Monday, January 26, 2015

Herbert Stothart- Composer

Herbert Stothart ( Sept 11, 1885 - February 1, 1949 ) 

Herbert Stothart was one of the most distinguished film composers in Hollywood and justly so, for each and every one of the scores he wrote for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was sweeping, subtle and most importantly, fitting to the film that he was working on. 

Stothart grew fond of music as a child, when he was singing in a school choir in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While in college, he wrote a score for an amateur stage production which proved to be a success and this led to a full-time career as a composer in the vaudeville circuit. In 1917 he composed his first Broadway musical and by the mid-1920s had become one of the most successful musical composers. The music to Rose Marie, written in collaboration with Rudolf Friml, and the opera/ballet Song of the Flame, were two of his most popular compositions. 

Louis B. Mayer lured Stothart to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer shortly after the advent of talking pictures in the late 1920s and, within a few short years, Stothart became the studio's foremost film composer, being called upon to score the music to only their most prestigious productions. 

Stothart suffered a heart attack while vacationing in Scotland in 1947, but even this experience served to inspire him resulting in Heart Attack : A Symphonic Poem. He died shortly after of spinal cancer. Today, Stothart's legacy as one of the great Hollywood film composers is contestable among music lovers with many holding Stothart to blame for Max Steiner's Gone with the Wind score being passed over at the Academy Awards in 1939. 

Signature Style

Strings. Stothart strings to be precise. These beauties gave all of his music a lush, flowing tone which was occasionally punctuated with mellow horns. Like most Hollywood composers, Stothart frequently used leitmotifs from classical composers. Stothart shared some of his favorite musical elements in an article published in The New York Times on December 7, 1941:


"Bits of comedy can be heightened by little musical quirks in the woodwinds. Melodic violin strains heighten the effect of love scenes. Crashing chords and paraphrases of national anthems exalt an audience, as evidenced in Mutiny on the Bounty and Northwest Passage." 



The Noteworthy Five


Marie Antionette ( 1938 ) - A beautiful thematic composition. In this particular example, the music you hear is from the special premier overture, which was heard during the initial theatrical roadshow release. 

The Wizard of Oz ( 1939 ) - Stothart earned his one and only Academy Award for this iconic scoring, and he also became the first composer at M-G-M to win the golden statuette because of it. The use of the choir to produce the howling tornado winds is magnificent.

Random Harvest ( 1943 ) - A beautiful yearning theme, which accurately conveys the emotion that Greer Garson's character is experiencing. It is interpolated with the English wedding hymn O Perfect Love

National Velvet ( 1944 ) - When scoring a dramatic picture, Stothart believed that "a musical episode must be so presented as to motivate a detail of the plot and must become so vital to the story that it cannot be dispensed with." He illustrated this perfectly in his score to National Velvet

The Yearling ( 1947 ) - One of the best of Stothart's later works, the theme for The Yearling captured the experiences of a young fawn and the magic of the virgin woodland. Haunting spurts of choral voices echo like forest fairies. Strains of Frederick Delius' Appalachia: Variations on an Old Slave Song can also be heard within this score. 


Highlights of his Discography


  • Queen Christina ( 1934 )
  • David Copperfield ( 1935 ) 
  • Naughty Marietta ( 1935 )
  • Rose Marie ( 1936 ) 
  • The Good Earth ( 1937 ) 
  • Romeo and Juliet  ( 1937 ) 
  • The Firefly - he also composed the famous "Donkey Serenade" ( 1937 )
  • Waterloo Bridge ( 1940 )
  • Northwest Passage ( 1940 )
  • Mrs. Miniver ( 1942 )
  • The White Cliffs of Dover ( 1944 ) 
  • The Three Musketeers ( 1948 ) 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Nugget Reviews - 16


Canyon Passage ( 1946 ) 14k


A mule train owner is torn between his love for two women and his loyalty to his best friend, a shifty gambler. Dana Andrews, Susan Hayward, Brian Donlevy, Ward Bond. Universal Pictures. Directed by Jacques Tourneur.

