Friday, February 3, 2012

Matinees of radio and film

I am deeply and madly in love with two genres of film and radio: British film and radio, and old radio programs and classic flicks. This post will not include an essay about why. Put succinctly, I can't help but find them both charming, funny, and well-made. Here is what I'm listening to and watching currently on the vintage side of things.

{Radio} The Six Shooter
 "The man in the saddle is angular and long-legged. His skin is sun-dyed brown. The gun in his holster is gray steel and rainbow mother-of-pearl, its handle unmarked. People call them both "the Six Shooter".  And with these words, this Western radio program began every week. A series of 39 episodes produced by NBC and starring James Stewart, this program was both drama and comedy. You have to love Jimmy Stewart. He was a phenomenal actor, playing diverse roles. Everything from lawyer, big band leader, boy-next-door good guy, politician, and wise Western cowboys. (If you haven't seen him in Shenandoah, you really should.) Ponsett spends each episode helping friends and family scattered throughout the West. Sometimes other characters are shocked by Ponsett, who rarely lets on that he knows more than appears and is more of a peacemaker than a gun slinger. One of the best produced radio programs ever created. Even the theme music is spectacular. The only sad note is the program didn't last longer.

More info here: Wikipedia: The Six Shooter
Listen to single episodes here:
Download the full series with extras here:

{Movie} Follow the Fleet

The delightful Rogers & Astaire pair up again in this flick from 1936. Don't miss Lucille Ball in her early days, who plays a small part as Rogers' friend and fellow dancer. Another actor not to miss is Randolph Scott, who play's Astaire's best friend, and was also a good friend of his and Clark Gable in real life. Scott made over 100 films, many with famous leading actors of his day, though he is best known for his Western roles. I laughed a lot, and cried a little for Rogers' on-screen sister played by Harriet Hilliard. Hilliard is the brainy but sweet sister rejected by men until Rogers gives her a makeover and meets Scott, who plays a girl-crazy cad who ends up seeing the light and falling in love with Hilliard. Of course, Rogers and Astaire fall in love at the end of the hilarious and screwball antics. It's a nice and sweet without being saccharine.

Here's a clip from Follow the Fleet, with Fred and Ginger dancing to Irving Berlin's "Let Yourself Go", courtesy of youtube:

Next up on the list is My Man Godfrey starring Carole Lombard and William Powell, and Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth in You Were Never Lovelier.

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