Hollywood Singing and Dancing


Stars, Stripes and Singing: The 1940's

"Hollywood Singing and Dancing" is a thirteen-part series that takes you on the set of some of the most beloved movie musicals of all time. Memorable interviews with stars and people behind the scenes bring Tinseltown to life. Starting in the silent era, the series moves through Hollywood's toe-tapping golden years, the iconoclastic 70s and 80s, and ends at the start of the 21st century.

AIRED: January 21, 2020 | 0:52:55




Woman: Entertainment.

Sheer, wonderful, uplifting, happy entertainment.


You can't think of anything else,

all your troubles just disappear.

♪ Clang, clang, clang went the trolley ♪

♪ Ding, ding, ding went the bell ♪

Minnelli: We invented musical films.

Hollywood invented Hollywood.

♪ I saw him I fell

The '40s musicals were terrific.

♪ He's a Yankie Doodle Dandy

♪ A Yankee Doodle, do or die

MacLaine: One of the big things America has to offer the world

is American musicals.

They don't do them anywhere else.

♪ New York, New York, a wonderful town ♪

♪ The Bronx is up, and the Battery's down ♪

♪ The people ride in a hole in the groun' ♪

America has always said everything

with music and dancing.

♪ Do-si-do around

♪ It's very romantic

♪ Do si do

Rooney: "Babes in Arms," "Strike Up the Band,"

"Girl Crazy," with music that you could hear the lyrics.

Woman #2: Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire,

Cyd Charisse,

all that fabulous Hollywood musicals.

♪ To the end of the line

♪ Went my heart

♪ Oh ooh




If there's one thing that's a true American original,

it's the Hollywood movie.

And if there's a shining example of this art form

it's the movie musical.

It can enchant, inspire, and, for a few hours, transform us.

Over 550 movie musicals were produced during the 1940s.

Quite an accomplishment for a country

caught in the turmoil of war.

They brought joy to millions during a dark period,

they could make you hum,

tap your feet, and, above all, dream.

No wonder Hollywood was a place

to find singing and dancing in the '40s.


It was a golden era -- golden-haired girls,

glamorous acts,

and glorious times of patriotism.

Having pushed past the depression of the '30s,

the U.S. was feeling rather heady by 1940.

The average life expectancy of an American was 64 years old,

the average salary a whopping $1,900 a year.

And while Europe was feeling

the effect of Hitler's conquests,

here in the States, the big band sound grabbed our attention

and wouldn't let go.

Harry James left Benny Goodman's orchestra

and formed his own band

and hired an unknown singer named Frank Sinatra.

And the mood of the country was definitely on an upbeat swing.

Hollywood mirrored this exuberance

and rested solidly on the shoulders of giants

named Paramount, RKO, 20th Century Fox,

Warner Bros., MGM, and Universal.

Fresh from the tremendous success of 1939's

"Gone With The Wind," the new decade

would begin with many of its cinema stars

blazing well into the early '40s.

And the movie musical was about to become the decade's darling.


The decade began with movie studios

having high hopes for its contract players.

Fred Astaire ended his seven-year partnership

with Ginger Rogers and starred in "Broadway Melody" of 1940

with dance queen Eleanor Powell.

I think she was challenging certainly, because she was

head and shoulders above Ginger Rogers

in terms of being a dancer, there's no question about that.

And I think he was challenged in that she would question

and ask for things that he wasn't used to.

Jones: She may not have been Astaire's most ideal partner.

Powell was more of a solo tap dancer,

but how could they lose with a Cole Porter score.

Fred would go on to be paired with the likes of Cyd Charisse,

Jane Powell, Rita Hayworth,

Betty Hutton,

Lucille Bremer, Leslie Caron,

Paulette Goddard, and more.

[ Indistinct conversations ]

Man: I'd make a better life.




[ Band murmuring ]





[ Band "ooh"ing ]





Jones: These dancing damsels would all withstand

the rigorous rehearsals with Fred the Perfectionist.

But what a payoff.

To dance with Astaire, said Leslie Caron, is like pure joy.

And when he danced solo it was pure joy to watch.

With his spontaneity and grace,

he floated on to become the premier male dancer of cinema.

I didn't appreciate Fred Astaire when I was a kid.

I saw the the woman that he was partnering

because they were so beautiful and their dresses moved

and all that, so, but it wasn't till later

that I appreciated Fred Astaire

and you could talk about Fred Astaire for hours.

When you recognize the artistry of this man,

the tastes of this man, the imagination of this man,

I mean, he was just -- He's Fred Astaire.


[ Applause ]

♪ Sweethearts who need...

Jones: Having feasted on the likes of Nelson Eddy

and Jeanette MacDonald, 1940 movie-goers

now had the Andrews Sisters

to sing them into the new decade.