That Ward Bond. He can be a really good "good guy" when he wants to and a really bad "bad guy" when it is called for. In Canyon Passage he was a brute. Dana Andrews has his deadpan face in place but managed to convey enough emotion to make you root for him to get his gal. Susan Hayward was looking pretty but the real star of the show was Umpqua national forest which was looking simply stunning thanks to Edward Cronjager's brilliant Technicolor cinematography. An engrossing - and highly underrated - western. 
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The Doctor Takes a Wife ( 1940 ) 18k


A best-selling author of a book for spinsters and a medical professor pretend to be married in order to benefit both of their careers.  Loretta Young, Ray Milland, Reginald Gardiner, Gail Patrick, Edmund Gwenn. Columbia Pictures. Directed by Alexander Hall. 

Throughout their careers, Young and Milland were excellent in comedic roles but they were in their daffiest prime for The Doctor Takes a Wife. A strong supporting cast and a very witty script by George Seaton and Ken Englund make this a delightful romp into screwball territory. Ray Milland's dash between the two apartments is a highlight of the film. 

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The Wizard of Oz ( 1939 ) 24k


After receiving a bump on her head, a young girl dreams that her farmhouse blows away into the land of Oz and lands on a wicked witch. Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan, Jack Haley. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Directed by Victor Fleming. 

It has been some years since we've seen The Wizard of Oz, and watching it again ( having forgotten a lot of the film ) made us realize just why this movie is so popular. Every once in awhile MGM would make a picture that has all of the right elements and they all come together beautifully...The Wizard of Oz was one of those rarities. Even more amazing than the casting/story/filmography is how good the special effects are! CGI just can't compare to the reality of a really good make-up job. Oddly enough, even on Blu-ray no strings show.
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Mrs. Mike  ( 1949 ) 18k


A Bostonian teenager falls in love with a Royal Canadian Mountie, marries him, and then finds that life in the wilderness is not what she expected. Dick Powell, Evelyn Keyes, Angela Clarke, Will Wright, J.M Kerrigan. Republic Pictures. Directed by Louis King. 

Benedict and Nancy Freedman's autobiographical romantic novel of their life and adventures in northern Canada was enjoyed by over 50 million readers and translated into 17 different languages. At the time of its publication it was the most widely read novel since "Gone with the Wind", so it is surprising that a little production company managed to snatch the rights to such a popular book and even more surprising that they turned it into such a good film. Mrs. Mike holds up well over repeat viewings and, although it is a simple story, it one that is told well and manages to capture the audiences undivided attention. 
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Saskatchewan ( 1954 )  14k 


A Mountie tries to convince the Cree Indians not to join with an approaching tribe of Sioux warriors, who intend on making war with the Mounties.  Alan Ladd, Shelley Winters, Jay Silverheels, Richard Long. Universal Pictures. Directed by Raoul Walsh.

Alan Ladd recycled his deer-pelt frontier coat for this late-1800s adventure romp in western Canada. Although he looked great in the duds, his character lacked the "hero-punch" that Shane had and quite frankly, Sergeant O'Rourke fell flat. Winters was pretty good as the brazen hussy who seduces Dudley Doright right into getting himself into a pokey, but other than that the only thing this film had going for it was the beautiful location scenery of Banff National Park. Saskatchewan was also released under the title O'Rourke of the Royal Mounted.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sonja Henie - A Cutting Edge Millionaire

Sonja Henie, the dimple-faced Norwegian skating sensation of the 1930s, shot to stardom when she appeared in her first motion picture for 20th Century Fox - One in a Million - in 1936. In less than a year she became the eighth most popular actress at the box office, but according to a Motion Picture article* she declared "I'd rather be first". 

This little spit-fire was not just a pretty face on the screen, she had a heart set on fire with ambition. Henie was keen on winning not only gold medals but a lasting legacy in the world of skating.

"I want to do with skates what Fred Astaire is doing with dancing". 

