Musical Monday: Easter Parade

Posted on April 20, 2014

2014 update: Happy Easter, darlings! Enjoy a classic and holiday-appropriate bit of  Old Hollywood as well as a classic and holiday-appropriate Old T Lo Joint from way back in 2007.



Our story opens with Fred Astaire and the fabulous Ann Miller as world-famous hoofers, “Nadine & Hewes.” It’s the day before Easter in 1911 and Fred arrives loaded with gifts for the entitled little bitch. She allows him a cheek kiss before informing him that she’s breaking up the act. Now, if you’re Fred Astaire and your girl is telling you she’s outta here, what do you do?


She swoons – what woman wouldn’t? – but she still tells him “No dice.” He’s Fred Astaire, so he stomps off petulantly, but not before Peter Lawford (back when he was gorgeous) shows up.



Fred is no sooner out the door when Ann attempts to sink her claws in. Peter’s firmly in the cute-but-dim-witted category but manages to rebuff her.



He meets up with Fred at what passes for a strip joint in 1911. Fred Astaire was always a joy to watch, but whenever he had to play it a little rough – smoking, drinking, “Dames. What are they good for?” – it always came off a little silly. It’s not that he was effeminate at all but you have to admit, he was the very picture of “effete”. Stick to the spats and top hats, Fred. It’s what you were born for.

Anyway, in a drunken moment of “I’ll show HER!” He brags that he can pick any lowly girl out of that chorus and make her as big a star as Nadine ever was.



Meet lowly girl.

Also, meet plot.



Fred fast talks her backstage and tells her to quit her job and meet him tomorrow.



The next day, hungover Fred is full of regrets – especially when Judy shows up wearing a UPS maternity uniform and informs him she can’t dance.

Killer heels, though.



After several hours of practice, Fred takes her out to lunch when they run smack into the Easter Parade on 5th Avenue.



And of course, Ann Miller is there looking fabulous. This bitch knew how to make an entrance. Judy is agape at the sight of her but Fred tells her that when he’s done with her she’ll be even more fabulous than Ann. Color us skeptical.



The debut of their dance act goes over about as well as you’d expect in a funny scene where Judy gets to display her comedy chops.



The next day Fred meets Ann for lunch. Just look at her. Fabulous. Ann is pissed and claims all her friends are laughing at her because “that little seamstress” he’s got dancing for him is ripping off her schtick.

From now on, whenever a woman pisses us off, we’re going to refer to her as “that little seamstress.” “That little seamstress got my order wrong!” “Did you see what that little seamstress did? She gave me the finger!”



Meanwhile, the little seamstress meets up with Peter Lawford. She politely stands there and doesn’t laugh at him as he painfully attempts to warble his way through the one song he’s required to sing. He’s nuts about her but she can’t bring herself to be with such an untalented lunk.



Fresh from his lunch with Ann, Fred realizes that he has to play to Judy’s strengths, so he checks out her singing. Well duh.



What follows is your typical musical montage of increasingly ugly clothes paired with several Irving Berlin songs to indicate that the new Hanna & Hewes is a hit.



And while it’s always fun (and easy) to make fun of the clothes, we’re going to go further out on that limb and declare that not everything that Irving Berlin wrote was a masterpiece. Seriously, “Snookie-Ookums?” Painful.


BUT! The montage ends with the pair auditioning for Ziegfeld with the “Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam” number and honeys, it’s a show-stopper. Sit down, we’re going to pay Judy a compliment.



It’s astonishing to watch her in a piece like this because she’s only 26 years old and not only is she dancing with Fred Astaire in a fairly intricate and fast-paced tap routine, not only is she holding her own step for step, but she’s also lip-synching perfectly at the same time. It’s really something when FRED ASTAIRE is not the one you’re paying attention to in a dance routine.

Good god, that dress is ugly. Judy wasn’t conventionally pretty but she certainly wasn’t ugly. Why is it that when Hollywood was at the very apex of its glamour-making skills, those legions of lisping costumers and makeup people could never really make her look good – or look her age?



Ann shows up in yet another jaw-dropping outfit and pays the little seamstress a backhanded compliment. We worship Ann. Dimwitted Judy puts two and two together and realizes that the lady they saw at the Easter Parade was Fred’s former partner and that he didn’t see fit to inform Judy of that. She’s pissed.



She’s even more pissed when she finds out Ziegfeld offered them a job and Fred turned him down because he doesn’t want to be in the same show as Ann.



Later that night, she goes on a date with Peter and instead of sleeping with him (which, well, look at him. It’s the only thing that makes sense) tells him that she’s in love with Fred. Okay, you know what? We have to slap you now. Fred’s great but he’s old enough to be your father AND he’s still in love with someone else. You ain’t the prettiest girl on the lot and you’ve got the hotness of a twentysomething Peter Lawford trying to get into your crinolines. Then again, Judy wasn’t exactly known for wise personal decisions.

Someday, we’re going to write a treatise on the crazy hats women wear in musicals. We propose that because there was so much sexual repression in these films, the outrageous hats are supposed to represent vaginas on top of their heads. It’s why so many of the men had walking sticks too.

Think about it.



And speaking of vaginas, Ann shakes hers all over the stage in another eye-popping dance routine “Shakin’ the Blues Away.”



This is probably her most iconic performance on film. She looks stunning and the dancing is absolutely amazing.



Anyway, Fred takes Judy to dinner and informs her that they have a new show opening. She’s all “But I wore this really ugly dress just for you!” And he’s all “Fine. Here.” Not exactly the most passionate kiss in the history of the silver screen.



So their new show opens and Fred treats us to another eye-popping dance routine in the also somewhat iconic “Steppin’ Out with my Baby” number.


This number unfortunately bears the weight of too much cultural referencing and it’s virtually impossible to watch the sequence without thinking of Michael Jackson, who ripped it off from top to bottom in countless videos.

It’s interesting watching Astaire over half a century later. Unlike Gene Kelly, his style doesn’t always age well and a lot of his best work has a quaint feel to it which really isn’t fair, because when he pulls it out, he REALLY pulls it out. We’ll always be partial to Gene Kelly because his was a more modern, sexy, masculine approach to dance but there’s no denying that Fred, if he didn’t own the top spot (which many would claim he did), he at least shared it with Kelly. You can freeze frame any moment during this number and no matter what Fred is doing, his body is always perfectly arranged, composed even. Every limb, every joint, every digit – it’s all serving the act and it’s all in perfect position at all times.



Later they both sing the “Couple of Swells” number and we, little queens that we are, find this number really frustrating. We just want to travel back to 1948, take her aside and say “Look, your rival in this picture is Ann Fucking Miller, bitch. Fine, you want to let them stick you in ugly dresses for two hours, be our guests, but do NOT let them black out your teeth. Are you crazy?”

Anyway, the show’s a huge hit and Fred says “Let’s go out to dinner to celebrate!”



“…by catching my ex-girlfriend’s show!”

Whenever we feel less-than-pretty, a little Ann Miller swirls around in her heads, spewing maribou feathers and reminding us that if you’ve got the right attitude, men will fall at your feet.



Judy’s all “Are you fucking kidding me with this bullshit?”



“Oh…uh…look, honey! She wants me to dance with her. Crazy right? Guess I’ve got no choice!”



“Yeah, you really look like you’re being forced to do this. Asshole.”



Later, Judy tears into him for making a fool of her and she calls the whole thing off.



