Rare Musicals on TCM: May 2014

Well, I thought I’d been doing okay on my DVR-ed titles (I’m down to about four!), but it looks like this month is going to be a bit of a challenge! There were a few titles here where the plot itself didn’t sound like a particularly necessary watch for me, but for some reason, this month we’re getting a bunch of those dang musical revues MGM loves so much, which always go and feature some of my favorite stars… thus necessitating a spot in the DVR. (By “dang” I mean I, of course, love them.) TCM is also featuring a few musical stars for their daily spotlights, which add up to a good day for us musical fans.

Thursday, May 1

6:00am / The Cat and the Fiddle (1934)

7:30am / The Firefly (1937)

10:00am / Sweethearts (1938)

12:00pm / Maytime (1937)

Jeanette MacDonald day on TCM! It’s a crime her films aren’t more widely distributed, but TCM does their continuous public service by paying tribute to her. Today, she’s paired with Ramon Novarro, Allan Jones, and, of course, Nelson Eddy.

Friday, May 2

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Louis Armstrong’s “Skeletons in the Closet” number from Pennies from Heaven

7:45am / Going Hollywood (1933)

Bing Crosby day on TCM, AND a That’s Entertainment entry for me? Perfect! This one finds Marion Davies posing as a maid to catch Crosby, playing a famous singer, with Fifi D’Orsay as her romantic rival and a scene-stealing Patsy Kelly.

9:15am / Pennies From Heaven (1936)

Crosby again, this time as an ex-con who promises to make good on a fellow inmate’s request to help the family he had wronged. Features a young Louis Armstrong, and Bing’s original rendition of the classic title song.

Monday, May 12

12:15am / The I Don’t Care Girl (1953)

Mitzi Gaynor day! Here she plays vaudeville star Eva Tanguay, in a kind of faux-documentary, behind-the-scenes at her life and memories.

1:45am / Mitzi: Tribute to the American Housewife (1974)

Mitzi hosts a musical spectacular to pay tribute to the American housewife, featuring Ted Knight, Jerry Orbach, Suzanne Pleshette, and others, as guests. I have no idea what this is but I’m taping it so I guess I’ll find out.

2:45am / Golden Girl (1951)

Mitzi as Lotta Crabtree, a teenage singer in California during the Civil War.

Wednesday, May 14

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Powell and Ball look thrilled to be here, Meet the People

12:15am / Meet the People (1944)

Riches to rags to riches tale, as Lucille Ball plays an actress attempting to revitalize her career by working in a shipyard. There, she meets a worker played by Dick Powell with stage aspirations of his own.

Thursday, May 15

7:30am / Till The Clouds Roll By (1946)

Biopic musical revue of the life of Jerome Kern, featuring appearances by June Allyson, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Van Johnson, Dinah Shore, Cyd Charisse, Angela Lansbury, Gower Champion, Frank Sinatra, and many more. A mini-rendition of Show Boat features Lena Horne in the role that always should have been hers.

11:15pm / Up In Arms (1944)

Danny Kaye’s first feature film, playing a hypochondriac in the army with Dinah Shore at his side.

Friday, May 16

10:00am / It’s a Date (1940)

Now that’s some real deja vu—this played last month, alongside its remake! I haven’t watched it yet, but it’s Denna Durbin and Kay Francis as a mother-daughter pair vying for the same man and the same role. Happy Mother’s Day!

Wednesday, May 21

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Allison and DeHaven in Two Girls and a Sailor

8:30am / Radio City Revels (1938)

Fluffy film about a composer who can only write music while he’s asleep. The entirety of this film’s Wikipedia page is a notation that it lost $300,000, so there’s seems to not be a huge, lurking fanbase.

8:00pm / Two Girls and a Sailor (1944)

June Allyson and Gloria DeHaven as sisters at a wartime canteen, both vying for Navy man Van Johnson. The canteen setting offers a great excuse for parading in stars like Gracie Allen and Lena Horne.

Thursday, May 22

7:00am / Thousands Cheer (1943)

That’s Entertainment-featured Gene Kelly musical! He plays a soldier/acrobat in love with the officer’s daughter, played by Kathryn Grayson. Last 40 minutes or so is a big revue featuring Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Red Skelton, Eleanor Powell, Ann Sothern, Lucille Ball, Virginia O’Brien, Lena Horne, and more…

Friday, May 23

11:00am / Kid Nightingale (1939)

John Payne as a waiter who knocks out a customer, and is subsequently offered a prizefighting deal as “Kid Nightingale,” the singing boxer.

Tuesday, May 27

5:00pm / Deep in My Heart (1954)

Jose Ferrer as composer Sigmund Romberg, with guest production numbers featuring Rosemary Clooney, Gene and Fred Kelly, Jane Powell, Cyd Charisse, Vic Damone, Ann Miller, Howard Keel…

Boy meets girl meets boy meets girl meets boy meets girl in Hit the Deck

Boy meets girl meets boy meets girl meets boy meets girl in Hit the Deck

Wednesday, May 28

6:00pm / Hit the Deck (1955)

If you haven’t picked up the brand new Blu-ray from Warner Archive yet, take this fun musical for a test run here! A trio of sailors on leave pick up a trio of girls with lots of big, musical fun along the way.

10:00pm / The Opposite Sex (1956)

Breezy musical remake of The Women starring June Allyson, Joan Collins, Dolores Gray, Ann Sheridan, and Ann Miller, and, scandalously, some men as well! So not a totally faithful remake, I suppose.

12:00am / Music for Millions (1944)

June Allyson as a pregnant cellist in Jose Iturbi’s band awaiting the return of her husband from the war. Margaret O’Brien plays her younger sister, and Jimmy Durante is featured too.

Thursday, May 29

7:30am / Two Sisters From Boston (1946)

Kathryn Grayson and June Allyson as… two sisters from Boston! (Based on this month’s programming, Allyson really seemed to find sisterhood as a specialty.) They find work in Jimmy Durante’s saloon while they look for work on the stage.

9:30am / Old Man Rhythm (1935)

Old man George Barbier goes back to college to keep an eye on his playboy son, Charles Buddy Rogers, alongside classmates Betty Grable and Johnny Mercer.

1:00pm / Sons O’ Guns (1936)

Joe E. Brown as a song-and-dance man in the army during World War 1, romancing a French Joan Blondell and getting caught in espionage-related shenanigans.

2:30pm / To Beat the Band (1936)

Jazzy musical featuring the swing tune “Eeney Meeney Miney Mo,” with Hugh Herbert as a bachelor searching for a wife, as the terms of inheriting his deceased aunt’s fortune hingers on this clause. Helen Broderick and Phyllis Brooks are his top contenders.

3:45pm / Hitting A New High (1937)

An enterprising Jack Oakie tries to pass off soprano Lily Pons as an exotic Ooga Hunga the Bird Girl.

Categories: Television

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