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Kathryn Grayson Tribute

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moira finnie
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Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby moira finnie » April 14th, 2010, 9:56 am

TCM will be airing two Kathryn Grayson films in tribute to the late singer this Sunday, April 18th (all times shown are EDT).

8:00 PM
The Desert Song (1953)
A French professor secretly leads a band of desert freedom fighters. Cast: Kathryn Grayson, Gordon MacRae, Steve Cochran. Dir: Bruce Humberstone. C-111 mins, TV-G
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Are you ready to suspend your capacity for disbelief for a few hours? Following up on a 1929 and 1943 version of Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II's 1920s operetta about The Desert Song (1953), it might prove interesting to check out this rarely seen Technicolor version of the musical, especially since the cast also includes Steve Cochran, Ray Collins and Raymond Massey in supporting roles. I don't think that this is commercially available on DVD either, though there are some VHS copies around. I think that this may be a TCM premiere. Has anyone seen this version?

10:00 PM
Show Boat (1951)
Riverboat entertainers find love, laughs and hardships as they sail along "Old Man River." Cast: Ava Gardner, Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson. Dir: George Sidney. C-108 mins, TV-G, CC
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While I am very fond of the James Whale version of Show Boat from the '30s, this big, glossy George Sidney take on the classic musical delivers in several ways as well. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's beautiful songs, some fine singers, such as William Wharton, Grayson and Howard Keel in good roles that suit their temperaments and voices (for a change), and Ava Gardner playing the mixed blood Julie with considerable feeling are just a few of the reasons that might lead you to see this one again.
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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby mrsl » April 14th, 2010, 12:30 pm

.
Personally I don't think you can ever see the Grayson/Keel version too often. In addition to what Moira listed, Marge and Gower Champion are at their best in this one. Kathryn is so sweet as the young girl who falls for the big handsome actor who arrives on her fathers' showboat and becomes her own leading man. When the young couple fall into bad times, she tries to assure him of her loyalty, but he feels she should return to her family, where she finally grows up. I'm glad TCM has planned this tribute to Kathryn because although she didn't have that long of a film history, what she did was quite lustrous.

She was a lot like a grown up Shirley Temple, always smiling, and being sweet and lovable to old and young alike. I guess what I really mean is that she was an endearing soul.
.
Anne


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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby ken123 » April 14th, 2010, 12:36 pm

In the 1960's I saw Kathryn Grayson & Louis Hayward perform in Camelot on stage in Chicago. :D

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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby moira finnie » April 14th, 2010, 2:25 pm

ken123 wrote:In the 1960's I saw Kathryn Grayson & Louis Hayward perform in Camelot on stage in Chicago. :D

Could Louis Hayward sing?
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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby ken123 » April 14th, 2010, 2:30 pm

moirafinnie wrote:
ken123 wrote:In the 1960's I saw Kathryn Grayson & Louis Hayward perform in Camelot on stage in Chicago. :D

Could Louis Hayward sing?


He tried...........with less than rousing results. :oops:

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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby moira finnie » April 14th, 2010, 2:36 pm

Who played Lancelot, Ken? I assume that by the '60s Hayward must have been Arthur.
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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby ken123 » April 14th, 2010, 2:43 pm

moirafinnie wrote:Who played Lancelot, Ken? I assume that by the '60s Hayward must have been Arthur.


moira,
Sorry I don't remember, the only other cast member that I recall was Arthur Treacher. :(

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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby markfp » April 19th, 2010, 7:54 pm

For those wondering why TCM didn't give her a tribute after she died, Robert O. explain in his comments before THE DESERT SONG that they had been locked in with "31 Days of Oscar", but would give a whole day during "Summer Under The Stars".

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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby moira finnie » April 19th, 2010, 9:59 pm

Did you watch The Desert Song, Mark?
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It was a hoot. I could not get over Ray Collins and Steve Cochran as Frenchmen. Loved the color and Paul Picerni's Riff chieftain. I think Raymond Massey gave the exact same performance in The Drum as he did in The Desert Song (I like to imagine Ray consulting an index card while trying to remember the characteristics of his former role with cryptic comments like "purr with satisfaction", "raise eyebrow, left one", "hands on hips and laugh from the diaphragm").

I did not care for Kathryn Grayson's haircut in this movie (too short), but she filled out the harem outfit nicely and was in great voice. I loved seeing Allyn Ann McLerie as a warm-hearted refugee from a harem (to think this could be Mrs. Carlson the Younger from WKRP!). Gordon MacRae as the guy in glasses with a secret identity was great fun. He looked just like a cuter Clark Kent.

Now if only they would find the 1943 version with Dennis Morgan and Irene Manning fighting Nazis instead of the French colonists.
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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » April 20th, 2010, 7:35 pm

I loved Allyn Ann McLerie! She was Azuri in The Desert Song and sported a Cleopatra like fashion statement. In Calamity Jane,
she was sweet Katie Brown, Mrs. Carlson on WKRP, Mrs. Ruebner on the Tony Randall show, and she appeared in All The President's Men, They Shoot Horses Don't They, and was the "tetched woman" in Jeremiah Johnson. She had such a diverse career. Does anyone know anything about her personal life other than the IMDB version? She divorced Adolph Green and married George Gaynes. Then
her career started taking off.