The next morning (which is Easter), Judy’s really going for the Oscar by not wearing any makeup and Peter’s all “Holy shit, I wanted to tap THAT?” Scared of the prospect of actually having to follow through on his earlier declaration of love, he smacks her around a little (figuratively speaking) and knocks a little sense into her.



So she buys Fred a top hat, puts on yet another shitty dress and sings to him. All problems solved. Ah, musicals.



Fred takes her to the Easter Parade, slips an engagement ring on her finger and sings his way into a happy ending for all.

Except for Ann Miller, but then again, she probably got tagged by Peter Lawford and that’s not so bad, is it? Unless you’re Marilyn Monroe, but that’s another story.



Next week, there’s a bright golden haze on the meadow, bitches! It’s Oklahoma!


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  • Anonymous

    Dear T&L –

    Like Jesus, you rise to the occasion. Thanks for starting my work week with smiles and musical memories.

    May the Easter Beagle shower you with top-of-the-line jellybeans and chocolate confections!


  • Ms. Place

    Another great post, guys. I never knew it could be more much fun to read about a movie, than view it. I love starting out my week this way.

  • The Scarlett

    Ah, Fred. I’ve always loved his slightly too-short trousers (designed to show off his dancing feet and flash of colored sock – learn something from this, sockless Jonathan Adler), his receding hairline I completely adore his dancing no matter how it ages. Fred had the ability to make any woman that danced with him feel like a princess. If you would ever ask me my biggest regret in life it would be that I never danced with Astaire.

    Loved the costumes (especially the hats) on Miller. I swear I’m going to get a borzoi or two just so that I have a reason to wear some of my own hats and stoles and march down Fifth Avenue like I own the city.

  • ToddNY

    LOL. And “little seamstress”? Freaking hilarious!! Does she really say that? I don’t remember.

  • BG

    I think it is pronounced “Oklahomo” when you’re referring to the musical.

    Another fabulous musical summary. The best part of Monday, but you have to share that slot with a grande from Starbucks and a cab ride to work.

  • loyal kitten

    This has only cemented what I always thought. I want to be Ann Miller when I grow up. No, not want, need to be her. I think I still have time, I’m only 20, and as long as you boys keep showing me the way I can make it.

    Poor Judy. Really? Blacked out teeth? She needed a better agent.

  • mike

    “Someday, we’re going to write a treatise on the crazy hats women wear in musicals. We propose that because there was so much sexual repression in these films, the outrageous hats are supposed to represent vaginas on top of their heads. It’s why so many of the men had walking sticks too.”
    T&L, I had to clean my screen because I did a mini "spit take" when I read this… TMI, really TMI!

  • Dejathoris

    Oklahoma?!!?? I hate that musical…talk about insipid….State Fair was much better and it had she of the bouncy hair, Jeanne Crain!!!!She wore the dress with cherries, can you say subtext? Le sigh, I hate Oklahoma. I expect heaps o’ ragging and snide comments,otherwise I’ll only grudgingly read the review.

  • valpal

    I heard somewhere that, because Fred Astaire’s vocal range wasn’t wide, the songs written for him were always within that same range.

    While I love Gene Kelly, Fred has always been on the top of my list of dancers to watch, for precisely the reasons that you describe. His choreography and intimacy with his own movements is/are awesome.

    Thanks, T&L, as always.

  • Bill

    "Holy shit, I wanted to tap THAT?" Hilarious, T&L.

    The Vaginal Hat Theory? LOVE it. Can’t wait.

    Peter Lawford – early cinematic eye candy. I adore him.

    Gene Kelly was originally set to star with Judy in this but was injured and replaced by Astaire.

    Did you happen to catch Jimmie Dodd playing the cab driver? He was Jimmie on the Mickey Mouse Club. He always creeped me out a little because I couldn’t figure out why an adult would want to dress up in those mouse ears and hang out with all those kids. Not as creepy as the other adult on the show, Roy (the portly guy), but still always a little odd to me.

    Also in the movie was Lola Albright (as a showgirl). She earned later fame playing the nightclub singer Edie Hart in the Peter Gunn TV series. She was also Tuesday Weld’s cocktail waitress mother in the 60’s satire “Lord Love a Duck” (check it out – with Roddy MacDowell – not your standard 60’s lite comedy – much blacker and sends up the other movies of the times).

    Back to Easter Parade. I couldn't agree with you more on the Judy assessment. She was never a beauty but she was no dog either, but MGM always managed to make her look so dowdy. With the exception of 'Meet Me in St. Louis' where she did look young & attractive, she seemed to go from her teens (Wizard of Oz, Andy Hardy movies, etc.) right into middle age. They often pulled her hair back and made her look so severe.

    Ann Miller – bitch can dance but she seemed to me to be one dippy broad in real life (at least the real life she presented on Mike Douglas and other talk shows). And the laetr-in-life hair lacquer was just plain scary.

    Okay – is it just me? In the “Shakin’ the Blues Away” and “Easter Parade” numbers, the ladies look to me to be wearing opera length Playtex Living Gloves. Is Ann (yellow Playtex gloves) going to work scrubbing pots in the kitchen of the club after her number? Is Judy (pink Playtex gloves) going home after their Fifth Avenue stroll to scrub Fred’s tapping scuff marks off the hallway floor? Just asking.

  • Kerry

    “Someday, we’re going to write a treatise on the crazy hats women wear in musicals. We propose that because there was so much sexual repression in these films, the outrageous hats are supposed to represent vaginas on top of their heads. It’s why so many of the men had walking sticks too. Think about it.”


    You are so right it’s scary!!!

    I freaking love you guys. I wish I knew you both in person because you would fit in so will with my gaggle of gays!!

    Oklahoma next week!! I can’t wait!

  • Toran23

    “Whenever we feel less-than-pretty, a little Ann Miller swirls around in our heads, spewing maribou feathers and reminding us that if you’ve got the right attitude, men will fall at your feet.”

    Hahaha hha hahaha HA! That is sheer genius! I also will adopt this way of thinking and learn to rule the world, Ann Miller style. Thanks boys, Musical Mondays always bring a big smile to my face.

  • Anonymous

    Ok boys…. It’s high time you sign up for a little Netflix action. You still go to the “video store”. *precious!* That’s awfully quaint, and I’m sure the “video store clerk” appreciates your quaintness, but get with it! That shit will come to your door. And never again will you disappoint your eager underlings. Cheers!

  • Dova1965

    Loved your review, but you failed to mention what I hated about this movie…
    The restaurant scenes with Jules Munshin as Francois, pantomiming the menu. Painfully unfunny, and clearly a time-filler. In fact, before the days of VCR’s and fast-forwards, this was the scene that provided an opportunity for my sister and me to go make popcorn. They should never have relied on this hackneyed comedy bit, and they should never have forced the other actors to sit and watch and pretend to be entertained by the antics of Francois.

  • Anonymous

    Do you guys actually rent from Blockbuster? What, are you nowhere near a TLA?


  • TLo

    It was the guy from TLA who told us it hadn’t been released yet!

    We use Blockbuster online to get our films, but we go to the TLA to rent the musicals so we’re not waiting for them to arrive in the mail in time for Monday.

  • thombeau

    Love love LOVE you guys!

    “That little seamstress”!—LOVE IT! “That little seamstress told us it wasn’t on dvd!”

    Nice example of the effeminate/effete dichotomy.

    Did anyone else totally forget that Peter Lawford was in this movie?

    Vagina hats! So true!

    And yes, Ann Miller is always a joy to watch. She IS fabulosity.

    Looking forward to next week….

  • Anonymous

    Ohh, that hat and walking sticks comment had me literally LOLing.