The Queen of Ice also had a shrewd business sense that made her harder than the ice she skated on when it came to sealing a financial deal, but did the limelights of Hollywood turn this country-cutie into a golden-eyed Scrooge. Was she "money-mad"? Let's take a look at what author Roger Carroll wrote about this topic in this ( slightly abridged ) republication of his January 1939 article for Motion Picture magazine : 

Is Sonja Henie Money-Mad? Sonja has been earning money for little more than two years. Yet, today, she is earning more money than any other woman alive. What's behind her apparent determination to be absolute tops financially?


When Sonja Henie started to skate, at seven, she skated for fun. At eight, she won her first skating title. After that, she skated for applause, for achievement's sake. Magically, she won title after title — until, at 23, she had won more than anyone else ever had. But she was not content. She wanted to form one more magic feat, wanted to turn her silver skates into gold. 

And she has. 

[Henie] has a contract to do two pictures a year for five years at 20th Century-Fox. Her starting salary was at least $125,000 a picture. It must be more now. With her first picture, she became one of the top ten box-office stars. It's a cinch that she asked for a raise after that. 

But let's be conservative. Let's say that her movie earnings are only $250,000 a year. Figured on a yearly basis, that would be a salary of $5,000 a week. A nice, cozy little sum — more than most stars earn. But Sonja crowds all of her movie-making into twenty weeks, ten to a picture. That makes her movie salary something more like $12,500 a week. A staggering sum. The absolute tops. 

And it's fair to figure that way because Sonja doesn't stop earning when the cameras stop turning. She doesn't sit back and relax, waiting for her next picture to go into production. She treats herself to a real vacation onlv once a year, spending a few weeks in her native Norway. The rest of the time, she adds to her bank balance with exhibition tours. 

Her first big tour, made after her first picture, grossed her $327,500. Before she started her last tour, she had a guarantee of $800,000. Before starting her present tour, which is more ambitious and includes several cities she has never appeared in before, she had a guarantee of $2,000,000! Deduct her expenses — costumes, traveling, living in the best hotels, paying the salaries of a troupe of sixty (the chorus boys and girls get $75 a week or better, while a few featured members get more) — and take a flying guess at what Sonja's remaining slice is. It's breathtaking. 

It makes her movie dollars look like dimes. 

And she has still other sources of income. Radio appearances, for example. She doesn't make these gratis. Then there are commercial endorsements. With one or two exceptions, she has never taken her payment in trade or in publicity. She has taken her payment in cash. One of the exceptions was the time that she endorsed a car. And then she received not one car, but two. Why is she so ambitious in an income way? Why is she constantly striving to increase her earnings, when they are overwhelming already? Is she money-mad?

She may have muscles as hard as steel, but Sonja herself isn't hard. Her eyes are a soft brown. She has a soft voice. She has never sacrificed the softly-rounded curves of femininity to athletics. Her twinkling smile is only one symptom of her sunny disposition. She is unassuming. She is friendly. She is natural, devoid of poses. 

It's hard to believe that such a girl could have an insistent urge for money, and yet more money. But there are those fabulous figures, becoming more fabulous all the time. And not only does she seem to be working tirelessly to get more money, she seems to hang on to it. 

No one questions Sonja's smartness. Yet up she shoots her earnings, farther and farther. Out of every thousand she earns, past a certain point, she will be able to keep only a few dollars. The tax collector will take the rest. But, apparently, she wants even those few dollars badly enough to work hard for them. Why? She can't be haunted by memories of a poverty-stricken past or by fears of a penniless future. Money isn't something new to her. Only the experience of earning it is. 


The Henies were wealthy before Sonja ever went to work. For more than eighty years, the family has been famous as fur merchants in Oslo. For generations, they have been furriers to royalty, including the royalty of England. Her older brother, Leif, is now carrying on the prosperous business that their father, Wilhehm, inherited from his father. It was partly the Henie wealth that made Sonja's career possible. The late Wilhehm Henie was able to afford the best trainers for his daughter. 

Sonja didn't find the road to Fame easy. To get there, she had to train day in day out, for years on end, constantly struggling to improve. But — her struggle didn't have any financial complications. If she never had earned a cent, she still could have lived in comfort, for the rest of her life.She didn't have to turn professional. But, now that she has, is she hounded by the fear of the professional athlete of having only a little while in which to cash in on athletic ability? 


