KISS Meets the Phantom of The Park (1978)

This entry is for the Pop Stars Blogathon (NOTE: KISS are ROCK stars, but this entry was deemed acceptable for the theme!) hosted by Real Weegie midget.

It’s almost as if I was destined to be a KISS fan, as I was born in 1996, the year KISS reunited with the original four- and officially became a fan in 1998, thanks to my Mom, a fan since the 70’s.

With the band currently on their, “End of the Road Final Tour Ever” (note- my Mom saw them on their 2000 “Farewell” tour… so…), I decided to review the 1978 made for TV movie: KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park aka KISS in Attack of the Phantoms in Europe. Their are slight differences to the versions, with the most noticeable difference for the Attack version being the inclusion of the band’s 1978 solo albums as part of the film’s soundtrack.

The plot of the movie is wacky, but it goes as so: Due to the KISS concert at Magic Mountain, engineer Abner Devereaux (Anthony Zerbe) is jealous because the band is stealing attention from his attractions. Once he is wrongly blamed for a ride breakdown, park manager Calvin Richards (Carmine Caridi) fires him. To get back at KISS, Devereaux mind controls park employee Sam (Terry Lester) to steal KISS’s magical talisman that give them superpowers. Meanwhile, Sam’s girlfriend Melissa (Deborah Ryan), is worried and after their show asks KISS for help to find Sam. But when a Gene Simmons clone wreaks havoc on the park, and KISS clones show up for their concert instead, while the real KISS is imprisoned and weakened; it’s up to KISS to escape, regain their powers, take down Devereaux and their clones, save Sam, and do it in time to put on the concert their fans deserve!!!

Many fans incuding myself, believe this to be an ultimate Rock-Star shot of the group

Originally described as A Hard Day’s Night meets Star Wars, there were many factors that initially made this movie seem like it would be the ultimate KISS fan’s dream: it was being filmed on location at Magic Mountain, it was backed by Hanna-Barbera productions, KISS was at the height of their popularity, PLUS a real concert attended by fans was going to be filmed and placed in the movie!!!!

However, behind the scenes, things were seriously going wrong. For one, none of the members of KISS could act, it showed, and the script went through countless rewrites, which, in turn translated to the screen. Secondly, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley were dealing with substance abuse; with Criss getting into a car accident with the band’s tour manager on the final day of filming (and true to his Catman ways, came through with minor injuries).

Then, there’s the obvious stunt doubles and of course, the now urban legend of Peter not showing up for ADR sessions resulting in the voice dubbing with Michael Bell. (I, as well as my Mom, personally believe Peter did some, as his voice can be heard in certain scenes, not counting the Beth scene. Just hear the line: “We’re just ordinary human beings” and THAT’S PETER!!!).

Production issues aside, the magic touch of this film certainly HAS to be the fact this movie is all about KISS. To see the original four playing at the concert is a real thrill and time capsule moment in KISSTORY. The music makes the movie in this case, with many songs from the band’s catalouge being used as well as in the Attack version, multiple songs from each of their individual 1978 solo albums (a highlight: Ace’s New York Groove being played during the second fight sequence: complete with Frehley flips!!!!).

Speaking as a KISS fan and a movie fan, I say this movie is still best (because you wanted the best!!!). So what if Paul Stanley’s “magic eye” laser looks fake- it’s only something he as the Starchild could pull off.  Gene Simmons’s voice was ridiculously altered to play up his Demon persona- but he makes it cool.  And even though Peter’s stunt double is especially noticeable – it’s still awesome to know the Catman has enhanced jumping abilities!!!

And of course I have to mention Ace’s ACK! (sorry Mom!! HAHAHA!) I think it’s hysterical and makes the movie extra legendary and funny! Only Space-Ace can make something so pointless and dumb so likable and iconic! It may have caused problems on set, as Ace was originally only supposed to say Ack! the whole movie- (he threatened to leave if real dialogue wasn’t written for him)- but it’s ironic because that’s what he would say in real life when writers were trying to write material around his personality.  

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The humming noise you hear is Beethoven’s Fifth

Today, the film is a real fan favorite and a true cult film. It’s just super fun for KISS fans, 1970’s film fans, and music fans alike to just enjoy the film for what it is: a cheesy, funny, entertaining film involving KISS.  I admit I was laughing- but in a lovable manner. Even KISS has gotten over the initial embarrassment (it being known that for years, KISS employees were not allowed to mention the film in any of the band’s members’ presence) with Ace later stating it was “tons of fun” to film. As my mom says, “This movie is so hokey, but I love it!!”