    Too funny.

    Love the musical madness.

    Keep it up, you guys.

  • Kathryn

    I CANNOT tell you how much better you make every single Monday for me. I really need to share this with my bff, who is obsessed with all things dance, because she'd probably have a conniption. You two are FABULOUS! ♥

  • Anonymous

    Vagina hats!

    It’s Easter, so I like to think of them as Stigmata hats…

    I’d like to recommend “Starring Fred Astaire – A Columbia Series Release”. This CD set was a revelation to me.

    Listening without distraction of watching helped me appreciate what a musical talent Fred was. Brilliant.

    (Only used copies available on Amazon. What is wrong with the record-buying public?)

    — desertwind

  • Sunny610

    >>Judy shows up wearing a UPS maternity uniform <<

    LOLOL. That was MY spit-take for the day.

    Mondays used to make me blue… until I found you fabulous creatures and Monday Musicals.

    I simply LOOOOVE musicals, especially from the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s, and I know many of them almost by heart. Your perspective just enchances what is basically a total fantasy.

    Thanks for making blue Mondays… turn rosy pink. :)

  • macasism

    I think I want them to show “Shakin’ the Blues” at my funeral. Ann Miller was so awesome.

    While I love Gene Kelly, Fred is still the best male dancer of all time, with the possible exception of Baryshnikov. He was also a task master and perfectionist. My aunt was in a couple of his films in the chorus, and he rehearsed them for HOURS. And there are NO EDITS folks, all done live, with the exception of the slomo part.

    By the time he did this he was in his ’50’s. You want virtuosity, check out any of his solos during the Ginger years. Man was miles beyond anyone out there.

    The only thing that bugs me about Fred is he spots the floor. Check it out. He must have been nearsighted or something.

  • BG

    Who is the (camera shy?) silver fox in picture #17?


  • Grrg

    Regarding Astaire not being convincing when he’s butching it up… well, you’re probably right, but have you seen The Sky’s the Limit (1943), in which he gets drunk and smashes everything in the bar while dancing during “One More for my Baby”? It’s kind of an amazing sequence, and more intense and convincing than you might expect.

  • Gorgeous Things

    “Whenever we feel less-than-pretty, a little Ann Miller swirls around in her heads, spewing maribou feathers and reminding us that if you’ve got the right attitude, men will fall at your feet.”

    Seriously, take it from this one-time-little-seamstress-turned-fabulous-bitch-with-needles, a little Ann Miller is all you need to totally change your luck!

    Oh, my sides still hurt from laughing about this one. Thank you for making this wet dreary Monday so much sunnier!

  • frogboots

    why don’t the plots of these movies ever make sense? people always getting together at the end when you KNOW they shouldn’t….

    thank god for those hats! ann miller is my hat-wearing goddess, and whoever designed those hats is a saint.

    and i LIKE judy’s green dress in that “dinner at my ex’s show” scene! she looks good in it.

    i am LOVING this, because i hate watching musicals but damn! I like looking at the pictures and reading your fabulous, fabulous commentary!

  • frogboots

    oh: my opinion doesn’t count because i don’t know my Stars of the Hollywood Sky the way y’all do, but i always thought judy was awfully pretty. maybe even beautiful. not glamourous. but if i woke up one day looking like her, i wouldn’t be upset.

    they do give her some hideous clothing to wear, though, don’t they.

  • bungle

    A little perspective here guys! You’ve only been doing this for a short time! Word will spread and your comments section will be swamped with thousands of posts of adoration. Hope you’re prepared for that!

  • Anonymous

    I agree w/ both camps re: Astaire vs. Kelly. Both were awesome, both had very different styles as the boys so succinctly identified. Personally, for agility, expression and technique, no one came close to Donald O’Connor. Just watch “Fit as a Fiddle” and “Roses Supposes” (et al not a bad 1 in the bunch really) from “Singin’ in the Rain”. While he was mostly known for the showstopping “Make ’em Laugh” number, but the other two show how incredibly smooth his dancing was.
    Can’t wait for the PRGAYBOYS to get ahold of that 1 (especially that drag queen Lena Lamont!)!

  • Neverwhere

    Another fantastic commentary T&L.

    I don’t think I will ever recover from the Vagina Hat Theory. *laughs* (You should really think about getting a patent for that. 😉

    The final screencap shows off just how attractive Judy can be. Why can’t she look like that all the time? She’s a STAR after all. *G*

  • vera

    Aside from being horrified –HORRIFIED– that you think that this Ann Miller number was better than “Too Darn Hot” from “Kiss Me, Kate” (when is that one coming, kids?), reading this was the most fabulous thing that happened to me all day.

  • personette

    Oh Judy…

    Oh GayBoys…

  • Sewhat?

    I just want to know if it is appropriate to wear your “Vagina Hat” to see “The Vagina Monologues”?

  • Lisa

    The only celebrity-impression I’m capable of doing is Anne Miller. It’s a silent impression, requiring only that I strike a dynamic leg pose, raise my arms aloft, heave my bosom as if hyperventilating, then fix my mouth into a huge, gummy, unnatural smile.

    Strangely, the genius of my Anne Miller impersonation is lost on everybody but homos.

  • yawningdog

    Next Easter, how about ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.

    I can’t wait to hear your take on the hippy costuming.

  • Bill

    “Lisa said…
    The only celebrity-impression I’m capable of doing is Anne Miller.”

    Lisa, we want to see a picture, please!

  • Lisette

    Boys, some of us seamstresses have needles and we’re not afraid to use them!

    As usual, divine commentary! even if I didn’t get to it till tues.

  • Anonymous

    The only celebrity-impression I’m capable of doing is Anne Miller. It’s a silent impression, requiring only that I strike a dynamic leg pose, raise my arms aloft, heave my bosom as if hyperventilating, then fix my mouth into a huge, gummy, unnatural smile.

    Bill said…

    “Lisa said…
    The only celebrity-impression I’m capable of doing is Anne Miller.”

    Lisa, we want to see a picture, please!

    2nd THAT!
    Put it on YOUTUBE!
    She used to freak me out on those Campbell soup commercials (I think it was Campbell’s Soup) when I was a kid. That shellacked hair and those long, strange nylon’ed legs. Yikes!
    She was HOT in her prime, though! But perfect fodder for parody now. Are there any Ann Miller drag queens out there?
    Must Google that!

  • Red Seven

    I always hated the fact that Fred & Judy got together at the end of this movie. It could have been both a HAPPIER and MORE INTERESTING ending if Fred and Ann had rekindles and if Peter and Judy had, y'know … kindled.

    Hats as vaginas … that is just fucking hysterical. Congrats.

  • BrianB

    You guys are the limit! I was staring at the very last picture of Judy and Fred at the Easter Parade and thinking, well the hat makes that plain dress look complete. Then I realized that it was the biggest, most blooming Vagina Hat in the whole damned movie! Especially compared to the tight, constricted ones she wore at the beginning. Call him old, but Judy got her man at the end!

    I don’t know about Fred’s dancing not aging well, nine times out of ten I go into a delighted trance watching Fred work it, except maybe with Sarah Churchill in Royal Wedding. WTF?!! I think I may have severe Movie Musical Madness Syndrome that makes the here and now completely disappear to the point where I’m back in 1948 watching the movie when it first came out. I don’t see Michael Jackson at all when I’m watching the ‘Stepping Out…’ number. But you’re right about his indebtedness to Fred and Gene and all the hoofers who came before him.

