Musical Monday: Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Hillbillys in a Haunted House (1967) – Musical #651

Studio:
Woolner Brothers Pictures Inc.

Director:
Jean Yarbrough

Starring:
Ferlin Husky, Joi Lansing, Don Bowman, Basil Rathbone, John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr., Linda Ho, Richard Webb, Allen Jung, Virginia Ann Lee
Themselves: Merle Haggard, Molly Bee, Jim Kent, Sonny James and the Southern Gentlemen, Marcella Wright

Plot:
Country singers Woody Wetherby (Huskey), Jeepers (Bowman) and Boots Malone (Lansing) are traveling to Nashville for a music festival. They run into a storm along the way and a gas station recommends that they take refuge in an abandoned mansion … or so they think. It turns out that a group of spies (Rathbone, Chaney, Carradine, Ho) are hiding in the mansion and keeping people away by making it seem haunted. The spies are trying to get a top secret formula from a nearby factory.

Continue reading

Musical Monday: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949) – Musical #200

Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Director:
Tay Garnett

Starring:
Bing Crosby, Rhonda Fleming, Cedric Hardwicke, William Bendix, Murvyn Vye, Virginia Field, Joseph Vitale, Henry Wilcoxon, Richard Webb, Alan Napier, Julia Faye, Mary Field, Ann Carter, Olin Howland (uncredited)

Plot:
In 1912, mechanic Hank Martin (Crosby) is caught in a storm, while riding a horse. When he falls from the horse and hits his head, he finds himself transported to Camelot and the court of King Arthur (Hardwicke). Since Hank traveled backwards from the present, he’s regarded as a monster or a magician with all of his knowledge. He falls in love with Lady Alisande La Carteloise (Fleming), who is betrothed to Sir Lancelot (Wilcoxon).

Continue reading

Jackie Cooper’s Halloween Party

While I am no expert chef, fabulous cook or food blogger, I enjoy finding recipes supposedly connected to classic film stars. I love magazines articles and ads touting Richard Dix’s favorite chili recipe or Cary Grant’s oyster stew. I even collect compilation books or pamphlets featuring top stars and their recipes.

Even the child stars were getting in the act with culinary activities.

In the October 1931 issue of Photoplay, 9-year-old Jackie Cooper shares his favorite recipes that he will be preparing for an upcoming Halloween party.

“There is going to be a Halloween party at Jackie Cooper’s house. There will probably be lots of stunts – weird, flapping ghosts and strange creepy noises everywhere, but when everyone is hungry, there will be plenty of goodies close by. That rascal Jackie will have more than a hand in the pranks played on his guests, but not many of them will guess that he had a hand in the cooking too!”

With the holiday tie in, I decided to try these recipes for the Halloween season.

The article shares recipes that Jackie jotted down for us readers. I gave them a try, and while I’m no expert baker, I think they all turned out fairly well. That said – I wasn’t familiar with some of the older cooking terms that differ from our contemporary stoves, ovens and cooking methods. For example, I had to research the temperature of a hot oven or moderate oven. Here are the outcomes of Jackie’s pumpkin pie, chocolate caramels and peanut cookies:

Pumpkin Pie:

Unfortunately the scanned article does cut off the right side – this wasn’t a scan error.

The outcome of the pie.

My review:
The end product of this pumpkin pie was really delicious, but the good outcome was a surprise. Everything was mixing fairly well, though getting a bit soupy. The last step of the recipe is to mix in melted butter. Since my butter was still warm, it reacted poorly when hitting the other, cooler ingredients. Instead of mixing smoothly, the butter congealed. When poured in the pie shell, the butter rose to the top. Because of the soupy nature of the mixture, the pie ended up baking for 2 hours.

If I made this again, I would mix the melted butter in earlier with the dry ingredients. The mixture also made more than the deep dish pie shell would hold, so I would also consider using mini pie tarts in order to use the whole mixture.

Otherwise, this pumpkin pie was one of the best I have eaten. I really liked the cinnamon that was included.

Substitutes: I used canned pumpkin and a frozen Pillsbury pie shell.

Chocolate Caramels:

My review: While none of the recipes were particularly difficult to make, the caramels may have been the easiest. Making this is similar to fudge – it is all on the stove, like any other candy making. Though I would describe the finished product more like hard candy (or Werther’s Originals) than caramel. Once the candy cooled and hardened, it was VERY hard.

