Musical Monday: How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (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:
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini– Musical #291

Studio: American International Pictures

Director: William Asher

Starring:
Annette Funicello, Dwayne Hickman, Brian Donlevy, Buster Keaton, Frankie Avalon, Beverly Adams, Harvey Lembeck, John Ashley, Mickey Rooney, Michael Nadar, Sheila MacRae, Marianne Gordon, Len Lesser, Bobbi Shaw, Stephanie Nader, Sue Hamilton (as Sue Williams), Michele Carey (uncredited)
Themselves: The Kingsmen
Cameo: Elizabeth Montgomery

Plot:
While Frankie (Avalon) is away in the Navy on an island, he worries Dee Dee (Funicello) is being as unfaithful as he is. He works with witch doctor Bwana (Keaton) to use magic to spy on Dee Dee to see if she’s faithful. Bwana also creates a sexy distraction, Cassandra (Adams), to keep all the boys away from her. Advertising representatives Peachy Keane (Rooney) and Ricky (Hickman) arrive on the beach to pick an all American girl for their ad campaign with B.D. MacPherson (Donlevy) to change the image of motorcycles, and Ricky falls for Dee Dee.

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Carroll Baker: An interview on “Baby Doll” and Hollywood’s studio days

Carroll Baker will be attending a screening of “Baby Doll” (1956) this weekend, Saturday, Aug. 17, in Winston-Salem, NC through the RiverRun Retro film series. Following the film, Ms. Baker will be interviewed by film historian Foster Hirsch. Learn more about how to get tickets.

Today, Ms. Baker is retired from films and is now an author. Her fourth book, Who Killed Big Al?, was published this May.

I interviewed Ms. Baker on the phone about her career and upcoming appearance:

Comet Over Hollywood:
Have you ever done anything with River Run Film before?

Carroll Baker:
My daughter has. Um, she, she does the short films with her students. She’s an acting teacher. She went to the festival (River Run International Film Festival) last year, and I think she’ll go again this year. Then Rob came to New York. And then he came up with this incredible thing of doing, uh, and evening with just me. They do wonderful stuff. So the screening will be of “Baby Doll” and then Foster Hirsch, a film historian, will interview me, and we will talk about my new book, “Who Killed Big Al?”

Comet Over Hollywood:
I had some questions about your career that I was going to ask. So we’ll start kind of at the beginning of it all. What made you get into acting? What interested you about the craft?

Actress Carroll Baker in the 1950s

Carroll Baker:
Well, you know, this is a long story. My mother and father had divorced, and I was living with my father in Pennsylvania. We didn’t have very much money. And when I graduated from high school, I was working in a factory. All my girlfriends had gone to university. The boy I was in love with went to university. And, and I said to myself, “I’m just not going to be stuck in this small town working in a factory.”

Because of my mother, I had taken dancing lessons. So when I was off work, I would go to our attic, which had a wooden floor. I used to tap, tap, tap and follow Ann Miller’s routines. So then my mother said, “Well, why don’t you come for a while and stay in Florida with me?” Well, that was terrific, because in Florida they have every conceivable club, like the Lions Club. And I got my first engagement there dancing. I earned $20. I kept getting dancing engagements and went to beauty contests.

We went to Daytona Beach and there was an International Convention of Magicians. There was this one magician, named Burling Hull and he called himself the Great Volta. So He was retired, and he didn’t have an assistant. He said, “I’m inventing acts now, and I’ve invented an act that’s just for a woman. It’s the magic jewel act.” So I went to stay with he and his wife and practiced really hard. And learned how to do this magic act. And this ties me into North Carolina! I was booked on Kemp Time, which was one of the last vestiges of vaudeville. It was a western show. Everybody famous you could think of was in it, like Elvis Presley. Virginia Mayo did her act with Pansy the Horse.

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Musical Monday: Show Boat (1936)

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:
Show Boat (1936) – Musical #78

Studio: Universal Pictures

Director: James Whale

Starring:
Irene Dunne, Allan Jones, Charles Winninger, Helen Westley, Helen Morgan, Paul Robeson, Queenie Smith, Donald Cook, Sammy White, Hattie McDaniel, Marilyn Knowlden, Sunnie O’Dea, Arthur Hohl, J. Farrell MacDonald, Francis X. Mahoney, Clarence Muse, Eddie Rochester Anderson (uncredited), Dennis O’Keefe (uncredited), Barbara Pepper (uncredited), Bobs Watson (uncredited), Delmar Watson (uncredited),

Plot:
Set in the 1880s, the Cotton Palace Show Boat travels from town to town to perform. When the show’s leading lady Julie LaVerne (Morgan) is told to leave because of a case of miscegenation, or an interracial relationship, Capt. Andy (Winninger) and his wife (Westley) have to find a new leading man and leading lady. Their daughter Magnolia (Dunne) takes the part and a gambler Gaylord Ravenal (Jones) is hired. The two fall in love and are married, against Magnolia’s parent’s wishes. The couple moves to Chicago and lives off of Gaylord’s gambling success, which is short-lived.