Constant conditioning takes an early toll of athletes. Perhaps she has thought of this. Perhaps this is what has made her decide to get all that she can, while she can. . . But this is doubtful. If she were afraid, at twenty-five, of wearing out by the time she's thirty, wouldn't she be conserving her energy to last as long as possible? Instead, Sonja is working more feverishly, more strenuously, than ever. So strenuously that recently, for the first time, she has had to have massages to relax her muscles and her nerves. 

Perhaps she has believed some of the assertions that her popularity is a "fluke," that it can't last, that she is a novelty who will cease to be popular the moment she ceases to be a novelty. But this, too, is doubtful. No athlete, either male or female, has ever made the movie splash that she has made. Plenty of them have had screen chances. And, in most cases, the fans have been satisfied after one look. Not so, in Sonja's case. She has something more than an athletic specialty that appeals to audiences. 

For one thing, she is unusually attractive for a girl athlete, both in face and figure. She has coquettish charm and warm personality. And Darryl Zanuck thinks enough of her acting ability to have considered casting her as an outdoor girl who does everything but skate. 

She doesn't have to rush to cash in before the public gets tired of her skating. The public hasn't shown the first signs of getting tired. Quite the contrary. 

Sonja is just intent on collecting a large amount of mazuma. Right now. Without delay. 


For all her income, Hollywood hasn't seen her spend much there but time. Except in the very beginning. She tossed money around a bit then. She rented a pretentious white house furnished in white ; acquired an all-white wardrobe; and drove around in a swanky white open car with red-leather cushions. Then, having captured Hollywood's attention, she rented an auditorium for $800 and put on a skating exhibition that netted $2,500. Out of that exhibition came big movie offers. All of her spending had been in the nature of an investment. Good business, as it were. 

She hasn't had to spend like that since. And she hasn't spent like that since. She doesn't have a home of her own in Hollywood. She rents. Not by the year, but for three-month terms. The three months she is in Hollywood at a time. They aren't magnificent mansions. The last house didn't have a swimming pool. Sonja likes to swim. But no pool, no extra rent. 

Hollywood, seeing little evidence to the contrary, is convinced that Sonja's funds are in the same place as Leif's furs. Cold storage. 

She has a reputation for being generous with the people who do things with her, and overlooking the people who do things for her. She has lavished gifts upon Tyrone Power. She gives things to her directors and fellow-players. During one picture she gave every member of the chorus a sweater to slip on after rehearsals and routines. Yet waitresses in the Cafe de Paris, the studio commissary, relate that "Miss Henie never leaves a tip." They don't say "almost never." 

There are numerous tales of her overlooking tips....too many of these stories for some of them not to be true. 

Not long ago, she told a friend, bewilderedly, "Everybody seems to think I don't think of anything but money." She said she knew how the stories began. When she first came to America, she engaged a lawyer to advise her financially. He put the fear of God into her about income tax. He said she must keep an accurate account of all the money she earned, because she couldn't leave the country at any time unless she had paid her tax in full. With that worry on her mind, she started going around to the box-office after exhibitions, to ask : "How much tonight?" She thought nothing of it, except as something necessary to do. But newspapermen, trailing her around, thought plenty of it. They printed that she asked at the box-office every night, "How much?" that started what Sonja calls a misimpression. 

She would deny until Doomsday that she is money-mad. Yet she holds on to her money as few stars do, and is working tirelessly for more. What other explanation can there be?

The authorized Sonja Henie life story put out by her studio, contains this little revelation: "After Sonja had won her second Olympic championship, she continued her training so she could attempt the highest honor of all time in the sporting world — she was determined to win more championships than any other' person, man or woman, in the history of any sport." 

She carried out that determination. In the world of skating, she became the all-time champion. The undisputed Queen of the Ice. When she turned professional, too "take her dancing on ice to all parts of the world," she didn't intend to be any less a Queen. She felt that she had earned the title for keeps, after all those years of training, all those championships. And she felt that she should rate an income befitting her title. She determined that she would never work for less than anyone else in her profession. 

