A horse is a good clean animal, says Betty Grable 2

Dance · Film · Music
Check out Betty Grable in “Meet Me After the Show” (1951): Dancing in silhouette, on the platform: Jack Cole, who staged the number. Paired with Cole for a dance-y horse race is the choreographer’s muse and assistant Gwen Verdon. This we learn from the horse’s mouth … er… from Academy of Dance on Film founder ...

Remembering Marilyn

Film
A sad memorial looms this year, the 50th anniversary of the tragic death of Marilyn Monroe, who died of an overdose to barbiturates in August 1962. I recently enjoyed two well made documentaries about Monroe. The Legend of Marilyn Monroe  1966, 16 format, b/w, 53 min, dir Terry Sanders Cast: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lee ...

Jack Cole rocks Rita Hayworth’s world in “Tonight and Every Night” (1945) 1

Dance · Film
The ditty she sings is inane (remember, it was the War!) and the costume is not her greatest. But Rita Hayworth does her thing prettily enough. Life changes when a monster-dancer joins her on stage — Jack Cole. Choreographers: Pay attention @ 1:43.  That is how to make an entrance — sliding in on your ...

Marie Bryant put a bun in Betty Grable’s oven 5

Dance · Film
The silken jazz dancer, Marie Bryant (1919-1978), seen here jiving with the great Harold Nicholas, was, for a time, rehearsal assistant to Jack Cole. That’s interesting. Cole’s performance group was all white. It wouldn’t be otherwise. But he clearly relied on Bryant for special tasks. Asked what she did for Jack Cole, Bryant replied,  “I ...

Dueling bio-pics: right-wing ladies on parade

Film
While delighting in Meryl Streep’s microscopic replication of Margaret Thatcher’s facial tics and bug-eyed pronouncements in “The Iron Lady,” do not neglect a prior film, “The Reagans,” which stars the great Aussie actress, Judy Davis. “The Reagans,” a hugely fun, educational and entertaining docu-drama, dates from 2003. The massively ambitious undertaking, a made-for-television movie, traces ...

John Singer Sargent dresses Rita Hayworth for “Put the Blame on Mame” 2

Dance · Fashion · Film
“The designer Jean Louis, supposedly inspired by John Singer Sargent‘s famous portrait of the décolleté Madame X, created for Miss Hayworth a fetishistic black satin strapless gown, with elbow-length gloves, and the dance director Jack Cole devised the strip-tease routine in which she flung those gloves to her audience. The director, Vidor, expected the filming ...

Quiz: Find Tippi Hedren in the photo 1

Film
It was quite a moment, on TCM Classic Cruise, when the stars & celebs gathered on deck for the launch of the Celebrity “Millenium,” … and out waltzed Tippi Hedren, beyond fabulous in a zebra-striped cruise outfit. Tippi just pops out of this fun foto, which also features Ernest Borgnine, Eva Marie Saint, Robert Osborne, ...

To Palm Desert to see Janet Jackson

Music
After a weird and crazy night of windstorms in Los Angeles, we’re departing power-free Los Feliz and heading into the sandstorms of the California desert, east of Palm Springs. An amazing experience awaits us; we’re seeing Janet Jackson perform in a very small and intimate space, the McCallum Theatre of Palm Desert. Stay tuned to ...

Let’s learn about marvelous Myrna Loy

Film
Very much looking forward to an upcoming “Evening at the Barn” program  … it’s a book talk concerning the gorgeous Myrna Loy. Loy projected such an interesting persona — I want to learn how the super-sophisticate, Nora Charles, evolved out of a woman born in Helena, Montana. In my next life, for your information, I ...

Michael Jackson visited Martha Graham studio 2

Dance · Music
“And then he’d have to go back to whatever he’d go back to. And it just went wrong. Who knows what happened?” Michael Jackson lived the life he lived. He navigated a tangle of destiny and choice, as do we all. Jackson was born into a certain family, a certain fate, and he was a ...