I had to chisel these with a knife and a baking hammer to cut them into small squares. And boy were they hard to eat! Be careful if you have any fillings! However, after a day or two, they softened to a flakey consistency and melted in your mouth! I actually think this candy tasted better a day or two after making it.

In making these, the only difficulty was determining if the baking chocolate I bought was correct and enough. The packaging of Baker’s chocolate changed, making it a little confusing. Also, I chopped the chocolate with a knife, rather than grating.

Peanut Cookies

My review: I’m not a huge fan of nuts (pecans, almonds, etc) in my desserts, but these peanut cookies are very tasty! They were also the easiest to make. I wasn’t sure if the peanut-to-dough ratio was going to work out, but it mixed perfectly. These were tasty! Of course, if you have any tree nut allergies, do not attempt to make or eat these.

You can find the full recipe as it was printed in Photoplay here. I absolutely believe that Jackie Cooper made these, don’t you? Just kidding – but whether he did or not, it was a fun way to spend a weekend.

Check out the Comet Over Hollywood Facebook page, follow on Twitter at @HollywoodComet or e-mail at cometoverhollywood@gmail.com

Musical Monday: Meet Me on Broadway (1946)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Meet Me on Broadway (1946) – Musical #648

Studio:
Columbia Pictures

Director:
Leigh Jason

Starring:
Marjorie Reynolds, Frederick Brady (billed as Fred Brady), Jinx Falkenburg, Spring Byington, Allen Jenkins, Gene Lockhart, Loren Tindall

Plot:
Broadway director Eddie Dolan (Brady) quits the show he’s directing over artistic differences with his producer. His star (and girlfriend) Ann Stallings (Reynolds) and songwriter Deacon McGill (Jenkins) quit with Eddie. Believing he can stage a better show without the involvement of a producer, Eddie searches for a new show. He lands in a small community who is putting on a country club show for charity, headed by Sylvia Kane Storm (Byington) and her son Bob (Tindall). The show may not be as profitable as he thinks.

Continue reading

Musical Monday: Free and Easy (1930)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Free and Easy (1930) – Musical #650

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Edward Sedgwick

Starring:
Buster Keaton, Anita Page, Robert Montgomery, Trixie Friganza, Edgar Dearing, Edward Brophy (uncredited), Lottice Howell (uncredited), Doris McMahon (uncredited)
Themselves: Fred Niblo, Gwen Lee, John Miljan, Lionel Barrymore, William Haines, William Collier Sr., Dorothy Sebastian, Jackie Coogan, Karl Dane, David Burton, Cecil B. DeMille, Joseph Farnham, Arthur Lange, Theodore Lorch

Plot:
Elvira Plunkett (Page) is Miss Gopher City Kansas after winning a beauty contest. The award sends her to Hollywood with her mother (Friganza) and manager Elmer Butts (Keaton) to become a star. While in Hollywood, Elmer tries to get a screentest for Elvira and himself. Meanwhile, though Elmer is in love with Elvira, she falls for movie star Larry Mitchell (Montgomery).

Continue reading

Watching 1939: Timber Stampede (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film: 
Timber Stampede (1939)

Release date: 
June 30, 1939

Cast: 
George O’Brien, Chill Wills, Marjorie Reynolds, Morgan Wallace, Robert Fiske, Guy Usher, Earl Dwire, Bob Burns, Elmo Lincoln (uncredited)

Studio: 
RKO Radio Pictures

Director: 
David Howard

Plot:
Disguising it as bringing law and order to the west, Jay Jones (Usher) and Foss Dunlap (Wallace) promise to bring a railroad to the town of Wagon Wheel, when really their plan is just to strip the town of its timber. People are also filing fake claims on the land. To help write that Jones and Dunlap are bringing progress, reporter Anne Carr writes the stories they feed her, thinking she’s doing right. Scott Baylor (O’Brien) and his friend Whopper Hatch (Wills) are both cattlemen, and their livelihood is threatened by the changes in town. When Baylor tries to work with the sheriff, the sheriff is killed by one of Jones and Dunlap’s men who then takes the position for himself. Baylor has to investigate on his own.