♪ Three little sisters stay home and read their magazines ♪

Masuyama: The country got really swept away with the big band music,

which really started in the late '30s,

when people like Benny Goodman,

people like Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller,

of course, were extremely popular, and in the dance halls

and places as such, and their singers as well.

And the film industry just could not ignore them

because the entire country wanted it.

Jones: Bing Crosby who'd been a major star of the 1930s

continued to make lighthearted musicals.

♪ When you hear a real hep-cat

♪ Take the chorus in A-flat

♪ I'm dreaming of a white Christmas ♪

♪ You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade ♪

Jones: He ventured into comedy with Bob Hope,

starting with "Road to Singapore."

Bing, along with others such as Kathryn Grayson,

lent their voices to extravagant musicals that audiences craved.

♪ I love you

Lyle: She was one of the most beautiful things

on the screen I've ever seen.

And that voice -- great combination.

♪ Long ago and far away

♪ I dreamed a dream one day

♪ And now that dream is here beside me ♪

♪ Just one look and then I knew ♪

♪ That all I longed for

♪ Long ago was you

♪ The light-hearted gay kind of charm you display ♪

♪ That's for me

Lyle: Mary Martin was big on Broadway

and came here with a big contract,

and I think the contract called for her

to do half a dozen pictures for us.

I think she did five or six pictures.

♪ That's puttin' it mild

Jones: Judy Garland, fresh from her star-making vehicle,

"The Wizard of Oz,"

was now teamed with her buddy Mickey Rooney

to make a succession of youth musicals.

They began with "Babes in Arms"

followed by "Strike Up the Band,"

who like the others, it guaranteed lots of sentiment,

a ton of energy, and the predictable finale

where kids put on a show.

♪ Who's the man with the stick in his hand ♪

It also had Mickey, who was a nation's number-one

box office attraction,

as he would be for three years in a row.

This chemistry that Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland had

was just incredible.

They loved each other on screen,

they loved each other off screen,

much like brothers and sisters.

♪ I like Jack Benny's jokes

♪ To a degree

Rooney: We went to a professional school called Mrs. Lawlor's

on Hollywood Boulevard, and I met her there

and from the beginning I knew she was talented.

Jones: MGM recreated the magic between Judy and Mickey

with "Babes on Broadway."

♪ Stand in line and do the Turkey ♪

♪ Like a Yankee Doodle Dandy

♪ When you Turkey do it jerky

♪ That's the trick, now you're hoein' on down ♪

♪ Sashay, sashay, sashay around ♪

♪ While you're hoein' on down

♪ Form a circle in the middle, everybody Allemande ♪

♪ Boys keep tempo with the fiddle ♪

♪ And your gal in the calico gown ♪

♪ Ho ho, ho ho, ho hoe on down

♪ With your calico gown

♪ Do-si-do around, it's very romantic ♪

♪ Do-si-do

♪ Do-si-do some more and maybe she'll fall ♪

♪ Do do do do hi-ho

♪ Now it's time to do your honors ♪

♪ Then when you've gone through your honors ♪

♪ Promenade the hall!

♪ Da da da da da da

♪ Hoedown

Rooney: It was just a lot of fun.

A lot of people when they worked together

are not really having fun, but we liked each other a lot.

We respected each other a lot.




♪ Hoedown and bring your best beau down ♪

♪ We're facin' a showdown we gotta make hay... ♪

♪ So hoedown, showdown

♪ The hoedown's on its way


Jones: In '41, MGM tried to exploit the legendary showman

Florenz Ziegfeld once again,

as it had done previously with "The Great Ziegfeld."

Masuyama: They made a film called "Ziegfeld Girl."

Perhaps not as elaborate, perhaps just as garish

but we can forgive it because that was a star-making vehicle

for Lana Turner, which worked.

She became a huge star after that.

♪ I wanted to take you away

♪ Away from the crowd

Jones: Part of the eras gold came from the shimmering

foxy blondes.

Darryl Zanuck of 20th Century Fox specialized

in creating a standard that would seldom be deviated.

20th Century Fox had its formula.

The formula was you need a blonde --

she almost always had to be a blonde -- who has a boyfriend

and one or the other of them

is stuck up in the crazy, wacky world of usually show business.

But it could be something else, it might be a gold rush,

but show business was the favorite theme.

And in this wild and crazy, wacky world of showbiz,

somehow despite all kinds of misunderstandings

they still wind up together.

Jones: Who was the big foxy blonde?

She was the energetic Sonja Henie,

an enduring Alice Faye,

a vivacious Betty Grable, a radiant June Haver.

