Singin' In the Rain - Friday, July 17, 2015

The American Treasure Tour is filled with many ... well ... treasures.  There are pieces of the collection few people know anything about - the Deagan Una-Fon comes to mind as an example of that - and then there are classics that most everyone has heard of.  Today, we are going to talk about one of the latter examples.  A poster for the musical comedy Singin' In the Rain, which is incongruously displayed in the Toy Box.  It's the sort of thing you have to be looking for to find it.

The film Singing' In the Rain was released in 1952.  Directed by Stanley Donen and its star Gene Kelly, it is a light-hearted telling of the transition from silent film into talkies.  Shot in Technicolor (that will have to be a blog subject for another time), the film definitely exploits the full color spectrum while showing the good and bad about the addition of sound to film.  It was a modest hit when it was released.  The film won a few awards, nothing spectacular, and made a profit.  It is likely no one would have been able to guess how kindly time would be to Singin' In the Rain.  The American Film Institute (AFI) rates it as one of the ten best movies ever made, and the most notable American musical film.  It even inspired a Broadway musical, that was first produced over thirty years after the film's initial release!
QUESTION:  Which actor in Singin' In the Rain declared that that film was one of the two most difficult things they ever did in their life?
A)  Gene Kelly
B)  Donald O'Connor
C)  Debbie Reynolds
D)  Jean Hagen
ANSWER BELOW

60 YEARS THE MOUSE!  When Disneyland opened on this day in 1955, no one could have ever imagined just how popular it would become.  Approximately 28,000 people attended the grand ceremony, which is notable since less than half of them had legitimate tickets (the rest were counterfeited).  The event was televised, too, with an ABC live broadcast hosted by three friends of Disney - Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings, and Ronald Reagan.  The event was a disaster, with technical problems for the live broadcast and 101 degree temperatures in the park.  It was so hot that the asphalt in the park softened.  The negative press inspired Disney to offer free entry for guests on the next day.  They started waiting in line at 2:00am.    

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHARLIE BROWN.  No, we are not celebrating the birthday of Charles Schultz today, the famous creator of the Peanuts characters.  Rather, the man behind the famous Peanuts music:  Vince Guaraldi.  Born today in 1925, he got his start in the jazz world with yesterday's birthday boy, Cal Tjader, in San Francisco.  But he unquestionably made a name for himself with his bossa nova-inspired music and the soundtracks to the popular Charlie Brown television specials of the 1960s.  He passed away unexpectedly at the age of 47, in 1976.

QUOTE:  All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. - Walt Disney

ANSWER:  Debbie Reynolds.  Her previous training had been as a gymnast, and Gene Kelly was so critical of her dancing that fellow actor Fred Astaire took pity on her and trained her to dance on his own time.  The second difficult thing, per Ms. Reynolds, was childbirth.