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:
The Benny Goodman Story (1956) – Musical #331
Steve Allen, Donna Reed, Herbert Anderson, Sammy Davis Sr., Dick Winslow, Berta Gersten, Barry Truex, Robert F. Simon
Themselves: Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Teddy Wilson, Ben Pollack, Kid Ory, Martha Tilton, Harry James, Babe Russin, Allan Reuss
This is a biographical film on clarinet player Benny Goodman (Allen). The film follows Goodman as a child when he learns the clarinet and becomes interested in jazz and swing music. Goodman struggles with gaining interest in “hot” music, especially in New York City. Many prefer classical music, including Alice Hammond (Reed), who is interested in Benny Goodman but isn’t sure about his music. Alice and Benny have a romance, but with his busy music schedule and his skeptical mother, it’s hard for the two to be together.
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:
Swing Hostess (1944)– Musical #574
Producers Releasing Corporation
Martha Tilton, Iris Adrian, Charles Collins, Cliff Nazarro, Harry Holman, Emmett Lynn, Betty Brodel
Jive singer Judy Alvin (Tilton) is having a hard time finding a job. She gets a job as a telephone operator for jukeboxes (people pick up a phone and give their song request). Judy cuts a record and it gets confused with acquaintance (and terrible singer) Phoebe Forbes (Brodel) who rides to success on Judy’s voice.
-One of the few films where Martha Tilton acts and isn’t just a specialty singer
-Actress Betty Brodel who is in the film is Joan Leslie’s sister
-Seeing Martha Tilton in a film
-“Got An Invitation” performed by Martha Tilton
-“Say It With Love” performed by Martha Tilton
-“Let’s Capture That Moment” performed by Martha Tilton
As a lover of big band music, Martha Tilton is one of my favorite girl singers of the 1940s. “Swing Hostess” is a small-time B-film but it’s also one of the few opportunities you can see her acting in a film, other than popping in as a specialty singer.
The storyline for “Swing Hostess” isn’t remarkable or new, but it’s fun and cute. It’s also set in my favorite time period: World War II era 1940s. So it’s filled with big band music. While the war isn’t mentioned very much, one of the main characters is drafted into the Army and Martha Tilton sings that he “Got An Invitation” (to be drafted).
Charles Collins talks to a jukebox hostess
Also the most intriguing part is the jukebox technology. Before watching this film, I didn’t realize that patrons were able to pick up a phone and talk to a hostess on the other end who would put a record on. That is Martha Tilton’s job in this film.
Martha Tilton isn’t an amazing actress, but what she doesn’t have in acting, she makes up for in voice. Also Iris Adrian is there for comedic value.
If you love 1940s films and big band music, check out this film. Bonus points: It’s only 76 minutes!