10. Almost every day after school, my sister and I would try to recreate the dance numbers we saw in musicals. MGM musicals tended to be our favorite of the genre.
9. The mid1930s to the mid1960s is the Classic Movies Era in Java's Encyclopedia. This time frame roughly corresponds with the Code Era, which is no coincidence; I was sure to be given permission to watch these relatively family-friendly movies when I was a kid and have been fond of them ever since.
8. I first saw Frank Sinatra in his MGM/Gene Kelly movies and believed he was actually the naive guy he pretended to be in those films. Then I saw a copy of the James Sadwith Sinatra biopic; it was the first time a Classic Movie star's personal life completely disillusioned me for a while.
7. It is thrilling to discover that the TV star you've heard of or watched also had a career on stage and/or in Classic Movies.
- I came to Angela Lansbury in this way, working backwards from her Jessica Fletcher role. What a revelation when I finally realized that the person who plays the sweet Cabot Cove resident also plays the scantily-clad, Western dance hall girl who tries to steal Judy Garland's man in The Harvey Girls (1945).
- Dick Van Dyke had his turn in the movies, but I knew him first as Rob Petrie.
- DuBarry Was A Lady is the first movie in which I remember seeing TV's favorite redhead, Lucille Ball. You can see her famous comic flair best in the dream sequence.
- Barbara Stanwyck was that beautiful, gutsy, silver-haired lady on "Big Valley." Then Ball of Fire (1941) came on one day and I was totally blown away by the actress.
5. Having been teased for having a high-pitched voice, I was fascinated by deep-throated female stars like Lauren Bacall. One time I had a cold which gave me a raspy, froggy voice for a while and I would quote lines like "You know how to whistle, don't you Steve?" It was some of the most fun I've had while being ill.
4. I have only recently (within the past 2 years) begun watching Bette Davis movies for the express purpose of watching Bette Davis. I didn't know what I was missing.
3. Mary Poppins used to scare me. Her powers are amazing, her field trips are out of this world, but her attitude is such that I could never warm up to her, despite my admiration for Julie Andrews.
2. The first cameo in a movie that I remember paying attention to was of Maria Tallchief as Pavlova in Million Dollar Mermaid (1952). I wanted to be a ballerina at one point in my life and I love Esther Williams movies, so to see the two ladies in the same film is just paradise.
1. The first feature length movie I remember watching is The Wizard of Oz (1939) when it was broadcast annually on network TV. I saw it on my aunt's vintage black & white set and found it fascinating. It had me rushing to the library for the Frank M. Baum books.
A year or two later I saw it on my uncle's color TV set. Whenever Dorothy is at home in Kansas the movie is in Sepia-tone. I just thought there was something wrong with the TV. And then Dorothy steps through that door into the land of Oz with all of the brilliant colors of the rainbow everywhere. I was awe-struck. It was like seeing the movie again for the first time.