Farewell?! KISS! We’ll always have the Phantom (and your music… and the dvds… and the action figures… and all the other kollectibles! !!)

Key Largo (1948)

Key largo [1948] is best known for being the fourth and final pairing of legendary couple Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. It’s based off the play of the same name, telling a story of a hurricane trapping a dysfunctional group of people in a hotel. It may seem very archetypal by today’s standards, but it’s the group of actors playing the characters that gives way for repeated viewings. Co-starring Edward G. Robinson, Lionel Barrymore and Claire Trevor in an Oscar winning role, this film does have something for everyone- and provides a thrilling study in supporting characters.

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The first time I ever saw Key Largo, I didn’t care for it. I found it to be slightly over rated, and I didn’t particularly care for the characters. The one scene I found to be disjointed was when Edward G. Robinson’s Johnny Rocco kisses Nora Temple (Bacall), and that one specific scene set me on a path of believing this film is not for me.

However, after chatting about this film with a former teacher- turned friend of mine (our families are good friends), I realized this film actually isn’t all that bad- it’s just a very, very Bogart style film. When I say Bogart film, I mean it’s the type of film that you’d expect Bogart to be in. Everything about this film is tailored to being in Bogart’s taste: director John Huston, wife Lauren Bacall, co-star Edward G. Robinson, even the presence of his beloved boat and his love for the sea.

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And then we have scene stealer Claire Trevor, playing Gaye Dawn, whose performance of Moanin’ Low is in part what makes this film unforgettable. Trevor’s character is the most complex of them all, and I can see how she reminded audiences that she could still be a commanding presence on screen. No longer the leading lady, but 100% capturing your attention: she does exactly that and more in this movie.

You can’t help but cringe a little when you hear Gaye Dawn sing Moanin’ Low, but that’s exactly what you should be doing.  Its one of those so bad it’s good performances, and one you certainly cant look away from. Many believe that it was that scene alone  which secured Trevor’s Oscar win; and while I’m not sure about that, it’s absolutely iconic (and NOT lip synced).

Key Largo is one of of those movies where the supporting characters take over from the two leads. Yes- you know Bogie and Bacall will end up together, you of course root for them two. However, you wonder more about the side characters- What are Johnny Rocco’s real motives, what makes Gaye stay around him even though shes considered his “ex-moll”, and even Nora’s connection with father-in-law James is puzzling.

Overall, I myself am still coming to terms with how I receive Key Largo. It’s still not an all time favorite of mine, but I’m coming around to seeing the brilliance of it: and Claire Trevor is certainly a major part of that!

BE sure to check out other entries for the Claire Trevor Blogathon! Thanks to the lovely Ginnie for hosting!

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Re-Review: Mister Roberts

Hey everyone I am so glad to be doing my first blogathon of the year (and decade) and there is no better way to start a new decade than to re-do a review of one of my favorite films 1955’s Mister Roberts. Be sure to check out the Out to the Sea Blogathon, and thanks to Moon in Gemini for Hosting!

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When I first reviewed Mister Roberts I was so fresh to film blogging and while its, well OK, I wanted to take this opportunity and re-do it.

Mister Roberts is based of the Broadway play of the same name in which the ship Reluctant (or The Bucket) is stuck on the Pacific Ocean during the end of World War II. The members on board are getting bored, but are never out of eye of the tight supervision of the Captain. With its colorful crew of clashing personalities, hilarious hi-jinks inevitably occurs.

Mister Roberts has a fascinating behind the scenes story: 2 (technically 3, with Joshua Logan un-credited) directors, a fallout and end of one of the most successful actor-director collaborations, a film that has viewers wondering who directed what; and yet against all odds- it’s a film that is so well done. And I mean everything from the stage to screen adaption, to the wonderful performances, right down to the humorous tone is just so delightful to watch.

The most defying element about this film is the success it had when John Ford stepped down as director and Mervyn Leroy took over. I declare we will never know the exact reason why Ford was replaced: there are reports of an emergency gallbladder surgery, and the punching Henry Fonda incident (maybe its both). If it were any other film, Ford’s departure would make it a failure, but what saved Mister Robets from failing was A- The source material and B- the cast- which just proved how crucial their casting was.