She determined that she would strive for more. That determination was easily fulfilled. Sonja had to find a new determination. She thrives on working toward a distant, difficult goal. 

And I think that the new determination became : To earn more money than any athlete, or any actor or actress, had ever earned before. To become the all-time champion financially, as well as otherwise. 

Certainly that would explain her constant efforts to increase her already phenomenal income. It would explain her seeming money madness. She has never felt any need, and is never likely to feel any need — except the need for the thrill of being the tops. 

She did get a swimming pool!

Something that makes me feel that my guess may be correct is a remark that someone at the next table overheard Sonja make in a night-club the other night. She was talking with her agent about a radio offer. She wasn't too sold on its terms. Into the club just then walked Barbara Stanwyck with Robert Taylor. Sonja, following Barbara with her eyes, asked her agent, "How much does she get when she goes on the radio?" 

Sonja wouldn't take less.

                        ________________________________________________

Had this article been written just one year later, author Roger Carroll would have changed his tune.....Sonja Henie built a huge white manor across from Sunset Boulevard where she remained in blissful retirement from the film industry till she passed away at the age of 57 in 1969. Henie kept her art collection on display in this palatial abode and not only did the house boast a swimming pool, but a skating rink as well - in the attic! 

* Motion Picture magazine article dated August 1938. 

A special thanks to the Audio/Visual Conservation project of the Library of Congress for scanning past issues of the Motion Picture magazines and to the Internet Archive for making these scans available ( and searchable! ) to the public for reading. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Set Design - The Courtship of Eddie's Father ( 1963 )

2015 is kicking off in a nice relaxing way. Sales with our business have finally slowed down and we have been able to savor the pleasure of re-viewing favorite films, one of which is this gem from 1963 - The Courtship of Eddie's Father starring Glenn Ford and based upon the best-selling novel of the same name. Mark Toby's book was such a hit when it was published in 1961 that Vincente Minnelli snatched hold of the screen rights and plunged into making this lush and lovely adaptation the next year. 

The Courtship of Eddie's Father tells the story of a young boy, Eddie ( Ron Howard ), who tries to steer his recently widowed father's attention away from Rita, the skinny-eyed brunette ( Dina Merrill ) he is currently dating to Elizabeth, the wide-eyed blonde across the hall from their apartment ( Shirley Jones ), in the hopes that she would be his new mother. Although the poster advertisements for the film give the impression that Eddie is lining up three women for his dad, only two really come into play...the curvaceous red-headed Dolly Daly ( Stella Stevens ) and his favorite, Elizabeth. Rita just snuck in like any busty no-good villainous woman. 

Glenn Ford is marvelous as Tom Corbett, the flustered father, and he plays this part with a gentle bewilderment that is really quite appealing. Ford and Minnelli had worked well together a year prior making Four Horsemen of the Acopolyse, so it is no wonder that Minnelli lassoed him into making another film together. 


Ron Howard took a break from playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show to make The Courtship of Eddie's Father and he was re-teamed with Shirley Jones, whom he had worked with in The Music Man ( 1960 ). 

Unlike our regular Movie/TV set series, in which we cover just one main house set, our Set Design series features all the sets in any given film ( or at least, most of them ). Taking the screenshots for The Courtship of Eddie's Father was a sheer delight so be prepared to be swamped with images for this outing. 


In total, there were over nine sets constructed : the interior of the Corbett apartment, the apartment hallway and Miss Marten's apartment ( these were all on one large set ), the outer and inner offices of Corbett's work environment, Norman's radio lair, the bowling alley ( this was probably filmed at a nearby bowling lane but we're lost as to which one ), the jazz club, the fancy restaurant, another fancy restaurant, the arcade, Eddie's camp cabin, and finally, Miss Behren's apartment.

Let's look at them in more detail one at a time, starting with the location settings : 

The Arcade :

Things are slowly getting back to normal after Eddie's mother dies. The newly-hired "sleep-out" housekeeper, Mrs. Livingston arrived to take the helm of the housework and Eddie just returned from his first day back at kindergarten. To celebrate, Pop and son took in one of those western flicks where they cheat with the horses and are now ready to enjoy some dandy Chinese food when this eye-catching window display flashes out at Mr.Corbett. 



