The Buck & Buntline Inn is a Social Commentary/Virtual Lounge site - with a Northern Irish Pub-like moniker (hence the Green Look!) that spoofs on two of the weapons used in the Tate-LaBianca Manson Family murders: the Buntline Revolver & the Buck Knife - with in-house barmen, Burb & her Guest Authors, serving your Cocktails with a wee bit of insight and wit...or just drivel...depending on how loaded we were when we wrote our last post! If you like our Lounge, click the pink diamond "FOLLOW B3!!!" button located just below this marquee and join via one of our social media gadgets, and while we're fixing your drink, check out our SiteMap for a full listing of our posts as well! Thanks for visiting B3 and may your Cocktail Glass never be empty!

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

“Showboat”…A Christmas Tradition For One…

ChristmasTradition-MGMMovie-Showboat 1It began, way back when, when I was six, seven or eight years old…Posted by MsBurb

And it began with just only me…

Maybe because there is in this classic movie, a Christmas and New Years scene that the TV Gods, whoever they have been through the years, have seen fit to air this movie at this special time…

Or, it just could be that ratings sink into the toilet around Christmastime, so heck, air an oldie-but-a-goodie that’ll eat up some airtime while we execs go feel up our secretaries at the obligatory Christmas party!

Who knows…

But when you’re young, and you’ve been raised in the country, the raison d’etre of New York City execs almost never enters your mind…

And while it’s late, and you’re supposed to be in bed, but your parents are having yet another party in the Red Room (yes, my house was that large, that we named the rooms!), and have forgotten all about you, as you lay in front of the Christmas tree in the Blue Room gazing at a black and white portable TV (oh, and by the way, the manufacturing industry’s definition of “portable” was somethin’ else in those days!), a movie comes on, the likes of which, forever changes the way you view the holiday season from that night forward…

“Showboat”, was it’s name.

Made in 1951 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, ChristmasTradition-MGMMovie-Showboat 2starring none other than the silver screen siren, Ava Garner (movie poster at top), the incomparable soprano singing actress, Kathryn Grayson, the then popular leading man/baritone, Howard Keel (poster top and at right),

 

ChristmasTradition-MGMMovie-Showboat 3 Joe E. Brown as Showboat Captain Andy Hawks

and superb baritone, ChristmasTradition-MGMMovie-Showboat 4 William Warfield, whose memorable rendition of “Ol’ Man River” has only ever been duplicated by baritone singer and U.S. defector to Russia, Paul Robeson, who starred in the 1936 version of the same name. (Warfield singing, photos of singer Paul Robeson below)

The movie centres around a Mississippi show boat, its entertainers and how class and colour barriers eventually affect the futures of everyone on board.

Ava Garner is the boat’s premier star until her mulatto past catches up with her when her porcelain-white skin starts to darken with age, and as a result, she is forced off the boat, a saloon singer with no future, in the end.

In this scene with Grayson, before she is ostracized, Ava sings “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man” in her own voice (MGM producers disliked Ava’s sultry voice and had singer Annette Warren do the voice-over for the released movie version instead, to everyone’s criticisms, I might add!)

This movie so parodies southern American Life back then, and to a lesser degree, became the swan-song movie for many in the cast.

If you do anything on your own this season, and find yourself alone in the room in which you have your Christmas tree, lay down on the carpet, turn off the lights but for the shimmering ones on the bows, turn on the TV tube and fall into the world the movie “Showboat” depicts.

Nothing you decide to do on your own this season will ever be more fine. I promise.

Christmas Tradition, MGM Movie, Showboat

8 comments:

Tina said...

Wonderful movie, Burb and this post makes me think of my own childhood. Rainy Sunday afternoons with tea and toast and old movies on tv. Special times.

MsBurb said...

Yeppers Tina...and somehow, back then, seeing that world through a black and white TV tube, didn't hinder the moment one bit!

Thank-you for your wonderful comment!

Aine Butler-Smith said...

I love the classics, and I'm glad TCM and AMC are playing the christmas classics (the real classics, pre 1950!) so I don't have to rely on rentals for those I don't own. I enjoy Showboat, and just watched Meet Me in St.Louis the other day, another fun musical where Judy Garland first sings "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". Wonderful.

Aine
theevolvingspirit.blogspot.com

MsBurb said...

Hi Aine!

Yes, it's great for us aficionados of the Technicolor set!

For me, the end scene with Ava, is a complete heart-breaker, she played it sooooo realistically, that and the scary scene for me was when that gambler kept selling all of Kathryn's jewelry for his habit...somehow addiction and the horrors of it came home in that scene, even at my early age...

Thank-you for your kind comment!

Sarah said...

Merry Christmas Burb!!

MsBurb said...

Thanks Sarah, you too!

Sarah said...

now i have to go and get this movie somehow. do you suppose blockbusters will have it? her voice was perfectly lovely. what's wrong with those execs?!

MsBurb said...

Yes Sarah, they'll have it! It's a timeless classic, just ask for it by name...

Ava's end scene is one of the BEST heart-wrenching movie scenes ever made (that's NOT it, BTW)...the end scene is what made her a star...

In those days, if your voice was absolutely PERFECT, you were dubbed out by a professional singer...perfection over human was the watch-word in Hollywood back then...

You WILL love it, I promise!

 
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