The cast is perhaps the best thing about this film: Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, William Powell, and James Cagney (not to mention Ford stock regulars Ward Bond and Harey Carey Jr) are all just so electrifyingly perfect. They gel in a way that one might not expect, as all of these men were used to being the leading man in their pictures. Their camaraderie on set as evidenced by this picture really translated to their roles and you really believe these guys are all stuck on a ship together.

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I for one love the scene in which Doc (Powell) helps Pulver (Lemmon) make homemade scotch to impress the nurses- who else would be able to do that other than Mr. Nick Charles himself!!! I smile about it every time I watch it, and it’s a nice little callback to Powell’s most famous role. Moreover, who could forget Patrick Wayne’s small but memorable role of young recruit Booksy- I admit the first time I watched I didn’t realize it was Patrick, he was so young; this was even before The Searchers and I failed recognize him!!!

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Doc “Nick Charles” making Scotch.. What Else!?

And then there is the plant gag: that stupid but beloved plant just gives the movie an unexpected funny edge. Every time that plant gets tossed, I just can’t help but laugh, and watching Cagney’s reaction is equally as amusing. Of course, I can’t forget Mr Henry Fonda: no one but him could have played this role, and I cant believe he almost didn’t reprise this role. I don’t even wanna think about him being replaced with Marlon Brando or William Holden (Still love ya Bill!). Fonda holds the film together with Mister Roberts being the go to guy for all the characters. The ending scene with the crew gathered round to read his letter gets me emotional no matter how many times I’ve seen it.

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The Captain with his Pride and Joy

Moreover, what’s also great about this film is that it’s a ‘war movie’ for people who don’t like war movies. Not one battle scene or dipiction of gruesome imagery exists in this film, and I wish more movies could be done in this manner. It’s all about context and atmosphere of war and not necessarily what you see, but what you feel.

Overall, on a personal level, I cant get enough of this film. I don’t care is it’s not “John Ford” enough for a John Ford film: it’s just a darn good movie that deserves multiple viewings. The cast is perfect and the humor is impeccably on point. There isn’t another film quite like it out there and I am glad that in a sea of movies, it stands out in the crowd.

Book Review: The Girl From Hollywood (1923)

Happy New Year to you all and welcome back to the Roaring Twenties!! While the 2020s will certainly be far different from the 1920s- I for one am gonna do my best to make the 2020s have a touch of 1920s flair and style.

With the generosity of LARB Books, I have the opportunity to do a authentic 1920s book review with The Girl from Hollywood by Edgar Rice Burroughs (best known for his Tarzan works). Written in 1922 in Munsey’s Magazine but published in 1923 in novel form, this story tells the tale of the Penningtons-  a brother and sister, Eva and Custer- who live on a ranch in California. It also involves characters such as  fallen actress Shannon Burke, and the Penningtons neighbors/ friends Grace and Guy Evans- another brother sister duo. Other characters include Wilson Crumb, a Hollywood director-actor and Slick Allen, a ranch hand for the Penningtons.

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The original book cover (Wikipedia)

At first I glance, I was shocked to discover this was never adapted into a movie, then began reading it and knew why: this novel has absolutely no likable character. Even though that description has perfect workings for a noir film, I then realized there would be no way to film the novel under the production code without completely altering the plot. Perhaps now that its nearly 100 years later, Hollywood producers should look at this as a possible adaption- at least it would be something never before seen!

Personally, the more I read this book, the more I disliked this book- and not due to the content (drugs, bootlegging, sexual favors for career advancement) it was just more and more despicable as the narrative went on. It then hit me that not even the plot could carry the novel, as if I don’t care about the characters, how could I care about the plot?

As mentioned, all characters in the novel are completely terrible- they all make bad decisions, and none of them have redeeming qualities. For instance, although Shannon has a “past”, she starts off as being very likable: refusing to sleep with bigwig for better parts. You even feel bad for her after she’s drugged by Wilson Crumb and becomes addicted to cocaine, however, she then loses her appeal when she becomes a drug dealer herself.

Other characters demonstrate the mold for many characters to come in both movies and books: Wilson Crumb is the typical scum in Hollywood, the one who is majorly successful by screwing over everyone else. Guy is the archetype drunk bootlegger character who tries to come out of it, but fails in in the end. Meanwhile, Grace is the young underdog who struggles to get roles, but gets herself tangled in the web. Cuter starts off as the wronged man, only to become what he was accused of. And Eva- while she is a bit of a side character, she sadly gets downgraded to that of plot device.