It started in the '30s with Alice Faye, whom the studio

had built up in vehicles tailored to her husky contralto.

♪ Boa noite

♪ Moonlit sky

She was actually relinquishing her crown

to Betty Grable at the time.

In a film called "Tin Pan Alley" they worked together.

Jones: Betty Grable had bit parts in the '30s,

but the studio began to seriously forge her career

in 1940, launching her under the Alice Faye banner.

When appendicitis stopped Alice from starring

in "Down Argentine Way,"

Betty was snatched out of a Broadway show

and got her first film lead.

♪ For mister soon as you learn

♪ Then you will never return to Manhattan ♪

Betty Grable in color is absolutely delicious.

♪ If you're a romantic chum

♪ Pack up your duds and come

♪ To Acapulco

Jones: Betty and her million dollar insured legs

would go on to do many more musicals,

making her the biggest foxy blonde of them all.

And with three million of her photos

scattered around the world,

she would become the biggest pinup ever

for the boys overseas.

Then with Betty Grable firmly established, 20th Century Fox

launched June Haver by co-starring her

with Grable in "The Dolly Sisters."

♪ Vamp and sing along

♪ Keep a-doin' it

♪ Vamp and sing a song

Earlier, June had appeared on radio and in musical shorts.

By 1946, at age 20, she got her first top billing

with "Three Little Girls in Blue."

♪ On the boardwalk in Atlantic City ♪

♪ Life will be peaches and cream ♪

Haver would go on to appear in six more musicals.

She'd never come close to Betty Grable's fame,

but she helped set the trend

where other studios would boost their own blonde stars.

Warner Bros. stake their claim on a blonde band singer

named Doris Day...

♪ I'm in love with you

...and Paramount had Betty Hutton.

♪ No, no, no, it couldn't be true ♪

♪ That anyone else could love you like I do ♪

♪ I'm gonna warn all the dead-eye dicks ♪

♪ That you're the chick with the slickest tricks ♪

♪ And every tick of my ticker ticks for you ♪

Reynolds: I loved Betty Hutton because she was full

of spit and vinegar, if you want to call it,

you know, she was the blonde bombshell

and she was sort of my inspiration

a long, long time ago when I was a fan, just a movie fan.

♪ No, no, no, it couldn't be true ♪

♪ That anyone else could love you like I do ♪

Lyle: Betty Hutton was signed here by Paramount.

She had more vitality, she exploded,

she was one of our biggest attraction here at Paramount

for a long number of years.

♪ And confidentially, I confess, ♪

♪ I sent a note to the local press ♪

♪ That I'll be changin' my home address for you ♪

♪ Follow through

♪ Tell the doc to stick to his practice ♪

♪ Tell the lawyer to settle his case ♪

♪ Send the Injun chief and his tommy-hawk ♪

♪ Back to little Rain-In-the-Face ♪

♪ 'Cause you know, know, know it couldn't be true ♪

♪ That anyone else could love you like I do ♪

♪ No, no, no, it couldn't be true ♪

♪ That anyone else could love you like I do ♪

♪ I'm gonna send a hot communique ♪

♪ To warn the boys down at Cripple Creek ♪

♪ That every dimple on your dimpled cheek ♪

♪ Is mine, so to speak

♪ Tell the doc to stick to his practice ♪

♪ Tell the lawyer to settle his case ♪

♪ Send the Injun chief and his tommy-hawk ♪

♪ Back to little Rain-In-the-Face ♪

♪ Woo-woo-woo, woo-woo-woo

♪ 'Cause you know, know, know it couldn't be true ♪

♪ That anyone else could love you like I do ♪

♪ Like I do

♪ Like I do

♪ Like I do

♪ Like I do

[ Applause ]

Jones: So Faye begat Grable

who begat Haver who begat others,

and the heights were reached by a foxy blonde named

Norma Jean Baker who changed her name to Marilyn.

There were those whose specialties made them

a category all their own.

Sonja Henie skated through her musicals.

Where Esther Williams swam across the screen.

The underwater ballets that she did, they were fabulous.

What fun.

And everybody in those days would say

"How does she breathe?"

She would do her little thing

and then she would go past a, let's say a big coral tree,

but the moment she did that, she disappeared.

And they would stop the camera and she'd go get her air,

and they would start the camera again,

and she'd be coming out again.

So it looked to be continuous. It was wonderful.

Jones: And Carmen Miranda strutted through her

own fiery brand of musical,

setting off a tutti frutti fashion trend

not only copied in women's wear,

but mimicked in films.

