About Jnpickens

Classic film lover and reporter in North Carolina.

Musical Monday: Freddie Steps Out (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:
Freddie Steps Out (1946) – Musical #478

freddie steps out

Studio:
Monogram Pictures

Director:
Arthur Dreifuss

Starring:
The Teenagers: Freddie Stewart, June Preisser, Jackie Moran, Noel Neill, Anne Rooney, Warren Mills, Ray Dolciame
Baby: Terry Lee Carlson
Adults: Milton Kibbee, Belle Mitchell, Edythe Elliott, Murray Davis, Douglas Fowley, Claire James
Themselves: Neta Geddes, Chuy Reyes and his Orchestra, Charlie Barnet and his Orchestra

Plot:
Crooner Frankie Troy (Stewart) is fed up with show business and disappears. High school student Freddie Trimball (also Stewart) is the spitting image of Troy, so Freddie’s friends try to get the disappearance reward money by taking advantage of the likeness. Frankie has a wife and baby, and when his baby gets dumped on Freddie and his friends, trouble ensues.

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Summer Movie Classics: An interview with John Malahy

Even as summer winds down, I’m still grasping to the last few weeks of summer until the fall season begins at the end of September.

Reading “Summer Movies: 30 Sun-Drenched Classics” by John Malahy is the perfect read to keep the summer feeling. Malahy highlights quintessential summer films, from MOON OVER MIAMI (1941) and GIDGET (1959) to JAWS (1975); each putting you in the sun and sand mood regardless of the weather.

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Watching 1939: Back Door to Heaven (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.

back door to heaven1939 film:
Back Door to Heaven (1939)

Release date:
April 19, 1939

Cast:
Wallace Ford, Aline MacMahon, Jimmy Lydon, Stuart Erwin, Van Heflin, Patricia Ellis, Iris Adrian, Kent Smith, Anita Magee, Bert Frohman, William Redfield, Raymond Roe, Georgette Harvey, Bruce Evans, William Harrigan, Jane Seymour

Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Director:
William K. Howard

Plot:
Frankie Rogers (Lydon as child, Ford as adult) had a tough upbringing and his grade school teacher Miss Williams (MacMahon) is the only one who believed in him. After his grade school graduation, Frankie is sent to reform school and then continues to move in and out of prison. When he’s released with two of his prison mates (Stuart, Frohman), Frankie returns back home to find things changed and that his criminal past is never far behind him.

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Musical Monday: Junior Prom (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:
Junior Prom (1946) – Musical #676

junior prom

Studio:
Monogram Pictures

Director:
Arthur Dreifuss

Starring:
The Teen Agers: Freddie Stewart, June Preisser, Judy Clark, Jackie Moran, Noel Neill, Anne Rooney, Warren Mills, Harry ‘The Hipster’ Gibson
Adults: Milton Kibbee, Belle Mitchell, Mira McKinney, Murray Davis, Charles Evans
Themsleves: Eddie Heywood, Abe Lyman

Plot:
Freddie Trimball (Stewart) is the logical choice for student body president of Whitney High School. But when the father of Jimmy Forrest (Moran) promises new football uniforms if Jimmy wins, the students — and school staff — are more interested in backing him for president. The school election also puts the Rogers sisters at odds when Dodie (Preisser) and Addie (Clark) back Freddie. But Betty (Neill), who is the editor of the newspaper, backs Jimmy in her school paper—especially when she’s wooed by his pal Roy (Darro).

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Watching 1939: Convict’s Code (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.

Convict's-Code-1939-Poster1939 film:
Convict’s Code (1939)

Release date:
Jan. 18, 1939

Cast:
Robert Kent, Anne Nagel, Sidney Blackmer, Victor Kilian, Norman Willis, Maude Eburne, Ben Alexander, Pat Flaherty, Harry Strang

Studio:
Monogram Pictures Corp.

