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Musicals: Articles


Roy Rogers & 'Under Western Stars': Remembering Singing Cowboy's 'Socialist' Western

Roy Rogers, Singing Cowboy of 1940s and 1950s Hollywood. Known for his affable characterizations and, both on and off screen, “traditional values” stance, the King of the Cowboys – step aside, John Wayne & Gene Autry – toplined the “subversive” 1938 musical Western Under Western Stars. Sound bites: Remembering Roy Rogers & 'subversive' singing cowboy movie 'Under Western Stars' It is a typically hot day in Palm Springs on May 5, 2001, as I sit outside the Palm Springs Museum at the invitation of Roy Rogers' oldest daughter, Cheryl, while a star in his remembrance is placed on the sidewalk in front of the building. I am seated next to Ruth Terry, a lady with whom I am totally unfamiliar, […]


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Roy Rogers & 'Under Western Stars': Remembering Singing Cowboy's 'Socialist' Western



Fred Astaire Movies: Dancing in the Dark, on the Ceiling and with Ginger Rogers

Fred Astaire ca. 1935. Fred Astaire movies: Dancing in the dark, on the ceiling on TCM Aug. 5, '15, is Fred Astaire Day on Turner Classic Movies, as TCM continues with its “Summer Under the Stars” series. Just don't expect any rare Astaire movies, as the actor-singer-dancer's star vehicles – mostly RKO or MGM productions – have been TCM staples since the early days of the cable channel in the mid-'90s. True, Fred Astaire was also featured in smaller, lesser-known fare like Byron Chudnow's The Amazing Dobermans (1976) and Yves Boisset's The Purple Taxi / Un taxi mauve (1977), but neither one can be found on the TCM schedule. (See TCM's Fred Astaire movie schedule further below.) Fred Astaire and […]


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Fred Astaire Movies: Dancing in the Dark, on the Ceiling and with Ginger Rogers



Ron Moody: From Dickens to Disney (But No Harry Potter)

Ron Moody as Fagin in 'Oliver!' based on Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist.' Ron Moody as Fagin in Dickens musical 'Oliver!': Box office and critical hit (See previous post: “Ron Moody: 'Oliver!' Actor, Academy Award Nominee Dead at 91.”) Although British made, Oliver! turned out to be an elephantine release along the lines of – exclamation point or no – Gypsy, Star!, Hello Dolly!, and other Hollywood mega-musicals from the mid'-50s to the early '70s.[1] But however bloated and conventional the final result, and a cast whose best-known name was that of director Carol Reed's nephew, Oliver Reed, Oliver! found countless fans.[2] The mostly British production became a huge financial and critical success in the U.S. at a time when star-studded […]


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Ron Moody: From Dickens to Disney (But No Harry Potter)