JOE BLITMAN'S
FASHION & CELEBRITY DOLLS
2019 HOLIDAY ADVENT CALENDAR
DAY 5




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323-953-6490

 
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When On The Town opened at Radio City Music Hall in December, 1949, it broke all existing house records for attendance. 

At one point on one day during Christmas week, 10,000 people were on line (a line that extended for 7 city blocks).  This means the last person in line would be waiting out in the cold for about 6 hours before finding a seat… and warmth.  


Co-directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen,




the film starred Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Ann Miller, Betty Garrett and Vera-Ellen.
 




On The Town was the first major musical to film partly on location in New York City.   As you can see in the movie’s exhilarating opening number, “New York, New York,” the male stars were filmed in over 20 locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. 






And where they went, mobs followed.  (Sinatra-mania was at its peak at the time.)  The final sequence in the "New York, New York" number was shot at the skating rink in Rockefeller Center.  Check out the huge crowd along the railing in the background, ogling Sinatra and friends lip-synching to a blaring playback of the song.



MGM bought the film rights to the Broadway musical On The Town
(for $250,000) before it opened and before studio head Louis B. Mayer saw the show or heard the score. 





When he did see the show, he hated it, especially Leonard Bernstein’s score, which was considered avant-garde at the time.  



Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green

When MGM made the film 4 years later, most of Bernstein’s score was jettisoned in favor of a studio-dictated score that included this energetic title number
:

On the Town


Although Gene Kelly had a bigger part than the other leads, all got a chance to shine.  Here is Ann Miller’s solo, “Prehistoric Man,” featuring what she called “Hollywood’s most expensive back-up chorus":


Pre-Historic Man


The only cast member of the Broadway On The Town show to repeat in the movie was Alice Pearce, here making her film debut (and years before fame as Gladys Kravitz on the tv show Bewitched).  She joins five of the leads in "You Can Count on Me" (one of only four songs in the film with Bernstein music):


You Can Count on Me


Betty Garrett plays an amorously-aggressive cab driver in On The Town.   She had been in a string of hits at MGM, but her film career came to a screeching halt when it was revealed that her husband, actor Larry Parks, had once been a member of the Communist Party.  She didn’t appear onscreen again until 1955.  In this number she comically puts the moves on Sinatra:


Come Up to My Place


Gene Kelly loved to put dance ballets in his movies, and On The Town is no exception.  Here’s the last part of “A Day in New York” (which merely recapped - in dance - what the audience had just spent 90 minutes watching).

Although Kelly and Vera-Ellen dance in this number, professional dancers take the place of Sinatra, Munshin, Miller (who was not at all balletic) and Garrett.

The lady dancer in yellow is Jeanne Coyne.  At the time she was married to co-director Stanley Donen.  A decade later, she married the other co-director, Gene Kelly.


A Day in New York


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FRANCIE & HER
MOD, MOD, MOD, MOD
WORLD OF FASHION
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DOUBLE AGENTS
POPPY PARKER & TINA TANIKA
GIFT SET
NRFB
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1967 JAPANESE EXCLUSIVE
BARBIE OUTFIT #2628
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BLACK ENCHANTMENT
SILKSTONE BARBIE OUTFIT
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OVERSIZED ZIPPERED BAG
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1966 BLOND COLOR MAGIC BARBIE
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GIFT CERTIFICATES
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Radio City Music Hall Trivia for Today:


There have been a few Rockettes who went on to be famous.  Among them:

Lucille Bremer (who played Judy Garland’s older sister in Meet Me In St. Louis and co-starred opposite Fred Astaire in Ziegfeld Follies and Yolanda and the Thief:





1962's Miss America, Maria Beale Fletcher: 






and, most famously, Vera-Ellen, who starred in today’s movie, On The Town:




Vera-Ellen went to dancing school at the age 10 (one of her classmates at the Hessler Studio of Dancing in Cincinnati, Ohio, was Doris Day): 





She landed on Broadway (briefly) at 18 and quickly segued into being one of the youngest Rockettes.  

And one of the youngest EX-Rockettes. 

Vera-Ellen always danced a little exaggeratedly, so as to get the audience to pay attention to her.  Repeatedly warned to dance in unison, she seemed incapable of obeying, so she got fired after only a few months as a Rockette. 

She went on to more Broadway shows, then a decade-long Hollywood career (twice opposite Kelly, twice opposite Fred Astaire, and the role for which she is most remembered - Rosemary Clooney’s sister in White Christmas:







Merry Christmas


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JOE BLITMAN'S
FASHION & CELEBRITY DOLLS

 
 

323-953-6490

  
   
joeblitman@aol.com