Director:
Lambert Hillyer

Plot:
Former football hero Dave Tyler (Kent) was just released after serving a stretch in jail for a crime he was framed for. When he’s released on parole, he is determined to find who framed him and prove his innocence. All the while he’s working for Gregory Warren (Blackmer) at an investment firm who may know something about Tyler’s arrest.

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Musical Monday: Sing You Sinners (1938)

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.

sing you sinnersThis week’s musical:
Sing You Sinners (1938) – Musical #671

Studio:
Paramount Pictures

Director:
Wesley Ruggles

Starring:
Bing Crosby, Fred MacMurray, Donald O’Connor, Ellen Drew, Elizabeth Patterson, John Gallaudet, William Haade, Irving Bacon, Paul White, Tom Dugan, Chester Clute (uncredited), Gwen Kenyon (uncredited)

Plot:
The three Beebee brothers Joe (Crosby), Dave (MaCMurray) and Mike (O’Connor) live with their mother (Patterson). The brothers have a musical act, but don’t work steadily. Dave is the main contributor to the family as he works as a mechanic, and supporting his family keeps him from marrying Martha (Drew). Mike is young and Joe can’t hold a job. Realizing he’s holding the rest of his family back, Joe heads to California for a job … but instead gambles on holding a race horse.

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Review: Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection (1972)

One piece of the Gidget franchise has eluded me for a few years: the Hanna-Barbera produced cartoon “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection.”

That’s right. Not only did the Gidget character find herself on the silver screen, TV shows and movies, and in books, Gidget was also featured in cartoon-form.

gidget makes the wrong connection

Airing on the ABC Saturday Super Star Movie on Nov. 18, 1972, “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection” was one of “galaxy of famous personalities and characters from the realms of literature, sports, television, and motion pictures,” according to a Sept. 9, 1972 article.

Some of these included anything from baseball star Willie Mays, the Blondie comic strips, Tabitha from “Bewitched,” the Banana Splits, Lassie, Marlo Thomas as “That Girl,” and of course, Gidget.

The show aired on Saturday mornings and was geared towards children.

In Gidget’s animated story, after causing trouble in a marina, Gidget and her friends Rink and Jud sign up as a ship crew for a boat race to Mexico … or so they think. Really, the race is a ruse as the three adults onboard are smuggling gold.

Produced by Hanna-Barbera, is similar to other 1970s era Hanna-Barbera cartoon, as far as animation, voice talent, humor and storytelling go.

Gidget looks like she could be related to Daphne from Scooby Doo, and the sleuthing and antics may remind you a bit of Scooby Doo mysteries.

That said, it’s a silly, breezy and not unpleasant way to spend 45 minutes.

gidget makes4

The characters of Barbara and Ralph Hightower, voiced by Virginia Gregg and Mike Road.

The voice talent is fun. The snooty smugglers, Barbara and Ralph Hightower will remind you a bit of Mr. and Mrs. Howell from “Gilligan’s Island.” The two are voiced by Virginia Gregg and Mike Road. I swear Road is doing a Ronald Colman impression.

gidget makes2

The cartoon version of Gidget.

Kathy Gori voices Frances “Gidget” Lawrence in her first acting or voice acting gig. While in the movies and TV show, Gidget can be meddling, in the cartoon she’s meddling and also clumsy. The crew gets in all sorts of trouble, because of her “seventh sense” ideas. If I had to compare this Gidget characterization to any of the other franchises, I would compare it to Cindy Carroll in “Gidget Goes to Rome.” Also of note: Gidget doesn’t do any surfing in “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection.” But she’s still in the water, snorkeling and boating.

Gidget has new friends for the adventure, Jud and Rink, who were not previously characters in the movies. Sorry, no Moondoggie this time. Rink is voiced by Denny Evans and and Jud is voiced by David Lander of “Laverne and Shirley” fame.

gidget makes3

Rink, Gidget and Jud, voiced by Kathy Gori, Denny Evans, David L. Lander.