Overall, this novel really shows the dark side of the era, with taboo subjects and tragic endings. It reminds us that while the 1920s were liberating and free, it wasn’t immune from problems.

I would like to thank Alice from Coriolis and LARB books for sending me an e-copy of this novel. All opinions are my own and if you would like to learn more about LARB Books publication please click here.

The LARB Books edition (LARB Books)

Meet me in Monaco 5th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon

For the Grace Kelly Blogathon this year, I wanted to do something a bit special and review a recently published novel involving her called Meet me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb.

Meet Me In Monaco

I was a bit skeptical about reading the book, as I didn’t particularly enjoy Ms. Gaynor’s novel, The Girl from the Savoy but there was something that magnetized me into reading this novel: The presence of Grace Kelly.

Meet me in Monaco is set against the 1950s French Riviera. Our main character Sophie is a perfumer who learned the trade from her beloved, but deceased father, while the leading man is James (Jim) Henderson, a British photographer who is re-adjusting to life after WWII. It’s a chance first meeting for Sophie and James when Grace Kelly hides in Sophie’s shop trying to evade the paparazzi- and it sets off a chain of events that connect these three characters for over 30 years. 

The narrative in the book begins during the 1955 Cannes Film Festival with the main portion taking place during 1956 with Grace’s courtship and wedding to Prince Rainier. Grace fans are in for a real treat as several things are mentioned that her fans will get a kick out of: her dog Oliver (a gift from Mr Cary Grant!), her taste in French perfume, the first meeting of Rainier, and even the voyage to Monaco. However, readers will also come to love the fictional characters in this novel that really drive the romance plot. James to me, in my view of fictional characters, is the dream guy- a British photographer who’s a romantic at heart. He’s a WWII vet and there’s a bit of a backstory with that along with his ex-wife, Marjorie, and his daughter whom he adores (Her name is Emily- so personally, that was awesome). Sophie was also a likable character and someone you can identify with; I just wish she would have been more courageous at making some business decisions. However, what I enjoyed most about her was that she always kept her father’s memory alive- it was sweet that whenever she was down, she always remembered his advice.

What makes this book believable is the focus is not on Grace Kelly. We are not getting the inside details of her voyage to Monaco or her wedding plans, rather we are hearing about it through the perspective of the main characters. This style of writing makes Grace’s presence very real. Because she only pops up in person about 4 times, the reader becomes just as excited to see her as James and Sophie do. Its really fun too because there are some passages that appear in letter or telegram style. There’s even a few magazine and newpaper sections written in the book, and that makes it really authentic.

SLIGHT SPOILER: The one problem I have with the novel is the 26 year time jump. There are so many questions that never get answered because of this, and it makes the ultimate ending feel short changed.

Meet me in Monaco was given a bunch of accolades this year with a reviewer calling it a “French bon-bon of a book”. I can’t say I argue and even if your not into “lite” historical fiction books, you can appreciate the Grace Kelly connection. It’s  a very breezy read and just an overall cute book!

Click here to go to the Author’s website and learn more about the book!

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Be sure to check out my co-hosts pages of Day 2 and Day 3 and check out Day 1 of the Grace Kelly Blogathon! I want to thank Ginnie for hosting and coming up with this marvelous event! I am always happy to be invited to co-host with you! To Samantha- It was so fun joining you this year for this event! I love being part of this with you two fabulous ladies and I say it every year, but I truly believe Grace Kelly would be flattered with all of the love!!

And to all my readers and fellow writers- Thanks again so much for participating. Without the audience there is no reason for me to write- you all keep me going!!!

DAY 1: The 5th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Grace fans of all ages: The 5th Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon is kicking off today! I hope you are all ready for three days of Amazing Grace as we celebrate this lady who although had a short life, left a lifelong influence in Hollywood, Monaco, and the World!

Remember I am hosting Day 1 (Nov 10) while Ginnie and Samantha are hosting the other days of Nov 11 and 12 but feel free to submit to any one of us across the three days and we will be sure your entry gets posted!

Let the Grace admiration begin!!

CHECK OUT DAY 2 HERE and DAY 3 HERE

ENTRIES

Maddie Loves her Classic Films tells us the 5 essential Grace movies YOU need to watch

Down these Mean Streets explains her take on Rear Window

The Stop Button on The Bridgest at Toko-Ri

Popcorn and Flickers discusses Grace: Icon vs the Actor

The Classic Movie Muse enlightens us on Grace’s secret hideaway

Thoughts all Sorts explaining her love for Rear Window

MORE TO COME!!!!

