Musical Monday: Private Buckaroo (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:
Private Buckaroo (1942) – Musical #627

Universal Studios

Edward F. Cline

Themselves: The Andrews Sisters (Patty Andrews, Maxene Andrews, Laverne Andrews), Harry James and his Music Makers, Helen Forrest, The Jivin’ Jacks and Jills
Stars: Dick Foran, Joe E. Lewis, Ernest Truex, Jennifer Holt, Shemp Howard, Richard Davies, Mary Wickes, Donald O’Connor, Peggy Ryan, Huntz Hall, Susan Levine, Sidney Miller (uncredited), Addison Richards (uncredited), Tommy Rall (uncredited), Gene O’Donnell (uncredited)

Famed trumpet player Harry James (himself) is drafted at the start of World War II. His fellow nightclub performer, Lon Prentice (Foran), wants to enlist in the Army but keeps getting declined as 4F for flat feet. Lon finally is accepted into the Army, but at basic training, Lon doesn’t feel he needs to participate in military training.

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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


Edward Buzzell

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

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.

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Musical Monday: Do You Love Me? (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 500. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.

do-you-love-me-movie-poster-1946-1020705247This week’s musical:
“Do You Love Me” –Musical #511

Twentieth Century Fox

Gregory Ratoff

Maureen O’Hara, Dick Hyams, Harry James, Reginard Gardiner, Richard Gaines, Lex Barker (uncredited)
Cameo: Betty Grable appears uncredited as James’ fan in a taxi cab.

Conservative Katherine Hilliard (O’Hara) is dean of a stuffy music school, following in her father’s footsteps, and is allergic to popular music. She is engaged to her similarly stuffy colleague Ralph (Gaines). Katherine takes a trip to New York to plan with her composer colleague Herbert Benham (Gardiner) about the upcoming spring music festival. On her way to New York, Katherine meets trumpet player Barry Clayton (James) who insults her by saying she is too stuffy to appreciate popular music. After relaying this to Herbert, he encourages her to loosen up and have fun. Katherine takes her advice, catching the attention of Barry and crooner Jimmy Hale (Haymes).

Dick Haymes, Maureen O'Hara, Harry James in "Do You Love Me."

Dick Haymes, Maureen O’Hara, Harry James in “Do You Love Me.”

-Maureen O’Hara called this “The worst picture I ever made,” in her autobiography “Tis Herself.”
-Produced by George Jessel
-Betty Grable, who was married to Harry James at the time, makes a cameo as a fan of his.

-Fashion show shopping montage of outfits.
-Betty Grable’s cameo at the end of the film.

Notable Songs:
-“St. Louis Blues” performed by Harry James and his band
-“Do You Love Me” performed by Dick Haymes
-“Moonlight Propoganda” performed by Dick Haymes

My Review:
Though I know Maureen O’Hara said this was the worst film of her career, but I had a great time watching this film.
The plot isn’t substantial and fairly predictable. It is the usual but fun 1930s or 1940s plot of a conservative teacher coming from a stuffy college and eventually letting her hair down and having fun. It may not be O’Hara’s best performance, but it is fun and has some great music if you like big band.
For me the two biggest highlights:
1. Seeing O’Hara and her glorious film wardrobe in Technicolor. I’m a sucker for film fashion and movie makerovers and I enjoyed seeing her transformation from teacher to glamour girl. This film also features a highlight for any lover of vintage clothing: a scene where the main actress goes shopping at an upscale store and multiple gowns are modeled for her.
2. Hearing bandleader and trumpeter Harry James perform. It’s a highlight to see big band leaders of the time in classic films. It gives you a good feel of what was popular and music at that time, and you also get to see these performers talking and in person rather than just hearing them on a recording.
The biggest highlight was a cameo by Betty Grable at the end as a fan of Harry James. Betty Grable was one of Fox’s top stars and she and James were married at the time. It was a witty and adorable comedic moment. The brief scene is similar to any joke in a contemporary film or TV show that tied in a pop culture or current event reference.
I would also be remiss if I did not mention Reginald Gardiner’s role in this as O’Hara’s colleague and friend. Gardiner is the one who encourages O’Hara’s character to literally let down her hair and have fun for once. Whether he is playing a snob, a cad or the humorous best friend, Gardiner’s characters are always a delight.
“Do You Love Me?” was down right fun with some geniune laugh out loud moments. If you have the opportunity to see this film and are looking for a colorful way to brighten your day, I encourage you to do so.

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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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Happy 4th of July, Pilgrim

Today we celebrate the birth of America. I thought about what makes me think “Now that’s America” when I watch old movies. Here are a few things that I thought of:

John Wayne looking VERY attractive in “Stagecoach” (1939).

John Wayne: What other actor is so widely known and associated with America? His roles are usually a cowboy or a soldier. My favorite role of his is from “They Were Expendable” which is probably one of the best World War 2 movies along with “Battleground.”
Many of my friends and others have criticized John Wayne as always playing the same role, or playing himself. I personally don’t see the issue with this when so many of today’s actors like Katherine Hegel or Jennifer Aniston play the same role over and over again. The only difference is John Wayne played meaningful, strong and manly roles while those actresses are always dizzy, confused dames. To me, John All-America actor. He even played football in college, what could be more American than that?

Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones and Shirley Temple in my favorite movie, “Since You Went Away” (1944)

The 1940s: Another thing that embodies America is the 1940s war era. I suppose I am a bit romantic about patriotism because I crave a patriotism that no longer exists. During World War II, men were willing to fight for the country and those on the home front who couldn’t fight did all they could to help out. Victory Gardens were grown, cooking grease was saved and sent to the military, women sacrificed their silk stockings and painted their legs. People gave up daily luxuries that people today would refuse to give up.

LIFE magazine: LIFE magazine used to be the top publication. I can’t think of a magazine published today that can compare to LIFE. It showed the world the truth about war, the current fashions and let them in on celebrity lives. Even more so, it was a magazine that was started to revolve around photo journalism. It has some of the best photos and photographers like Robert Capa who showed us what war really was.

Harry James in “Best Foot Foward”

Other things:
-Pin-Up girls: Betty Grable, Esther Williams or Rita Hayworth. They all had sex appeal, but that same attainable, girl next door quality.
-Big Band music: No one can play a trumpet better than Harry James and Tommy Dorsey always seemed like one of the most likeable fellows. Glenn Miller even died while he was flying to a USO show during World War II.-Irving Berlin: Jerome Kern once said, “Irving Berlin has no place in American music, he is American music.” The man wrote “White Christmas”, “Cheek to Cheek” and “Putin’ on the Ritz”, who else can you say that about?

Also happy birthday to: Louis B. Mayer, George M. Cohan, George Murphy, Gloria Stewart, Eva Marie Saint and Stephen Boyd.

Happy 4th of July!

Ziegfeld girls in 1936

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