He decides they should play a few rounds of skee-ball before supper...which they never do, for they meet Dolly Daly instead. She wants to borrow his son to have a tie painted. You never know where mashers may be hiding, so she says. This doesn't look like their kind of hide-out ( unless they are of the teenage variety ), but the art directors did a great job of capturing that noising arcade feel in these scenes. 

Corbett's Office 


Tom Corbett works as a program manager when he is not playing skeet-ball with Eddie, but while away during his mourning period, Norman - the station's star disc jockey - gets carried away with his smooth-talk on the air, much to the chagrin of Tom.


Corbett's office was designed in typical New York City corporate style and it was several years ahead of its time in terms of color combinations and that wood grained look. 


Corbett's extra large speaker system can be seen in our sloppy image pastiche of his private office. We had two of those speakers built into the wall-to-wall fireplace of our house when we were growing up. Our father never used them however, so he removed the speakers and now they are bookshelves. Never let anyone tell you that ingenuity is not the best ingredient to great design. 


After Corbett gave Norman a mild warning about using the radio to pick up dates, he introduced him to Dolly Daly hoping he'd find a task for her to help her build her self-esteem. All she really needed to do that trick was find Norman, so this happy twosome went off on a double date to the local bowling alley with Corbett and Rita, a fashion editor.


I doubt the bowling alley was a set, but judging from the great design of the other The Courtship of Eddie's Father settings, it may well be. In this scene we get a glimpse of the feminist side of Rita Behren, who wants no man walking in front of her on her path through life. Artificial plants are a requisite in dining area sets and this one blends in nicely with the textured wallpapered decor. 


Norman and Dolly sneak off to a jazz club to have some chit-chat and Norman asks the musicians to let Dolly have a whirl at the drums...to help her with her self-esteem issue. The popular Italian character actor, Vito Scotti, makes an appearance as a clarinet player in the John LaSalle jazz combo. This set, as well as the restaurant below, are reused in a later scene when Corbett takes Rita on the town. 


When Eddie meets Rita for the first time it is at this very formal restaurant, which puts Eddie in a defensive mood. He doesn't like Rita. But I like the set. 


This lovely restaurant - or dancing pavilion - only appears for a few seconds near the end of the film, when Corbett is wooing Rita. Those lovely glass windows remind me of the set in The Happiest Millionaire ( 1967 ) during the "Are We Dancing?" number. 

Rita's Apartment 


Corbett doesn't spend much time at Rita's apartment and it is just as well, the rooms are decorated in a eclectic mix of modern New York, french traditional and ancient Japanese. Odd as the combinations seem ( along with the wild purple walls! ) it actually works. At least, for Rita. 


Here are some more potted artificial plants. Rubber trees always look good in apartments, even those that have purple walls. 

Elizabeth's Apartment 

The cameras do not get to linger around too much at Elizabeth's apartment either - Tom Corbett doesn't even step foot in her domain - but you can see what a great contrast the art directors set up between her and Rita's rooms. 


While Elizabeth's room is still very feminine, it is much more warm and inviting...like Shirley Jones' character. Speaking of the maestros - the art direction for The Courtship of Eddie's Father was handled by George W. Davis and Urie McCleary, two exceptional designers who did a slew of great films throughout the 1940s -1970s. 


Davis did the marvelous designs for the San Diego lake-view house in A Ticklish Affair, which was released the same year as Courtship. Shirley Jones had two minor hits in '63 with these films.  The kitchen/bathroom is never shown in Elizabeth's apartment but I think we can assume that it is off to the left of that plush white sofa. Being a single girl, she lives in a one bedroom suite. 

Corbett's Apartment

Now for the creme de la creme, the main set of the film - Corbett's apartment. This two bedroom pad was situated at the end of a short hallway on the sixth floor of a building right smack in the heart of New York. Corbett had a good job so this place probably cost him a pretty penny. It, too, is not very masculine, probably owing to the fact that Eddie's mother stayed at home most of the time and so that was her realm. 