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Musical Monday: Ship Ahoy (1942)

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:
Ship Ahoy – Musical #204

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Edward Buzzell

Starring:
Eleanor Powell, Red Skelton, Bert Lahr, Virginia O’Brien, William Post Jr., Stuart Crawford, John Emery, James Cross, Eddie Hartman, Philip Ahn (uncredited), Moroni Olsen (uncredited), Mary Treen (uncredited), Grant Withers (uncredited), Bobby Larson (uncredited), Addison Richards (uncredited)
Himself: Tommy Dorsey, Ziggy Elman, Buddy Rich, Frank Sinatra, Connie Haines, The Pied Pipers,

Plot:
Tommy Dorsey’s (himself) nightclub act, starring dancer Tallulah Winters (Powell), is sent to Puerto Rico to perform. Before boarding the cruise ship that night, Tallulah is approached by men who say they are government agents and ask her to take a powerful magnetic mine to South America. The agents end up being spies and got the idea to approach Tallulah from a comic book story written by Merton Kibble (Skelton), who is also on the cruise ship with his assistant, Skip Owens (Lahr). Skip wanted to take the trip because he is in love with performer Fran (O’Brien), while Merton falls for Tallulah. Allied agents are on the ship as well to try and intercept the mine before it gets in enemy hands.

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Musical Monday: Summer Stock (1950)

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:
Summer Stock (1950) – Musical #9

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director: Charles Walters

Starring:
Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Gloria DeHaven, Phil Silvers, Marjorie Main, Carleton Carpenter, Eddie Bracken, Ray Collins, Hans Conreid, Nita Bieber, Carol Haney (uncredited), Johnny Duncan (uncredited), Michael Chapin (uncredited), Bunny Waters (uncredited), Almira Sessions (uncredited

Plot:
Jane Falbury (Garland) runs her family farm. Her peaceful daily life is disrupted when her sister Abigail (DeHaven) returns home to the farm accompanied by an acting troupe. Abigail and the group’s director Joe Ross (Kelly) are in love, and the show has to be a hit for the two to be married. Jane agrees that the actors can stay at the farm and rehearse if they Jane’s fiancé Orville (Bracken) disapproves of showbusiness and wants the actors to leave. Jane also finds that she is falling in love with Joe.

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Watching 1939: At the Circus (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:  “At the Circus” (1939)
Musical No. 611

Release date:  Oct. 20, 1939

Cast: 
Groucho Marx, Chico Marx, Harpo Marx, Kenny Baker, Florence Rice, Eve Arden, Margaret Dumont, Nat Pendleton, James Burke, Fritz Feld, Jerry Maren (as Jerry Marenghi), Dudley Dickerson

Studio:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:  Edward Buzzell

Plot:
Jeff Wilson (Baker) runs a circus and has been disinherited by his wealthy aunt (Dumont). When Jeff’s circus finally turns a profit, he plans to marry performer Julie Randall (Rice), but some of the other performers steal the money. Circus performers Antonio Pirelli (Chico Marx) and Punchy (Harpo Marx) hire lawyer Loophole (Groucho Marx) to try to find the money and save the circus.

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Musical Monday: Strike Me Pink (1936)

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:
Strike Me Pink – Musical #607

Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Company

Director: Norman Taurog

Starring:
Eddie Cantor, Ethel Merman, Sally Eilers, Harry Parke (billed as Parkyakarkus), William Frawley, Brian Donlevy, Jack LaeRue, Dona Drake (billed as Rita Rio), Helen Lowell, Gordon Jones, Sunnie O’Dea, Edward Brophy, Charles C. Wilson, Theresa Harris (uncredited), Dennis O’Keefe (uncredited), Mickey Daniels (uncredited)
Featuring: The Goldwyn Girls (including Jinx Falkenburg, Joan Barclay, Harriett De Busman, Dorothy Dugan, Gail Goodson, Mary Gwynne, Carol Hughes, Kay Hughes, Elaine Johnson, Charlotte Russell, Gail Sheridan, Marcia Sweet, Anya Taranda, Vicki Vann, Blanca Vischer)

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