    Ann and the “Shakin’ the Blues Away” number is simply heaven! Just Ann and the Drapes! I love when she starts the song singing about the blues then she unhooks her skirt only to reveal….more drapes!

    bg 2:37pm, I’m not sure, but I think the camera shy silver fox is a guy named Greg Palmer, who had a bigger role in “Magnificent Obsession” with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman. He played Barbara Rush’s boyfriend in that film.

    Delightful recap of this movie, guys! Jesus would love it too!


  • PJ

    Sir, your review of Easter Parade is the best I’ve ever seen. And I thought I’d seen ’em all.


  • GG

    Someday, we’re going to write a treatise on the crazy hats women wear in musicals. We propose that because there was so much sexual repression in these films, the outrageous hats are supposed to represent vaginas on top of their heads. It’s why so many of the men had walking sticks too.

    Think about it.

    Oh. My. God. You two are going to cause me to get fired due to giggling insanely in my office!

    If your scenario is true, wouldn’t we see more men in musicals banging the shit out of leading ladies’ hats with their sticks?

    I think I need a moment alone for quiet reflection.

  • K.

    in that first scene, it looks like ann miller busted into michael kors’ personal cache of bronzer (no. 326, jack-o’-lantern glow)

  • Jukey

    I need to know who Gorgeous is to the far right in the Judy-and-Gene-catch-Ann-Miller’s-act scenes. Like, NOW.
    What’s so great about musicals is that they allow the culture to get away with so much insane, freaky, perverted, buried stuff the Golden Age (30s through 50s, approximately) could not have handled in a drama. Not that Easter Parade is a particularly shining example of that (it is as misogynist as hell, though. Cf: My Fair Lady as well), but Oklahoma is just crazy weird. And Show Boat, and Seven Brides, as seen here, and just about everything else.
    Must run out and buy big hats …

  • Cyn

    I loved you before but now I really LUV YOUSE. Brilliant.

  • BigAssBelle

    “Michael Jackson, who ripped it off from top to bottom.” Heh.

    and “the outrageous hats are supposed to represent vaginas on top of their heads. It’s why so many of the men had walking sticks too.”

    that is about the funniest thing i’ve ever read in my entire life. i am laughing out loud. precious.

    oh. my. god. i have missed you darlings the last several weeks! where have you been? i’ve felt abandoned!!!!

  • BigAssBelle

    must be why i love hats and have a collection of walking sticks. wonderful.

    and doing oklahoma next week? be still my heart.

  • aimee

    Too fabulous! Thanks, boys. I’ll be watching this over the weekend, hoping that a little Ann Miller will drop some maribou feathers in my head.

  • Anonymous

    Oklahomo…Goodie! I’m headed over to ebay to find a surry-with-the-fringe-on-top. They got all kinds of shit, maybe they’ll have one of those!

  • karen s

    No comments on Ann Miller’s two-toned hair? You know, she may be a fabulous dancer, but I get distracted by her flaming cheeks and “is-it-brown-or-is-it-black?” hair.

    Oh, I so cannot WAIT to read your State Fair analysis! (Said with conviction… so that you’ll definitely do it!) Keep up the good work, boys!

  • pyramus

    We watched “Easter Parade” on Turner yesterday, and I’m sorry to have to report that Ann Miller didn’t actually call Judy Garland “that little seamstress”: she said “that seamstress”.

    However, you’re right: “that little seamstress” (which is much better than what the screenwriter came up with) is just about the perfect thing to call someone. Tonight at work, instead of my usual catalogue of sotto voce cusswords, I just called everyone who displeased me “that little seamstress” (out of earshot, obviously), and it put me in a really good mood. You guys are miracle workers.

  • Signed D.C.

    Bill wrote:

    I couldn’t agree with you more on the Judy assessment. She was never a beauty but she was no dog either, but MGM always managed to make her look so dowdy.

    Clearly you haven’t seen her Kay Thompson-coached turn in Ziegfeld Follies–she looks divoon in that.

  • Caitrin

    One of my favorite movies of all time.

  • Alicia

    “Seamstress” is of course Discworld-euphemism for prostitute. So that works.

    • LadyVimes

      I was just about to bring that up!

      • Alicia

        You would, Sybil!

    • Claudia

      I love it when there are Discworld references…

  • Gatto Nero

    I especially love your little treatise comparing Astaire with Kelly. I’ve always felt the same way. Aside from the “quaint” versus “modern” style, Fred floats through his steps; you can hardly believe he’s earthbound sometimes. Gene dances *into* the floor — his energy seems to come from playing off of that pressure of his feet against the ground. His dancing is more visceral and muscular. I love them both.

    • Tom and Lorenzo

      “Gene dances *into* the floor”

      What a great way of putting it.

      • Gatto Nero

        You made my day! Thank you.

    • par3182

      That explains Gene’s thighs. Mmmmm.

      • Gayer Than Thou

        Right? I’m all, “You know what else Gene Kelly could dance into?”

        • 3boysful

          I adore Gene Kelly; I prefer his athletic style. He’d be one of my guests at that fantasy dinner party.

      • Constant Reader

        Not to mention THAT ASS.

    • muzan-e

      Between the three of you, these two gentlemen just came *alive* in a way that never existed for me before.
      Priceless, thank you.

    • alyce1213

      Bravo Gatto Nero, you nailed it.

      • Gatto Nero


    • Agent Sculder

      I love both as well, and you sum up their styles very well. Astaire’s center of gravity is much higher than Kelly’s which is why is always looks like he’s gliding along the surface of the dance floor, even when he’s tapping. Kelly likes to get low and close to the floor, something Astaire really doesn’t do. I’ve come to prefer Astaire’s dances with partners to Kelly’s. He always did a great job to playing to the strengths of the woman he danced with and made them look like they were great dancers. But I love watching Kelly dance solo, he just so exciting to watch.

    • Columbinia

      I always thought Astaire had the more classic style. Given a choice, I prefer Astaire over Kelly.

      • Chris

        When I was young I preferred Kelly’s “aw shucks” persona and more athletic style of dance. As I got older I grew to prefer Astaire’s grace and subtlety. I can appreciate what a great and inventive dancer Kelly is but there is something more forced in his performances. He seems more self aware? Sometimes when he dances I can almost hear him thinking “Look at me! Look at me!” Astaire is a dancer who tries to make the impossible look effortless while I always feel exhausted after Kelly dances. He seems like he is always giving 110% to every dance. They were both amazing with completely different styles. Astaire was, I think the much better partner to dance with. When he was in sync with a partner they flowed as one.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          Your comment about Kelly resonates with me. While “Singing in The Rain” is one of my all-time favorite movies (Do NOT ever get me started on Kubrick using that song for the rape scene in “Clockwork Orange”), and “On The Town” is another personal fav, I do get that “look at me!” feeling from some of his performances. Wonderful dancer, and loaded with charm, I could cheerfully spend a day watching both Kelly and Astaire.

    • cocohall

      I take a hip hop class (I will wait as you all stop giggling) and the teacher often talks about dancing into the floor and then will demonstrate the same move with a ballet attitude where everything is upright and light and tells how silly it looks in that style. She’s always saying “get low, use the floor.” My guess is that to some extent Astaire and Kelly’s very different builds contributed to how they danced. I love them both. Astaire was also a drummer and his dancing (especially his solo numbers) really reflected this – he is syncopating the beat with his dance. I feel like skipping work and queuing up all my Astaire DVDs. Sigh. . . .