Let's start off with the kitchen : 


The film begins with a harried Corbett making a last-minute breakfast for his little boy before whisking Eddie off to kindergarten. Take a look at the Oatmeal packaging on the table. It hasn't changed in 40 years. 


While he is doing this he is listening to Norman cooing on the radio and decides to make note of an action that needs to be done - STOP NORM. These rolling telephone notepads were very common in the 1960s. Our dad told us that making this was a common woodshop project in high school. This one, of course, is made with plastic. 


Mrs. Livingstone ( Roberta Sherwood ) is seen here whipping up some goodies for the children during Eddie's birthday party. This was Sherwood's first and only film appearance, although she made a handful of TV guest spots. She was a country singer by trade but did a swell job acting as Mrs. Livingston. 


When she first arrives she marvels over Corbett's modern kitchen layout.."A dishwashing machine and a garbage disposal! You better watch out for the floozies. Why, there's women who would marry you this very minute for the equipment you have in this apartment"

All the finishing touches and little items in the kitchen, as well as throughout the apartment, are courtesy of the talents of the set decorators, Keogh Gleason and Henry Grace. Both fellows were favorites of George W Davis. 

Henry Grace worked with Davis on the sets for Designing Woman ( 1959 ), Bells are Ringing ( 1960 ), The Time Machine ( 1960 ), Bachelor in Paradise ( 1961 ) and How the West Was Won ( 1962 ) among many many others. 


There aren't many hallways in Corbett's apartment, owing to it being only two bedrooms to begin with, but this is one of the hallways and it is just off to the right of the sofa. Eddie's room is the first door, across is a bathroom or closet, and at the end of the hall - Tom's room, which is connected with Eddie's. 


The Corbett's were avid TV lovers, or else that television-on-a-stand got moved from room to room. It's first seen in Tom's bedroom, then in Eddie's and finally in the living room when Tom watches Mogambo one lonely night. 



This is the only glimpse we get to see of the bathroom and it looks like it is the only masculine decorated room in the apartment. The double sink and window view is great. Tom is more concerned with getting the painted wristwatch off of Eddie's arm. 


Eddie's room is very neatly cluttered with toys that any 6 year-old boy would have screamed for back in 1963. If the kid wasn't happy with what he had here, he certainly was after his birthday....



...when he was given Astro Base (!), a fighter jet, and the Robby the Robot toy ( from Forbidden Planet ). In this scene Eddie is complimenting this dad on being "swell..All the kids thought so.". Hefty praise from a little one. 


During Eddie's birthday party Ronnie Howard's little brother Clint makes an appearance as an Indian chief. We also get to see the balcony as it looked in the daylight. 


The Courtship of Eddie's Father was the first time Minnelli teamed up with producer Joe Pasternak. They made a great team and this is one of those films where all the little details just fall into place beautifully. 


The film has a lot of heart and there isn't one scene I would change. No matter how many times I watch it, I laugh and cry and smile during all the same spots. These are a few of those spots : Elizabeth bringing her fudge ( "riddled with nuts" ), and Eddie finishing off the cha-cha-cha ( "You missed it! ). Just darling. 


On second look, that is a different television set. It's also unusual that this apartment would have two sliding doors leading out to the same small balcony. 


Summer Camp 


The camp that Eddie attends is not nearly as nice as the one the twins go to in The Parent Trap ( 1961 ), but it sure is a lot more idyllic than any today. Eddie shares his cabin with Mike, a blonde haired kid who likes axes obviously. 


The cabin looks like it is just a small hut, but in a later scene - when Eddie runs away - we get a glimpse of Tom being ushered into the bathroom by the camp leader ( Ron Howard's father ) to answer a phone call and it appears that it may be connected to a larger building. I like thinking it is just a small cabin however. 

Well, that wraps up another Set Design post. We hope you enjoyed this look at The Courtship of Eddie's Father sets and if you haven't seen the film yet, then take a gander as this little known gem. 
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