina Romay spice it up with Latin rhythm along with other musical talents like Ethel Smith and Harry James. I know that James and Cugat don’t come and jazz up “I’ll Take the High Road” in music class in college, but it certainly does make college look fun. I also love the ever pert and fun Jean Porter in this movie. She really seems like the quintessential college/high school young lady of the 1940s to me.

Susan Peters is a co-ed with “Young Ideas”

Young Ideas(1943)- Romance author Josephine Evans(Mary Astor) marries college professor Mike (Herbert Marshall) and cancels her book tour.  Astor’s children, Susan (Susan Peters) and Jeff (Elliot Reed), oppose of the marriage, especially since it may mean their mother’s book career is over. Susan and Jeff enroll in college and do whatever they can to break up the marriage. To review: This is a classic, fun MGM movie from the 1940s. I love Herbert Marshall and he was really funny in this movie. Susan Peters and Elliot Reed were pretty bratty but Richard Carleson gave a nice balance to it. This movie seemed the most of what college might have been like-though I do wonder if freshman really wore little beanies.

•Andy Hardy’s Blonde Trouble (1944)- Andy Hardy (Mickey Rooney) goes to college and is surrounded by beautiful girls-his dream. Two twin blondes trick him and he falls for the icy Kay Wilson (Bonita Granville). Hardy competes with professor Dr. Standish (Herbert Marshall) for Kay’s attention. To review: I don’t like the Andy Hardy movies as much when he goes to college. However, the way college was represented seemed to be pretty realistic.

Peter Lawford and June Allyson in “Good News”

Good News (1947)- In the 1920s, co-ed librarian June Allyson isn’t exactly what you would call a vamp. Allyson falls for popular, football star Peter Lawford but he is interested in modern woman, Patricia Marshall.  Several songs are fit in during the pursuit of love, including a great number involving “The Varsity Drag.” To review: Once again, I wonder if in the 1920s, schools were so small to have one person who is the most popular? The movie is fun and colorful, but it seems more a vehicle for Joan McCracken and Patricia Marshall-neither who did much else in movies. I wish June Allyson was in the movie more, because she was the whole reason I watched it.

Apartment For Peggy (1948)- Peggy (Jeanne Crain) and Jason (William Holden) are married, and Jason is going to college as a chemistry major using the G.I. Bill.  Professor Henry Barnes (Edmund Gwenn), a professor at the college, has decided he has lived long enough and wants to commit suicide. The couple lives in a trailer, but needs more room because Peggy is expecting. The professor agrees to let the couple rent out his attic as an apartment and his views on life begin to change. To review: This is a really fun and cute movie. It is very light hearted but let me warn you for some sad parts. I think the college aspect is pretty realistic when put in perspective of post-war men using G.I. Bill to go to college and their wives and their struggles.

Mr. Belvedere Goes to College(1949)- Clifton Webb as Mr. Belvedere decides to enroll in college since his highest level of education is from the fifth grade.  Though he is older than all the students, Belvedere is considered a freshman and has to deal with ritual hazing. During all of this he makes friends with Tom Drake and beautiful Shirley Temple who has a secret. To review: The movie is very funny, and Clifton Webb gives a droll perfomance as always. Other than the hazing, I thought this seemed pretty similar to a real college. It was pretty large and it didn’t seem like there was that one person in charge.

The Varisty Drag from Good News:

Other college films:
College (1927)- Starring Buster Keaton
College Swing (1938)- Starring Bob Hope, Gracie Allen and Martha Raye
Dancing Co-Ed (1939)-Starring Lana Turner, Ann Rutherford,  and Artie Shaw
These Glamour Girls (1939)- Starring Lana Turner, Lew Ayres and Anita Louise
Second Chorus (1940)- Starring Fred Astaire, Paulette Goddard, Burgess Meredith and Artie Shaw
The Feminine Touch (1941)- Starring Rosalind Russell and Ray Milland
The Male Animal (1942)- Starring Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland and Joan Leslie
The Falcon and The Co-Ed (1943)- Starring Tom Conway
Mother Is A Freshman (1949)- Starring Van Johnson and Loretta Young
HIGH TIME (1960)- Starring Bing Crosby, Tuesday Weld and Richard Beymer
Joy in the Morning (1965)- Starring Richard Chamberlin and Yvette Mimeux

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10,000 and counting

Time to celebrate!

LIFE photo of Betty Grable and Harry James celebrate their daughter's 1st birthday.

Last night “Comet Over Hollywood” reached 10,000 readers from May 2010 to January 2011.

I want to thank all of my faithful readers.  If you ever want to see posts on a certain topic or even criticize my writing, please feel free to do so!

Thanks for all of your support and look for many new posts this year!

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Actress beauty tip #8: Milk bath

This is the eighth installment of my monthly classic actress beauty tips that I have tested. Sorry this is late, Christmas festivities slowed down the beauty testing!