Book Review: Merton of the Movies

Here on The Flapper Dame, I’m always open to try something new, and today it’s fun to say my first movie related book review for my site is Merton of the Movies!

(LARB BOOKS)

Written by Harry Leon Wilson, Merton of the Movies was first published 100 years ago in 1919 in the Saturday Evening Post. It was published in book form in 1922. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of its initial publication, LARB books is republishing the classic in a new edition that will feature an introduction by Tom Lutz and forward by Mitra Jouhari. The edition will be released By LARB books on November 19, 2019.

After reading the book, I am surprised the film adaptations have not been well known to the general public, as the plot has the making of a bon fide hit. The book has been adapted in radio, film, as a play, and as a musical. The movie versions were made in 1924 as a silent that has been lost, in 1932 under the title, Make me a Star, and in 1947 under its original name with Red Skelton in the lead.

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1947 release poster (wikipedia)

The story of Merton at the Movies is the template for the “Hollywood Story” trope. In the beginning, Merton Gill of Simsbury, Illinois, is just a sales clerk for Gashwiler’s general store. But Merton has a love affair with all things related to Hollywood and the movies. He decides to take it one step further by taking acting lessons and setting out for Hollywood. What happens next is what all Hollywood newbies discover: The truth of the glamourous facade (for starters, Merton’s favorite actress, Beulah Baxter of the Perils of Pauline serials, has actually been married three times and does not do her own stunts!!!).

After failing auditions and interviews, Merton’s real big break takes off with a chance encounter with Flips Montague (real name: Sarah Nevada Montague) – a comedienne and stunts woman who has been in showbiz her entire life. She helps Merton financially and sets him up with her director friend Jeff Baird. From there, Merton (with a new alter-ego of Clifford Armytage) gets his big break through Baird and even falls in love with Flips.

The humor of all this and throughout the book is Merton wants to do drama and is a straight arrow in personality, but is forced into comedies for which he sees no humor in.

What I admired about this novel is the story, as its Hollywood behind the scenes. For a film industry so young at the time of publication, it really shows the beginnings of the craziness that would be more widely exposed in films such as Sunset Boulevard, The Bad and the Beautiful, and The Barefoot Contessa. I am amused by fictional Hollywood characters in works such this and the act of trying to figure out who their real life counterparts are.  I also really adored the character of Flips. She’s sassy and funny- maybe even more enjoyable than Merton in my opinion!

The element I disliked was the excess of narration. It dragged the story down, and I prefer to read more about the interactions of characters. It could have been at least 50 pages less had the narration not went on and on. Moreover, I couldn’t completely get into the humor- perhaps the author’s style isn’t something that personally clicks with me, but then again, I don’t have a typical sense of humor (I have been told I’ve got a dry sense of humor)

Overall, I was very humbled to be asked to write a review for the re-release and thank Alice and the team at LARB books for reaching out to me and sending me an e-copy of the book to review.

If you get a chance to read the book, whether you buy the upcoming copy or can get a hold of an older copy, it’s well worth it and a fascinating look at early 1920’s silent era Hollywood.

*ALL OPINIONS AND THOUGHTS ARE MY OWN. I was given an advanced e-copy to read curtsy of LARB books. Find out more about the re-release copy here.

Love Actually (2003)

This is written for Movie Rob’s September Genre Grandeur which bears the theme of all- star casts!

Today the term “all-star cast” has all but almost faded in obscurity, as now it refers to those “epic event” movies from the 60s and 70s. Disaster flicks, war movies, and historical pics- the genre is endless, but the one movie that brought the concept forward into the 21st century was the Christmas essential Love Actually (2003).

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(wikipedia)

Directed by Richard Curtis, Love Actually revolves around Christmas and the love lives of an all-star cast, whose characters are all connected to each other in some way or another. Due to the fact the film came out in 2003, I was too young to watch it then, and I saw this one for first time in 2016. My guy Colin Firth was the main draw for me (he’s practically the only A list star I love in relation to today’s stars), but it turned out that everyone’s storylines and performances were enjoyable.