Continue reading

Musical Monday: When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
When The Boys Meet The Girls (1965) – Musical #357

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Alvin Ganzer

Starring:
Connie Francis, Harve Presnell, Joby Baker, Sue Ane Langdon, Frank Faylen, Fred Clark, Susan Holloway
Themselves: Herman’s Hermits, Louis Armstrong, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, Liberace, The Standells

Plot:
When wealthy Danny Churchill (Presnell) runs into trouble at school with a showgirl (Langdon), his family sends him out west to a rural college for the trouble to blow over. He meets postmistress Ginger (Francis) who’s father (Faylen) is a gambler and has put them in debt; putting them in jeopardy of losing their ranch. Danny works to help Ginger and her father; turning their ranch into a successful hotel for divorcees, even with gamblers and showgirls trying to ruin their success.

Continue reading

Watching 1939: First Love (1939)

In 2011, I announced I was trying to see every film released in 1939. This new series chronicles films released in 1939 as I watch them. As we start out this blog feature, this section may become more concrete as I search for a common thread that runs throughout each film of the year. Right now, that’s difficult. 

1939 film: 
First Love (1939)

Release date: 
Nov. 8, 1939

Cast: 
Deanna Durbin, Robert Stack, Helen Parrish, Eugene Pallette, Leatrice Joy, Lewis Howard, Mary Treen, Frank Jenks, June Storey, Kathleen Howard, Charles Coleman, Thurston Hall, Marcie Mae Jones

Studio: 
Universal Studios

Director: 
Henry Koster

Plot:
Connie Harding (Durbin) was orphaned when her parents died, and her Cncle James Clinton (Pallette) has been paying for her go to boarding school. When she graduates, Connie goes to New York to live with her uncle and his family – her flighty Aunt Grace (Joy), glamour girl brat cousin Barbara (Parrish) and lazy cousin Walter (Howard). No one seems interested in Connie, who becomes lonely but befriends the household staff (Treen, Howard, Coleman). Connie happens to meet Ted Drake (Stack), while she is doing a favor for Barbara (who bosses her around). Connie develops a crush on Ted and is excited when she is going to attend a ball with her family that the Drakes are throwing. Barbara, who also likes Ted, tries to prevent Connie from going to the ball. But with the help of the servants, Connie is able to attend.

Continue reading

Musical Monday: Girl Crazy (1943)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Girl Crazy (1943) – Musical #165

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Norman Taurog, Busby Berkeley

Starring:
Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Gil Stratton, Robert E. Strickland, Rags Ragland, June Allyson, Nancy Walker, Guy Kibbee, Frances Rafferty, Henry O’Neill, Howard Freeman, Karin Booth (uncredited), Georgia Carroll (uncredited), Jimmy Butler (uncredited), Peter Lawford (uncredited), Charles Walters (uncredited)
Themselves: Tommy Dorsey & His Orchestra, Six Hits and a Miss, The Music Maids, The King’s Men, The Stafford Sisters (Jo Stafford, Christine Stafford, Pauline Stafford)

Plot:
Wealthy collegiate playboy Danny Churchill Jr. (Rooney) often frequents the headlines for his philanderings. Tired of reading about his son in print (and not for academics), his father (O’Neill) pulls Danny out of Yale and sends him to the desert of Arizona to all-male Cody College of Mines and Agriculture. While Danny adjusts to a more active lifestyle, he meets postmistress Ginger Gray (Garland) and granddaughter of the man who runs the college, and falls for her. However, when the college is failing enrollment, Danny hatches a plan to get more students.

Continue reading

Musical Monday: “Best Foot Forward” (1943)

It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

This week’s musical:
Best Foot Forward” –Musical #103

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Edward Buzzell

Starring:
Virginia Weidler, William Gaxton, Tommy Dix, Nancy Walker, June Allyson, Gloria DeHaven, Chill Wills, Harry James, Henry O’Neill, Sara Haden, Stanley Donen (uncredited cadet), James Ellison (uncredited cadet)
Themselves: Lucille Ball, Harry James and His Music Makers

Plot:
Bud Hooper (Dix), a cadet at a military school, sends a prom invitation to movie star Lucille Ball (as herself). Ball’s agent thinks it would be a great publicity stunt and she attends the dance, much to the chagrin of his girlfriend Helen (Weidler) and to Ball. However, since it was Helen who was approved to attend the dance, Bud as Ball pose as Helen.

Continue reading