In Cecil B. DeMille’s ancient Rome epic “The Sign of the Cross” (1932), Claudette Colbert plays the cruel, seductive Empress Poppaea.   The VERY pre-code film features Claudette Colbert bathing lavishly in donkey’s milk in a pool size tub.  A little trivia: In reality, Colbert wasn’t bathing in donkey’s milk, but powdered cow’s milk.  The scene wasn’t very pleasant for Colbert to film, because the milk spoiled under the hot studio lights and smelled bad, according to IMDB.

Claudette Colbert in Sign of the Cross (1932)

After “The Sign of the Cross” inspired this beauty tip, I did some research on the benefits of milk baths.  The protein and fat in milk helps make skin feel soft.  Milk is also a natural exfoliant, according to She Radiance.

I have to say, this is one of those beauty tips (like the champagne hair rinse)  that I feel pretty ridiculous for trying but is really fun.  Here is what I did:

1. I showered earlier this morning, the milk bath was NOT a substitute for a shower or bath.
2. I bought a gallon and a half of two percent Southern Home milk from Bi-Lo.  Some websites said you only needed to add four to six cups, but I wanted as much milk in my bath as I could afford. I certainly wasn’t going to fill the whole tub with milk, though, because that would have been too expensive.
3. I filled the tub with warm water and dumped the gallon and a half of milk into the tub.  You can heat your milk on the stove, but after the cold milk and hot water mixed, the water was at a good temperature.
4. Soak in the tub. I wasn’t really sure how long to bathe, so I soaked for about 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Dry off with an old towel and rinse out your tub with water.  I didn’t notice the bad milk smell that was warned. However, to be on the safe side I rinsed out the tub so my bathroom wouldn’t smell like sour milk.

To review:  After the bath my skin felt smooth and not as dry as it had before. Apparently the milk baths also makes you taste good, because my dachshund is licking my arm as I type.
In the future I may only put a half-gallon or a few cups in to save money. I do suggest this, it was fun and ridiculous a the same time.

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Take it Easy Lina: RIP to Lina Romay

Lina Romay with Xavier Cugat in “Two Girls and a Sailor”

About three days ago I found out that the lovely Xavier Cugat rumba singer, Lina Romay, died on December 17.   I was really upset that her death went by me unnoticed, but obviously I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know because the New York Times only posted an obituary on January 1st.

I was planning on writing something about Miss Romay in the near furture. However, I think something was telling me to write about her when I unknowingly watched three Lina Romay movies in one day: “Adventure” (1945),” Love Laughs at Andy Hardy” (1946) and “Embraceable You” (1948).

Lina Romay sang for Xavier Cugat’s band during the 1940s, particuarly during World War II; when South American culture was popular in the United States as I mentioned in another blog post.

Lina Romay in the 1940s

The first time I came across Miss Romay was in high school in “Bathing Beauty” (1941) as she sang “Bim Bam Bum” and “Alma llanera” with Mr. Cugat.  I thought she was pretty and had a nice voice, but dismissed her as another forgettable singer.

Romay popped up in several other movies after that like in “Two Girls and A Sailor” (1944) and “Weekend at the Waldorf” as Cugat’s singer.  In other films she got to flex her acting muscles. In “Honeymoon” (1947) she plays Shirley Temple’s rival and in the film “Embraceable You” (1948), she is cast as the wise-cracking, but caring friend of invalid Geraldine Brooks

Sadly, Miss Romay is drastically underrated and forgotten. Once the war ended, big bands and rumba bands fizzled and so did Miss Romay’s career.  I hate this, because she is probably one of my favorite singers-she performs many of the songs on my favorite CD “Maracas, Marimbas & Mambos: Latin Classics At M-G-M – Motion Picture Soundtrack Anthology.”

Lina Romay retired in the 1950s. Romay had two long and successful marriages.  One to Jay Gould from 1953 until his death in 1987 and a second to writer Robert O’Brien in 1992 until his death in 2005.

Miss Romay, you will be missed.  Your version of “Babalu” will always be my favorite over Dezi Arnez’s.  Rest in peace.

Trivia on Lina Romay:
-Daughter of a Mexican diplomat
-Born in Brooklyn
-Worked as a Spanish-language radio announcer for horse races at Hollywood Park Racetrack in the 1970s and 1980s (according to the NY Times)
-Was in 19 movies and television shows as an actress and seven movies as a singer.
-Be careful while you are looking her up. Apparently an “adult actress” named herself after our Lina Romay in the 1970s.  When I wanted to write Miss Romay for an autography, I could only find the adult star and not the rumba singer.

I leave you with a video of Lina Romay and Xavier Cugat from “Two Girls and A Sailor” sing “Rhumba Rhumba” (I love her dress):

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