Take a look at this connections web! It’s a bit over whelming! (wikipedia)

Whether a subplot was cheerful, sad, heartwarming or just plain hysterical- Love Actually manages to somehow make it all worth watching. Some of the character’s predicaments even mirrored the actor’s real life: Liam Neeson’s character Daniel is grieving the loss of his wife, while Colin Firth’s Jamie is trying to win the affections of his Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz), with the language barrier keeping them apart.

Of course, this movie is also a chance to view the late great Alan Rickman in a role that makes you believe he’s the most lovable jerk, as his character Harry cheats on his wife Karen (Emma Thompson) for his secretary, Mia (Heike Makatsch).

Personally, I can’t skip over Hugh Grant’s David the Prime Minister. The scene of Hugh dancing down the hallway and the stairs made me laugh so hard the first time I saw it, and it’s what made me see him differently (I only knew him as Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones, a favorite modern day movie of mine!).

In regards to reactions to this movie, the more I read other people’s opinions, the general consensus is this movie is polarizing. It seems to divide people into the, “this movie is trashy”, camp (think about the actual plots, and YES its trashy) and the, “this movie is iconic”, camp (the All I want for Christmas is You performance, the “you are perfect” moment). I for one do say the movie is full of clichés however; it’s the actors who make you care about the storylines and the characters they are playing. No matter what anyone thinks of it, the ending montage at Heathrow Airport set to Beach Boys God Only Knows, is very powerful and can even win over the harshest of haters.

For better or worse, Love Actually also spawned a bunch of other holiday all star cast movies such as Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Mother’s Day. While I haven’t seen these other movies, perhaps because they just don’t contain an actor I care about (and maybe because Love Actually is British), I will admit the idea of these movies are unique and a change to the usual style of storytelling.

Overall, Love Actually may be over rated, and a tad trashy, but also full of funny and cute moments that bring Christmas cheer. Its certainly one I watch every Christmas season, plus it’s just a fun excuse to see your favorite actor from basically any other TV show / movie you love.  (Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Honest Trailer below- it’s seriously eye opening!)

Grace Kelly at 90: 5th Annual Blogathon

The year 1929 was a stand out year in world history. Prohibition was still on, flappers were dancing, and silent movies were waning as talkies were rising. Not only was it the end to a roaring decade, it also saw the birth of some of the most prominent woman in the world: Audrey Hepburn, the future Jacqueline Kennedy, and of course the dazzling actress-turned- princess, Grace Kelly.

This year Grace would have been 90 years old, and one has to wonder: what would she be like today? Its hard to think of Grace being, “an old lady”, as of course she would have still been a serene woman. But I think being a doting grandmother; and now, great-grandmother would have been most important to her.

To celebrate Grace’s 90th birthday: Ginnie (The Wonderful World of Cinema), Samantha (Musings of a Classic Film Addict) and I (Emily; The Flapper Dame) have decided to bring back the Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon for its fifth year.
The rules and guidelines are the same as last year, but here they are again as a refresher:

– You can write about any topic relating to Grace- her movies, Hollywood relations/ friendships, collaborations with Hitchcock and Edith Head, her time as Princess of Monaco, her family- possibilities are endless- just make sure Grace is the center of the topic (naturally!)
-The blogathon will run November 10-12, 2019
-Duplicates are allowed, since her filmography is only 11 movies!
-Blog posts must be new material
-Maximum of 2 entries per person
-You CAN participate if you don’t have a blog- a guest post is acceptable!

and REMEMBER
1– Don’t participate if you don’t like Grace Kelly- in the past, Ginnie had participants who BASHED Grace- that’s not acceptable! AND

2- If you want to participate, YOU MUST subscribe first.
You can subscribe to to the. Blogathon with Ginnie, Samantha, or me on Twitter or by email- just let us know and we will mark you down!

THE ROSTER AS FOLLOWS

The Flapper Dame: The Bridges at Toko- Ri (1954) and Review of the Novel Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

The Wonderful World of Cinema writing for Three Enchanting Ladies : TBD

Musings of a Classic Film Addict : Grace‘s Ratatouille Nicoise

Poppity Talks Classic Film– Personal Tribute

The Stop Button – The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

Screen Dreams – To Catch a Thief (1955)

Pale Writer – Grace Kelly and Alfred Hitchcock’s Collaborations

Thoughts All Sort – Rear Window (1954)

Down These Mean Streets – Rear Window (1954)

4 Star Films – Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly part II

Rearl Weegie Midget Reviews – Dial M for Murder (1954)

Crítica Retrô – Grace Kelly Interviews

Overture Books And Film – The Country Girl (1954)

The Classic Movie Muse- High Society

Can’t wait to hear your choices as we celebrate 90 years of this remarkable woman!! Be sure to grab a delightfully cool banner designed by Ginnie (they turned out to be absolutely alluring, Ginnie!)