I have always been so impressed with the diverse characters she played. Take a look Azuri, Katie Brown, Mrs. Carlson, and the "tetched woman" and it is amazing how she could turn it all around for a new character.

She just always astonishes, and yet she is so highly underrated. I am glad you mentioned her. Moira. I had forgotten about her in this film, and it's probably been since the afternoon matinee on television in the 70's since I 've seen The Desert Song.

I also loved the Clark Kent/ El Khobar/ Zorro/Superman on-a-horse slant this fun film had.

Wasn't their a cartoon called El Kabong or something like that? It had a character kind of like the kitty cat in Top Cat.?
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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby ken123 » April 20th, 2010, 11:18 pm

Ms McLerie sure sports same mighty attractive legs in Calamity Jane. :D

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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby Uncle Stevie » April 23rd, 2010, 1:34 am

I am surprised by the lack of true tributary comments here. One of the most entertaining movies was "It Happened In Brooklyn". Kathryn Grayson was in great from in this rare B/W classic starring Kathryn, Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Jimmy Durante. Grayson sang the Bell song from "Lakme" like no other recorded Opera star. She also sang a duet with Frank Sinatra that was excellent. Please do not forget all the movies Kathryn Grayson made with Mario Lanza, Jose Iturbi, Howard Keel, Gene Kelly, and Frank Sinatra.

Kathryn was an amazingly beautiful and talented actress. Her voice had a "bell" like quality that rang loudly throough your very being. Her movie career ended when Hollywood stopped making musicals but Kathryn continued to sing in concerts, Broadway, and Broadway Road Shows. She worked hard to support her only child after two divirces and made 20 movies in her effort.

Stage career
Grayson's film career ended with the classic MGM musical. She appeared on stage in numerous productions including Show Boat, Rosalinda, Kiss Me, Kate, Naughty Marietta, and The Merry Widow, for which she was nominated for Chicago's Sarah Siddons Award. This led to her being cast as Queen Guinevere in 1962 in Camelot, a well regarded replacement for Julie Andrews in the Broadway production, before continuing in the role for over sixteen months in the national tour of the United States, leaving the show for health reasons. Grayson had a lifelong dream of being an opera star, and she appeared in a number of operas in the 1960s, such as La bohème, Madama Butterfly, Orpheus in the Underworld and La traviata. Her dramatic and comedy stage roles included Night Watch, Noises Off, Love Letters and Something's Afoot as Dottie Otterling.

Grayson supervised the Voice and Choral Studies Program at the Idaho State University.[10][11]

I remember her fondly and treasure the moments I have of her captured on film.

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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby moira finnie » April 23rd, 2010, 7:14 am

Hi Uncle Stevie,
Welcome to the site! I like Grayson very much and really love the way that you described the bell-like quality of her voice. Did you ever have a chance to see her onstage? Friends who have told me that she was even more captivating than she appeared on film.

While we touched on Kathryn Grayson's career quite a bit on this site immediately following her death in the General Discussions area, I really posted this notice just to give others who might be interested in the double feature of two of her movies that were broadcast last week. I was so glad I had a chance to see Show Boat again, since I am fond of the story and the music

Here is the scene from It Happened in Brooklyn with her singing The Bell Song from Delibes' Lakme. Enjoy:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ehsHKaOGxU[/youtube]
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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby sandykaypax » April 24th, 2010, 3:05 pm

I have to say, The Desert Song was a bit of a bore for me...It seemed like it wanted to be an action/adventure film, but then from time to time remembered that it was an operetta! Personally, I would've enjoyed more singing and dancing and less scenes of guys in the desert.

However, I loved seeing Allyn Ann McLerie! It was fun to see her teamed up with Dick Wesson, too--that same year they would both be in Calamity Jane with Doris Day and Howard Keel. Whip, crack away! McLerie's black wig really made her blue, blue eyes stand out. Azuri was aptly named!

I thought that Grayson and MacRae had good chemisty, and they both sounded wonderful. However, I felt that Grayson's short 50's do and costumes made her look a bit matronly. She had a voluptuous figure and it seemed to me that the powers-that-be at MGM couldn't bear for her to show any cleavage, so she got stuck in a succession of high necked costumes. The lace lilac dress with the high neck and long sleeves was especially hideous to me. My goodness, they couldn't even accent her tiny waist with a belt or sash! Even her harem girl outfit is kinda tame, especially compared to Azuri's glamorous outfits.

But still, I enjoyed seeing a musical that I hadn't seen before with good performers and the high production values of MGM in gloroious technicolor, no less.

Sandy K

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Re: Kathryn Grayson Tribute

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » May 22nd, 2010, 10:45 pm

Kathryn Grayson will be featured on Summer Under The Stars on August 10!
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