    • Dandesun

      I love them both but I do have a preference for Astaire. Kelly did tend to play the ‘regular guy’ and I do have such love for his movies. I absolutely adore the dance on roller skates from ‘It’s Always Fair Weather.’ Honestly, picking between Astaire and Kelly is like trying to pick between two things I love so so so much. Easter Parade is a go to for me as is Singin’ in the Rain… but, in all honesty, ‘Top Hat’ is a magical movie to me. It’s complete and utter farce, which I love, with the misunderstandings and mistaken identities but, oh my God, those Art Deco sets are pure fantasy — if I were to be spirited away to a movie set made real, it would be ‘Top Hat’ (as long as I could have the gowns and the dancing partner as well.)

  • SterlingQ

    I hope you have time to do more Musical Mondays in the future! I love them.
    Also, I believe TCM is showing this tonight!

    • NurseEllen

      I don’t think TCM would fully appreciate TLo’s somewhat irreverent reviews of the great musicals, but it would be awesome to have the Uncles as guest programmers for a “Musical Mondays” feature. Wouldn’t you love to see them interacting with Robert Osborne? I’m a huge TCM fan but the people they pick as guest programmers really annoying. I mean, what special insight does Alec Baldwin, a TV actor, bring to introducing old movies? Yes, I know he’s made some movies, and I think he was really good in “Hunt for Red October”, but clearly he was hired because he was a recognizable name. Drew Barrymore has a little more Hollywood cred but I find her aggravating to watch, she’s always interrupting and acting all giggly. Let’s petition TCM to do “TLo Musical Mondays”, kittens!

      • luludexter

        I love TCM and like to think they could handle TLo! I also would love to see Musical Mondays. I would watch the hell out of that.

      • decormaven

        Oh, that would be stellar! I’d have to camp somewhere to watch that; we’ve jettisoned regular cable. I’d love to hear the dear uncles bantering with Robert Osborne. Anything about Old Hollywood Style- and anything about the divine Ann Miller- I’m all ears. Does TCM ever air the interview with Ann Miller made before her death? That woman loved what she did, and it showed.

      • understateddiva

        This is a great idea. I used to watch a “movie night” show on Friday nights on a Des Moines CW network that I called “theatre for the lonely single girl and her cat.” They played a classic 80s or 90s romantic comedy, interspersed with commentary and sometimes a local chef would teach you how to cook something. Now I’m imagining an amazing retooling of that – first, Pandora Boxx hosts a half hour Snatch Game, and then TLo introduce a classic musical. Now that’s appointment viewing!

        • demidaemon

          I would reactivate my satellite TV for that!

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        I would like to see Drew Barrymore take a break from working on TCM;she rarely adds anything worth remembering in those pre-and post film comments.

      • Violentcello

        Oh, heck yeah! Maybe when the book tours slow down, they can branch out to cable.

      • Alloy Jane

        I think Robert Osborne would LOVE these reviews. He has a great sense of humour and even did a spot for [adult swim]’s Harvey Birdman. They have the full episode online, just google “Robert Osborne Harvey Birdman.” Great show, and great episode.

    • Qitkat

      I just put it on my DRV, have never seen it. Was attempting to explain to Mr Q how the Uncles could love musicals and still apply their signature snark.

  • Judy_J

    Your comment about how MGM never seemed to get a handle on Judy’s looks is right on. She was beautiful in an unconventional way.

    • Alicia

      In some of these pictures she actually reminds me of Scarlett Johansson. They really could have done much better by her looks.

      • luludexter

        Thta’s because Scarlett Johansson had modeled her look on Judy Garland – she’s said before Garland is her style icon.

        • Alicia

          Really? There you go. I was thinking more the shape of the nose and lips than the personal style though.

          • luludexter

            They do have similar features maybe that’s why SJ was drawn to Garland too

    • Gatto Nero

      I’m wondering if the costume designers in this case were hamhandedly trying to make a distinction between Miller the vamp and Garland the sweet girl-next-door type.

      • luludexter

        absolutely I think they were.

      • sleah_in_norcal

        the girl next door with bad taste in dresses…and men.

      • Chris

        They are, but in so many movies she got the ugliest costumes in the ugliest colors. In “Meet Me In St. Louis” she got some pretty ones and some real stinkers. The Harvey Girls is probably one of the few movies where she actually had pretty clothes the whole time.

        • Dandesun

          And the biggest puffed sleeves ever! Anne Shirley would have been dying of envy.

          • Chris

            Anne of Green Gables reference! Let’s be friends!!

      • Dandesun

        That did tend to be the role Judy played. She wasn’t ever really cast as the glamorous lead. She was the ‘girl next door’ who could belt out a number like nobody’s business.

    • luludexter

      Vincente Minelli saw her beauty and brought it out in the movies he made with her. But she was so often cast as the not-pretty girl of substance that the hero falls in love with in spite of himself (starting with Andy Hardy). Couldn’t have been easy growing up around Lana Turner and others, but she was truly beautiful in a striking and original way.


        Yes, I think Judy Garland was never more beautiful than in the Mack the Black number in The Pirate. In fact, Minnelli was supposed to direct Easter Parade and did much of the preproduction work on it, until Judy told her psychiatrist (who told Louis Mayer) that Judy didn’t want to work with her husband any more; so he was replaced by Charles Walters. Also, Gene Kelly was originally supposed to play the male lead in Easter Parade, as he did in The Pirate, but he had to be replaced after he broke his leg at one of his regular Sunday baseball games. From what I’ve read (and I believe the film reflects) the ultra-professional Astaire did not at all enjoy working with Garland, whom he felt was irresponsible, whereas Kelly was truly fond of her and felt he owed her his stardom from the way she guided him through his first film, Busby Berkeley’s For Me and My Gal.

        • Agent Sculder

          Actually it was a volleyball game. He got so angry about losing, he injured himself, and MGM desperately brought in Fred Astaire who had “retired”. I can believe that Fred didn’t have a lot of patience with Judy. She had a so many issues, and I don’t think Fred was used to having a co-star who wasn’t always ready to work when he was. He didn’t always get on with Ginger either. Her mom was her manager, and she had a lot of control over how Ginger dressed. She once insisted Ginger wear a gown covered in ostrich feathers that kept flying off during a dance number and it made Fred NUTS.

          • Chris

            It was the feathered gown from “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” in Top Hat. They actually dragged out her old gown from The Continental dance in “The Gay Divorcee” and tried to get her to rewear it but she was having none of that. They filmed it with the ostrich feather gown, Astaire got feathers all over him but it looked so great when he saw it on film he later sent Ginger a feather shaped charm with a note that said “feathers I love ya.” By Easter Parade he must have resigned himself to ostrich feather dresses.

        • Columbinia

          I’ve read the opposite, that Astaire was fine with Garland. In fact, he was willing to work with her again. She was later slated for “Royal Wedding” with Astaire, but dropped out.

          There are several different stories about Kelly’s injury. And Ann Miller got Cyd Charisse’s role when she dropped out of “Easter Parade.”

          • DALE WITTIG

            I’ve read the Astaire quote where he said what great fun it was working with Judy. It can be found on the internet and sounds like basic PR-speak. On the other hand I read numerous biographies of Garland and Astaire while doing research for a project many years ago which made it very clear that it wasn’t the sort of working relationship that Fred enjoyed. (It doesn’t mean that he didn’t like her personally or that he hated her or refused to ever work with her again.) Garland and Astaire were paired two more times by MGM; first in the Barkleys of Broadway, from which she dropped out for “health reasons”; the second time in Royal Wedding she didn’t show up as scheduled, was suspended by the studio, and when her friend Carlton Alsop was unable to get her reinstated, she made a half-hearted attempt at suicide by slashing her own throat (without doing much physical damage, but to much publicity in the press.)