Bob Hastings and Don Messick also provided voice work on this cartoon.

The creation and air date is interesting for this Gidget installment. It aired 10 months after the Gidget TV movie, “Gidget Gets Married” (1972), where Gidget and Moondoggie get hitched. After Gidget made waves in the 1960s, this was the last hoorah of the franchise until the 1980s TV movie and television series reboot aired in 1985.

In 2017, I completed the Gidget series reviews with the exception of this one. I wasn’t able to find it anywhere, not online or being sold. Searching high and low, it wasn’t until a reader brought it to my attention that someone uploaded it online! (Thank you, Mike!) I will refrain from linking to it (I don’t want it to be taken down!), but a quick online search will help you find it.

Overall, “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection” isn’t the best installment of the franchise, but would be a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.

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

Musical Monday: Broadway to Hollywood (1933)

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:
Broadway to Hollywood – Musical #412

broadway to hollywood3

Studio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Director:
Willard Mack

Starring:
Alice Brady, Frank Morgan, Madge Evans, Russell Hardie, Jackie Cooper, Eddie Quillan, May Robson, Mickey Rooney, Jimmy Durante, Edward Brophy (uncredited), Nelson Eddy (uncredited), Curly Howard (uncredited), Moe Howard (uncredited), Frank Jenks (uncredited), Una Merkel (uncredited)

Plot:
The story of a vaudeville family, The Hacketts, and how their act changes as their child grows and vaudeville falls out of favor. Ted (Morgan) and Lulu (Brady) Hackett have a successful act, which later includes their son Ted Jr. (Cooper as child, Hardie as adult), and then later their grandson Ted III (Rooney as child, Quillan as dult). Ted and his son both are known for their carousing, which leads to tragedy in Ted Jr.’s life. Will Ted III follow in his father’s footsteps?

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Watching 1939: The Man Who Dared (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:
The Man Who Dared (1939)

man who dared

Release date:
April 4, 1939

Cast:
Jane Bryan, Henry O’Neill, Charley Grapewin, Johnny Russell, Elisabeth Risdon, James McCallion, Dickie Jones, Frederic Tozere, John Gallaudet, Grace Stafford, Tommy Bupp (uncredited)

Studio:
Warner Bros.

Director:
Crane Wilbur

Plot:
When their neighbors are killed in an explosion, the Carter family witnessed the event and can identify the criminals. When Matthew Carter (O’Neill) speaks to the police to try and identify them, his family faces consequences. The whole family refuses to speak in court for their own safety, but their grandfather (Grapewin) isn’t afraid to speak up — especially when one of their children is kidnapped.

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Musical Monday: Jamboree! (1957)

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.

jamboreeThis week’s musical:
Jamboree! (1957) – Musical #672

Studio:
Warner Bros.

Director:
Roy Lockwood

Starring:
Paul Carr, Freda Holloway, Kay Medford, Bob Pastene
Themselves:
Fats Domino, Frankie Avalon, Jerry Lee Lewis, Count Basie and His Orchestra, Jimmy Bowen, Buddy Knox, Charlie Gracie, Carl Perkins, The Four Coins, Jodie Sands, Louis Lymon and the Teenchords, Cauby Peixoto (as Ron Coby), Slim Whitman, Joe Williams
Deejays:
Dick Clark, Ed Bonner, Joe Finan, Milt Grant, Werner Goetze, Jocko Henderson, Jack Jackson, Chris Howland, Barry Kaye, Howard Miller, Gerry Myers, Jack Payne, Ray Perkins, Keith Sandy, Zenas Sears, Robin Seymour, Sandy Singer, Joe Smith, Dick Whittinghill

Plot:
Teen singers Honey Wynn (Holloway) and Pete Porter (Carr) aren’t doing well on their own. Their agents (Medford, Pastene) —who were previously married — hatch the idea that they should be a singing duo.

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