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My Special Wizard of Oz Character: The Scarecrow

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August is always a busy month for me personally, but I will always make time to do a Blogathon for really amazing fellow classic film writers, and especially when it’s about a movie I so adore.

The Wizard of Oz (1939) is a special movie that holds a place in my heart. The VHS tape I had as a child became worn out and I remember it was one of the first DVDs my Mom bought way back around 2000. To this day, I still have my Wizard of Oz Barbie set as well as have a replica copy of the original edition of the novel.

My feelings of the Wizard of Oz have remained unchanged since I was a child. Every time I watch Dorothy and her friends navigate their journey to Oz, I fall in love with the film all over again, and rediscover the true meaning of home. Dorothy’s quest to Oz has always been one that I am willing to take over and over, and what makes it fun is the friends she meets along the way. Of course, she already has Toto (her dog- of course!), but I’m talking about her three best friends she comes to love: The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion. Of all three of these marvelous friends, the one who has held my heart has always been The Scarecrow. Not only is he the first person to tag along with Dorothy to Oz, but throughout the film he is the one who keeps her focused and cheers her up when she’s down.

(wikipedia) Ray Bolger: Our Scarecrow!!!

Part of what draws me to the Scarecrow is the warmth and familiarity Ray Bolger brings to the role- he’s a perfect dancer and you believe he really is wobbly. I can’t imagine Buddy Ebsen as the Scarecrow (or even the Tin Man, Jack Haley is the Tin Man!) because Ray is so flawless. When I was little, I considered Dorothy and The Scarecrow to be a team, while the Lion and Tin Man were the other part of the team- I’m not sure why, but I always saw it that way!

In the Kansas scenes, the farm hand Hunk (The Scarecrow counterpart) was originally meant to be a love interest for Dorothy and hints of their relationship are present in the film, most notably in the Oz goodbye scene. It’s tearful when Dorothy’s saying goodbye to the Tin Man and Lion- but every time I watch her hug the Scarecrow saying, “I’ll miss you most of all”, it gets to me and tugs at my heartstrings without fail!!! The emotion in that scene just breaks the barriers and you really feel the true fondness Ray and Judy had for each other.

Sorry if you tear up! Know I am!!!

One little stand out moment for me between Dorothy and the Scarecrow occurs during the escape from the Witch’s castle when they use the Tin Man’s axe to break down the door. The Scarecrow hands Toto to Dorothy before she hugs anyone- it’s something I have only noticed in recent years, but it’s a detail I have come to adore. The Scarecrow knew Dorothy would be worried sick over Toto and made sure she saw him first. In the past, during this scene I was always focused and obsessed with the red hour glass of the Wicked Witch’s, (to satisfy my obsession my parents bought me a mini hot pink hour glass when I was 5; sadly it cracked!!), but its little details such as these which make their friendship really translate to the audience.

Its all about the Little Details!!

Another major reason I am drawn to the Scarecrow is, when I was little, my Uncle Mike would dance and talk like the Scarecrow for my sister and I. Uncle Mike dance and sang “If I only had a Brain” in a funny manner- and even fell down like the Scarecrow, and when watching the movie, I would always laugh extra hard because I would think back to Uncle Mike’s dance. For me personally, they became connected and to this day they still are. Because I have two Uncle Mikes, I even list Uncle Mike as Uncle Mike (Scarecrow) in my phone. In 2005 when I was going to Disney World for the first time, My Aunt and Uncle bought my sister and I Disney autograph books and they were the first ones to sign them, Uncle Mike naturally signed it as, “The Scarecrow”.

Overall, I can’t honestly say I have a true favorite character from the Wizard of Oz (I mean it’s a bit impossible!!!), but rather I can say The Scarecrow is my “special character”. My “special character” from my “special movie”!

I leave you with Ray Bolger at his finest!!!

Please click Here to read other posts from Taking Up Room’s Wizard of Oz Blogathon and Thank you so much for hosting this wonderful Blogathon to honor this amazing and timeless film!! Happy 80th Birthday Wizard of Oz!!!!