    • Gayer Than Thou

      It really does seem like MGM decided “not quite as pretty as some of the most beautiful women on the planet” = “a hideous troll,” and costumed her accordingly. I do also wonder about the toll that all those studio-supplied drugs, even then and long before, took on her looks.

    • NurseEllen

      I think they just didn’t know how to handle her……I saw an interview once where she said that the scene in A Star Is Born where studio hair and makeup people transform her into an unrecognizable nobody was pretty much how she was treated at MGM, at least until Minnelli came along. Look on you tube for a video of her on the old Jack Paar show. She’s wearing a simple black sheath, short hair, pumps, and not a whole face full of makeup, and looks fantastic. And those legs….her best feature. She also tells a great story about filming Oz, and her comic timing is spot on.

  • ‘Becca’lise Deveaux

    I love love LOVE Ann Miller, but her two-tone hair in this movie drives me nuts.

    • sleah_in_norcal

      really, it’s hard to tell whether she’s wearing a black snood or not. and i hate those little french poodle curls sticking up in the front. she looks a little pin-headed.

      • ‘Becca’lise Deveaux

        IS it a snood? It drives me crazy regardless.

  • ellabob

    Oh dear god – what a fabulous thing to read on a sunday morning… I know every dance number …

  • iwittmann

    THANK YOU! I really missed Musical Mondays! 😀

  • Stefanie Argudo Mackenzie

    Oh, Thank You, Uncles, for this gift. Ive so missed Musical Mondays.

  • ovarB

    Happy clap for Musical Mondays!! Please Uncles…appease us Bitter Kittens and do a Diva face off like days of yore!! We can make it “Easter Parade” and have Judy Garland versus Ann Miller!

  • NurseEllen

    Every time I watch Ann Miller in “Shaking the Blues Away” I am amazed that the snood around her hair is not whipped right off her head and into the wings. Seriously, it must have been cemented into her skull.

    She and Eleanor Powell were truly the tap queens of Hollywood. If you appreciate this clip, watch Eleanor doing “Begin the Beguine” with Astaire in the movie “Broadway Melody of 1940”. Just amazing!

    • housefulofboys

      We so rarely have the opportunity these days to incorporate the word “snood” into our writing. I love it. Snood, snood, snood.

    • formerlyAnon

      Hey NurseEllen – how was the wedding? Did you feel pretty?

      • decormaven

        Inquiring minds want to know…

        • NurseEllen

          See above. And thanks for the “National Inquirer” memory!

      • NurseEllen

        The wedding itself was as elegant and beautiful as we expected. Great location, food, interesting guests, gorgeous bride. I think I looked fine (at least hubby and various others said so) but honestly I just couldn’t work up the proper “I am fabulous” attitude to make the ensemble a success for me. Plus even with a wrap I was cold most of the night….sleeveless is NOT good when it’s 50 outside. I did find a great you tube video on how to do cat eye makeup, though, and now feel fairly proficient.

        Thanks for asking! I love this group. Xo

        • formerlyAnon

          Too bad you weren’t feeling it, but if others (husbands might be being biased or tactful) commented favorably, I am sure you were well-turned out, if not making the splash you had been looking forward to. Here’s to future opportunities to deploy the cat eye!

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      I remember going to see the original “That’s Entertainment” with my mom,who grew up watching the Hollywood musicals, and Mom whispering in my ear comments about how fast Eleanor Powell could tap.

  • Kelley Hannafin

    I really miss these sorts of hysterically funny articles on TLo. The fashion critiques are nice, but outrageously funny articles like this are why I fell in love with y’all.

    • Topsalterie

      I am delighted by your success, guys. At the same time, as one of I’m sure many who have been reading since 2006, but only commenting in fits and starts and under many different names (really bad memory), I also enjoy the reprise of simpler and often memorably funny days.

  • Anna

    “Whenever we feel less-than-pretty, a little Ann Miller swirls around in her heads, spewing maribou feathers and reminding us that if you’ve got the right attitude, men will fall at your feet.”
    Duly noted. I will remember this from now on.

  • Frank_821

    Ah a chance to revisit Musical mondays-the precursor to Madstyles

    Every once in a while when I’m bored and need a pick me up, I search through the archives. The piece on Singing in the Rain alone keeps me going for hours

    Ann Miller’s character was beyond fabulous but man was she a primo narcisstic bitch

    And yes Astaire was the epitome of elegance and elan but it would always drive me crazy that he had a habit of flexing his wrists when it would be better to extend them out

    • alyce1213

      He was very self-conscious about his hands, which he felt were too large for the rest of his body, and flexing disguised it. It kind of became his signature thing, didn’t it?

      • Gatto Nero

        I never knew that! Interesting.
        A dancer’s hands can be the most expressive part of the body. It’s a pity that he felt that way about his.

      • Chris

        He used to tuck his two middle fingers in also to make his hand look smaller. He was very self conscious about them.

  • DawnMarie76

    Still unanswered : has anyone ever yet written a sonnet about an Easter bonnet? Sure, he COULD…

    • Judy_S

      I intended an Ode,
      But it turned to a Sonnet.
      It began a la mode
      (I intended an Ode)
      but Rose crossed the road
      In her latest new bonnet!
      I intended an Ode
      But it turned to a sonnet.
      —H.A. Dobson

  • luludexter

    Never that crazy about Ann Miller in general but her black and white ensembles in this film are truly to die for. And that hair – to dye for…

  • formerlyAnon

    Thank-you SO MUCH for re-posting this. Love it. I’ll watch any dreck in the world if it’s got dancing, pretty much, and this is way better than that.

    Gotta say, too old for her for sure, and no great looker, but I COMPLETELY endorse the choice of Fred over Peter Lawford. I mean, she’s SEEN Astaire dancing. Lawford’s a large goofy doofus next to Fred.

    Though I’ll almost always go for the skinny dude who can do a hip shimmy with his abs engaged over some looming, muscular athlete, so there’s that.

    Ironically, Ann Miller is a year younger than Judy, so boo you Fred for cradle robbing.

    • Alicia

      I saw ” I COMPLETELY endorse the choice of Fred over Peter Lawford” and thought “Of course she likes the skinny guy” 😉

      • formerlyAnon

        Yup. People who read these blog comments know more about me than any but one or two people in my “real life.”

    • boweryboy

      I think we have similar tastes in men. I’m not ashamed to admit that as a youngster I had a massive major crush on Fred Astaire (and kinda sorta still do now).

      • formerlyAnon

        Based on our comments over time, our tastes do overlap. SOMEbody has to like the skinny ones, right?

        • UsedtobeEP

          I like the skinny ones, too, although not so much Astaire.

          • boweryboy

            It’s the ears. There’s something about his ears that gets my motor running.

          • formerlyAnon

            Ha. People are so specific. I look at the bridge of the nose, then hips, hands and forearms.

      • alyce1213

        Fred Astaire has been the love of my life since I was about 7 years old. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

  • decormaven

    The hats in that movie….sigh. Look at the photo of Ann Miller’s hat in the restaurant, the one with the red ribbon accent under the brim. Talk about a crown! And her costumes… the best.

  • formerlyAnon

    Oh, and in my “Yay Fred Astaire” vein: It’s amazing to think he was 48 or 49 when this was filmed, and he’d been using that body hard for decades without benefit of the kind of sports medicine and therapy a dancer would have today. And then look at how he moves. Fucking amazing.

