17 April 2007

Hooray For Hollywood

"Art for the sake of art."

On April 17 in 1924, Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Company merged to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, or MGM. By the early 1930s, MGM was the most prestigious, glamorous, and financially successful studio in Hollywood, maintaining a stable of stars that included Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, James Stewart, and Elizabeth Taylor.

To understand why this is a significant date, you need to know that I was the only child of divorced parents who moved constantly. As a result, a great deal of time was spent "at the movies". This wasn't the modern multiplex of in and out in under three hours. This was an all day event of newsreels, travelogues, short subjects, coming attractions, latest episode of a serial, two cartoons, two movies, and an invitation to visit the lobby during the intermission. This was what I did on Saturday and Sunday. Most children have home towns and childhood friends. I had MGM, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox.

The impact of this is best typified by a glance at my DVD collection. These are the favorite MGM movies (Paramount and 20th would be equally long) made between 1944 when I was born to 1961 when I married that are important enough to have gone from tape to DVD simply because they are the dearest of childhood friends.

Meet Me in St. Louis, Anchors Aweigh, The Harvey Girls, The Pirate, Easter Parade,Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Neptune's Daughter, On The Town, Annie Get Your Gun, Royal Wedding, Show Boat, An American In Paris, Singin' In The Rain, The Band Wagon,Kiss Me Kate, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, The Student Prince, Brigadoon, Athena, Kismet, High Society, Silk Stockings, Gigi, and Bells Are Ringing.

How could you not believe anything is possible after watching Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling.


Sandee said...

Oh I remember all of these too. What a wonderful time. When movies where movies and decent. What a wonderful time. I too remember going to the movies with my parents and it was a big deal. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. You have the most informative posts :)

Linda said...

I love all the old musicals - especially some of the ones you named there! Howard Keel was pretty danged hot in "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (much hotter than he was in "Dallas"!) and how can someone not love "Singing in the Rain"?? I am a real sucker for the original "An Affair to Remember" and the Alfred Hitchcock movies. Hooray for Hollywood indeed!

Durward Discussion said...

The only reason Seven Brides didn't get mentioned is that it was Paramount. Howard Keel was a particular favorite of mine in that and in Kismet. Also because he sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" to a hospital full of kids with polio including my stepsister. He was quite a man.

Linda said...

What a wonderful thing for him to do! That had to be so memorable! I forgot to mention how much I liked him in "Kiss Me Kate", too. They just don't make actors of his caliber anymore.

Travis Cody said...

I love that video clip - it's one of my favorite of Fred's dances.

Anonymous said...

Kiss Me Kate! Singin' In The Rain, Seven Brides...!, Brigadoon! Annie Get Your Gun!
I WANT your dvd collection!