  • BlairBear

    She wasn’t ugly seems like a pretty harsh way to describe someone. I think she is beautiful no qualifiers needed.

    • Malia C.

      I read it more as a knock on Hollywood’s failure to style Judy in a way that played up what made her beautiful.

  • Malia C.

    Back in the early nineties, I met Ann Miller at Disney/MGM. She was probably around seventy, still confidently rocking black hair and red lips and I imagine if I’d dared ask, she’d have shown me that she still had her dance moves. In that moment she became a real icon to me – confident, sassy, glamourous at any age. Love her.

    • Dandesun

      One of the hotels on the Strip in Vegas has a bathroom with Hollywood icons in each stall.

      I was ridiculously excited to be peeing in the Ann Miller stall. I bragged about it to my sisters… one of them searched until she found Audrey Hepburn. The other had Garbo and didn’t realize it (I clearly had lapsed in my education there… but she totally knew who Ann was!)

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Such a great memory-thanks for sharing it-Ann Miller sounds fabulous.

  • Valdri8

    This just made my week.

  • Caitlin Rain

    Dear Uncles,
    it is always one of my great pleasures to introduce friends to your blog, and I usually start with Musical Mondays. I know you made it through most of the canon, but it would be an Easter (or whenever) miracle for this long-reading kitten if a stray Musical Monday came our way in the future.

  • Andrea

    I know you are both fabulous and in demand and famous now, but this does make me wax nostalgic for the days of Musical Mondays and Laura Bennett posts.

    Thanks for the trip in the not-so-wayback

  • Gaby

    The only redeeming thing about Snookie-Ukums is Judy Garland’s epic bitchface while singing it.

  • alyce1213

    Thank you for that clip, it’s a gem, and for your insight. You’re a dancer, I think, to know that.

    • VioletF.

      or a physical therapist or Alexander Technique teacher. Maybe all 3? Beautifully described, Topsalterie!

  • bitchybitchybitchy

    One thing I know for sure after watching the Shake All The Blues Away number: I really, really want to be Ann Miller in that number, and I suspect a lot of male viewers wanted to do her, too.

  • P M

    According to Jim Cagney, vaudeville stars were known for routines that were the height of efficient: if it didn’t serve a purpose, it wasn’t there. That’s probably what Astaire’s dancing style best represents (for better or worse).

    Also: WTF with Judy’s ugly costuming?? They really treated her like nice furniture at MGM, no? i.e work her hard with no appreciation and all.

    Also also: OMG but Judy needed to EAT – it pains me to see some of her movies, she looks emaciated :(.

  • Gatto Nero

    Very interesting observations, and great clip; thank you. Love the short bit where they partner in a waltz and then move into a swing number.
    I think you’re on to something re: Kelly’s contracted muscles and lack of isolation through the chest, back, and hips, and how he has to compensate for this. He powers through his steps; whereas Astaire is more fluid, his energy seems to flow naturally from his core, and his head and hands are more expressive. Very cool to see them side by side.

  • Therese Bohn

    Thanks Uncles for reposting this! I loved all your Musical Monday columns (I think that’s how I found you) and this one is so darn funny! No, I don’t know WHY MGM dressed her so badly here, and I hated that they insisted on slicking her hair back in EVERY SCENE. Maybe if was meant to make her look innocent, but it just made her boyish to me. And describing her first outfit as (UPS Maternity Uniform) is PRICELESS!

    I suspect this was the first MMon. to describe the ladie’s headwear as ‘Vagina Hats’ — a milestone in blog history. Watching old period musicals have never been the same for me since, and I’m grateful!

    If you ever bring Movie Monday’s back (even once a month. pleeeeeasse?), I would buy 3 copies of your book if you’d do
    The Pirate with Judy and Gene Kelly! (four words: Gene. Kelly. Pole. Dancing). C’mon, I know you want to!

    Gotta go now, Mad Men starting in 5 minutes! (Squeee!)

  • Columbinia

    So right. The Hollywood hair, makeup and clothes so rarely flattered Judy Garland in her adult musicals. The hair in “Meet Me in St. Louis” was a memorable horror. She was not bad looking, great little figure and long legs. Her best MGM look was when they put her in the long jacket, fishnets, heels and a pair of earrings in “Get Happy.” The 1960s were a better look for her, even when she looked slightly ravaged.

  • Evan

    I thought Judy looked beautiful in Oz and Meet Me in St. Louis, but maybe I’m biased because I fell in love with her at such a young age (Should have known I was gay then lol).

  • Kristi Puckett Carrillo

    Oh, I’ve missed this so. Completely 100% understandable why you can’t post these anymore, but they were a highlight of my week during a hard time. Thank you for that.

  • InterplanetJanetski

    I love that Ann Miller uses her dogs as fashion accessories in this movie, she has her maid pick out just the right color dog to match the dress she plans to wear. Also, the hat that she wears in the first Easter Parade in the movie is the one that he buys her in the opening dance number. She gets rid of him, but she keeps his fabulous present and wears it in the parade! What a self involved bitch! lolol

  • MRC210

    The “Snookie Ookums” montage, the audition and then the scene of Judy leaving the theater and making a date with Johnny while her cab waits have always seemed to come from another movie. This is pre-WW I, right? In every other scene women are wearing ankle-length hobble skirts but in these scenes Judy’s dresses are at the knee or just below. Stage costumes were racier than street dresses but these dresses aren’t even sexy, just 1930s short.

    Love the presents in the closing scene but I always want to yell out my local SPCA’s slogan at this time of year: “A bunny is a 10-year commitment! Go chocolate, not live!”

    • H2olovngrl

      We have a bunny. She is by far the best pet we have. She is four years old now and lives inside. So yes, prepare for the commitment, but some (not all) make lovely pets.

  • MilaXX

    When I’m in the right mood there is nothing like a cup of coca and wrapping up in a cuddly blanket to watch old musicals.

  • FridaStaire

    I do feel like I’m in my spiritual home today, here on this blog.

  • Tanya Wade

    I watched it yesterday, as I do every Easter. Because I need a little Ann Miller in my life. Thanks for the walk down memory lane….

  • Sunraya

    What really stuns me when I watch Fred Astaire is how much Michael Jackson moved like him, especially the lower body. They do that leg sliding way of moving from one move to the next. And hey, you can rip it off all you want, but if you don’t have the dance ability that Astaire did, you won’t be able to do it. And Jackson could dance.

    And Ann Miller – wow! I could watch her all day! Where are the women today, and men, who can sing, dance and act? Maybe a few, like Adele Dazeem, but not too many.

    Thanks for reposting! I love these posts!

  • Judy_S

    Thanks for this recap. I was remembering yesterday Easters at my grandma’s, watching this movie on their big (20″ I think) b/w TV set. I too adored Ann Miller, and I was in love with the Fella with an Umbrella, but A Couple of Swells was the number that allowed me to root for Hanna & Hewes. I watched it last night and it still tickles me.

  • DinnerIsServed1972

    Thank you for re-posting. It just isn’t Easter without Easter Parade!

  • MzzPants

    Why, you little seamstress! Are you scandalized?

    • H2olovngrl

      Wow, we remember their posts way too well! Mad Men convo between Betty and her bitchy stable friend. Season two. Thanks for making me smile. I still say that to my kids sometimes. They look at me like I am nuts.

  • LadyCelia

    Oh, I wish you’d bring back Musical Mondays!

  • AmeliaEve

    This is a very helpful insight. I, and most of the women I know, prefer Kelly, but most men I’ve asked like Astaire better. They tell me that Astaire is always cool, confident, and effortlessly in control. Kelly’s tension reads as passion to me. His taut muscles create a vibrant space around his body and it’s to imagine myself enclosed in that space with him, enfolded in those strong arms. Astaire’s loose, cool style may be a little too unconcerned — in the movies, when he falls in love it’s in his head, not his heart. When Kelly’s characters are smitten, he leads with his sternum and closes his eyes and fills the screen with his emotion.

    It may be that Astaire is more attuned to pure movement, but his dancing is all about the music — he isn’t acting when he’s dancing. Kelly communicates emotions and projects them outward in a way I never see from Astaire.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      I love them both, but for me I’d give a slight edge to Astaire, because I love that effortless quality of his dancing, all the while knowing that to give that quality took enormous skill and practice, practice, practice.

    • Topsalterie

      I agree completely, especially with your final sentence. Tension is a great attractor. Actors know this, probably better than anyone.

      As to Astaire, it’s that pure movement that caused Baryshnikov to say that Astaire gives dancers complexes, because he’s too perfect. He also pointed out that, unlike other great dancers such as Nijinsky, who can only be seen in photographs, Astaire was always there, on television, moving. Baryshnikov joked that when he same home from what he felt was a successful performance and turned on the television, there was Fred making him feel nervous all over again.

    • muzan-e

      From a person with literally no background in this stuff: Would I be wrong in saying that Astaire is a gifted and accomplished technician? I know nothing about dancing, but I’ve known musicians a-plenty who were technicians rather than – communicators, say. In both cases, the performances are almost ethereally perfect; in both cases the performer is very much playing to the audience. But one performer’s interest lies in the music itself, the other in what can be said with it.

      I don’t know if there’s any parallel here, but you all have me so curious.

      • AmeliaEve

        That is a really nice way to put it. Technician vs. Communicator.

  • Kitten Mittons

    Oh, I miss these! I secretly reread them every once in a great while. Happy Easter, all!

  • Lilithcat

    Oh, gosh, thank you!!! I have so missed Musical Mondays.

  • Julaine Haraden Morley


  • TFS8

    Yay!!! Musical Monday! Thank you TLo!!!! <3 from the BK that asked about them at the SF book event.

  • M_E_S

    Oh, how I miss these! It’s always fun to go back through the Musical Monday archive and laugh my ass off all over again. VAGINA HATS

  • Dandesun

    I brought this movie with me to my family’s Easter get together. My brother and one of my sisters commandeered the TV in order to watch hockey but he left at one point so I put ‘Easter Parade’ on. Friends were there who had never seen it, my youngest sister was remembering her favorite scenes (“is this the gookie scene? I love this!” — the scene where Judy makes the face in order to get attention from men on the street.) We all oohed and aahed over Ann’s outfits and II explained the vagina hat theory. It was wonderful. Mom came in and remarked at how young Peter Lawford was (and then told us he had polio so one of his arms was shorter than the other so he was always holding a prop in order to disguise it) and then lamented his fall from grace. “Alcholic… and he was married to a Kennedy and blew that…”

    It was a lovely Easter.

  • Dandesun

    Thank you so much for the break down here! The whole thing about Kelly’s back explains so much. The ‘Moses Supposes’ number in ‘Singin in the Rain’ is one that I’ve long puzzled over because Donald O’Conner just looks so much more fluid than Kelly and I couldn’t never understand why. Now I know.

    • Topsalterie

      That is a brilliant example. Thank you for propelling me towards watching that again. It is so obvious in that number.

  • ThaliaMenninger

    I’m all about Fred Astaire. Gene Kelly does nothing for me. I’m all over the artistic, the fluid, the smooth, the classy, over the athletic and muscular that was Gene. I mean, if you want someone dancing with Tom and Jerry, maybe pretending to be a baseball player or a heel, Gene Kelly was your man. But for the romantic “fall in love while you’re dancing,” nobody could touch Fred. I am not a big fan of Easter Parade or Daddy Long Legs, where he was paired with women he didn’t have great chemistry with and he was so much too old for. But with Ginger Rogers, Rita Hayworth, Cyd Charisse, even Audrey Hepburn (who, again, he was too old for, but at least their personas are better suited) he really makes it work.

  • trisker

    This is JUST brilliant, TLo! You MADE my Easter!

  • Lattis

    So, what I always love is that Ann Miller invented pantyhose. I saw her interviewed a thousand years ago when she was an old woman remembering her glory days. She said that she needed onstage hose and she rigged up some stockings to some knickers and voila . . . pantyhose were born. Just thought that was cool. Oh, and also Michael Nesmith’s mother invented white-out. Do I hear a chorus of “who is Michael Nesmith . . .what is white-out . . . what is a typewriter???” good god i feel old. : )

    • TFLS

      I heard Ms. Miller say in an interview that she danced “Shaking The Blues Away” with a fractured spine. She said they built the costume around her back brace.

      Now THATS dancing!

      • Lattis

        Holy moly. She was amazing.

  • Kate4queen

    Can I just say that this whole long fascinating conversation about musicals and Astaire and Kelly just warms my soul and makes me love all the BK’s so much. :)

  • HarryintheHollow

    ” Sit down, we’re going to pay Judy a compliment.”
    I’m going to pay her a bigger compliment – I think she’s a BETTER dancer than Ann Miller. Miller does more difficult moves, but Garland is much more graceful and musical and charismatic with her movement. Watch how quiet and still her upper body is in the Ziegfield audition number. Miller has chops, but her posture is horrible and her leg placement and stretch are unattractive too.

  • muzan-e

    Absolutely. Fascinating. Thank you (and everyone) so much: you’re making this come alive even for someone who knows utterly nothing about the art. And the clip is an amazing illustration; coming at it from what you’ve described here, they’re both amazing – and the difference is stunning.

  • Alloy Jane

    Sisters 1 & 3 are the Musical buffs, but as a musical person, I always thought the songs, while melodically or structurally interesting, or just plain entertaining, had ridiculous lyrics. Well, most songs in general have silly lyrics, so there’s that. And I love all the discussion regarding dance styles between Kelley and Astaire. As a kid, I always thought of Astaire as a muppet because he seemed so light and it was like someone was tossing him around.

  • antonialee

    I miss Musical Mondays and vagina hats so much!

  • DeTrop

    Cue the music: There’s an old superstition way down south…………Love, love,love Ann doing Shaking the Blues Away. I’ve been watching Easter Parade every year since TCM has played it and adore it. Thanks for your recaps and pics. I had a major crush on Peter Lawford back in the day. He really was drop-dead gorgeous and that lovely accent. I’ll exit to When That Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam, Alabam, Alabam……….

  • Harry

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  • ChelseaNH

    The origin of “vagina hat”!

    You know, I don’t think Hairspray ever got the Musical Monday treatment.

  • MissusBee

    Thanks for reposting! ‘UPS maternity uniform’ gets me every time.

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  • lillyvonschtupp

    I miss Musical Mondays. I really do.

  • DuBey2

    Am I the only one who hated Ann Miller’s dishwashing gloves (screaming yellow) in that awesome dance? I kept wishing they were blue or white. Sorry I’m so late to post- I only just found this and I had just watched Easter Parade for the 1st time ever! about a month ago. I agree with everything written here so brilliantly by TLo and the BKs: esp. about Kelly vs Astaire, and about the lousy styling they always gave Judy in movies. In fact she always appearsed tomboyish and asexual to me. But I did love her in that profile shot above in the white dress with the galactic white hat.