♪ You want to wed him

♪ And he will say, "Of course"

♪ But don't go ahead

♪ He no got divorced

♪ Chico Chico from Puerto Rico ♪

♪ He may free you when you are dancing cheek to cheek-o ♪

♪ But when you know all that I know ♪

♪ Maybe you'll give Chico back to Puerto Rico ♪

♪ Chico Chico

[ Speaking Spanish ]

♪ From Puerto Rico

[ Speaking Spanish ]

♪ Every chick in Puerto Rico chases Chico ♪

♪ Chico Chico ♪ Chico Chico

♪ From Puerto Rico ♪ From Puerto Rico

♪ Oh, they all think Chico Chico pretty sleek-o ♪

♪ He's got ego

♪ This amigo

♪ Every gay muchacho want to go where he go ♪

♪ When he rumba

♪ Or bolero

[ Singing indistinctly ]

♪ He like to flirt

♪ But he no fight

♪ No

♪ He might get hurt

♪ He's nobody's fool

♪ Chico Chico from Puerto Rico

♪ He's a wolf who came from Hollywood ♪

[ Whistles ]

♪ And if you know all that I know ♪

♪ Maybe you'll give Chico back to Puerto Rico ♪

I adored Carmen Miranda,

and of course she is a natural to impersonate

so I always loved that, "I-I-I-I-I like you very much."

♪ I-I-I-I-I-I like you very much ♪

Jones: She was definitely unique but the bulk of the performers

fit a model that was carefully crafted by the studio heads.

Paige: I remember the Warner brothers,

they were building me for stardom

and I didn't even realize it.

And there was a knock on my door one day and I opened it

and there stood Jack Warner in his beautiful Savile Row suit

and he said, "Janis, I need to speak to you

about your weight. You're getting too fat."

And I was just crestfallen and I said, "But Mr. Warner,

I'm always on a diet, I can't help it."

"You've got to get some weight off."

He said, "You don't have a mink coat, kid,

we'll get you one.

You don't have clothes, you go up to wardrobe

because I want you to look right.

You're representing the studio."

So they got me clothes, they got me a mink coat,

they got me luggage, all the things I didn't --

I couldn't afford to buy, they got for me

so that I would look like a star.

Lyle: At one time, every actor

that came to Paramount went to dancing school.

They went to voice schools.

We had a lady here named Harriet Lee who taught singing.

They went to fencing school.

The ladies went to school wardrobe, how to dress,

and if they did musicals

they spent a lot of time in the music department

with Roy Foyesta and people like that

studying, studying, studying.

Jones: Meanwhile in '41, Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated

for his third term, baseball lost Lou Gehrig

to a debilitating neurological disease,

while Yankees center fielder Joe DiMaggio set a record

by hitting his 56th consecutive game.

Glenn Miller and his orchestra were swinging along

and the year's most popular song was about a train.

♪ Pardon me, boy

♪ Is that the Chattanooga choo choo? ♪

♪ Yes, yes

♪ Track 29

Jones: Then on December 7th,

Pearl Harbor was bombed.

The next day, President Roosevelt

declared war against Japan.

Pearl Harbor devastated the picture business.

And another thing that we were frightened of here,

there was a rumor that the Japanese were going to

come over and bomb Los Angeles.

And I was out on the set visiting

and Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, they're working.

And there was Paramount, and next door was RKO

with a fence between the two studios.

And Bob said, "You know, Bing, if the Japanese come over

and bomb us here, they're gonna look here

and with 34 stages between these two studios,

they're gonna think this is an airplane plant

and bomb the hell out of us."

Bing said, "Don't worry, we'll run next door to RKO.

They haven't had a hit in years."

♪ Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey ♪

♪ A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you? ♪

Jones: While some individual stars

went to entertain the troops, movie producers

tried to inspire public feeling about the war.

Their response was to bring leading contract players

together in bond rallies.

Studios also had their actors sing, dance, and play comedy

in musical reviews like "Stage Door Canteen."

♪ Had plenty money in 1922

♪ You let other women make a fool of you ♪

♪ Why don't you do right

♪ Like some other men do

♪ Get out of here and get me some money too ♪




♪ If you had prepared 20 years ago ♪

♪ You wouldn't be wandering out from door to door ♪

♪ Why don't you do right

♪ Like some other men do

♪ Get out of here and get me some money too ♪


Good evening, Hollywood Canteen.

Oh, yes, all the stars are here tonight.

♪ Good night

♪ Sweet dreams

Leslie: It was a musical only it could be done in the war years.

None of the music that the stars did had anything

to do with the plot.

It was just a vehicle for them.

What would you like to see next?

Beautiful women.

We all felt that we were doing a job

in the entertainment industry too keep America happy.

I really think we thought that.

♪ The way he talks and the way he thinks ♪

♪ And the way he likes to buy you drinks ♪

The Canteen is for servicemen.

The only way you can see the Canteen is to join

the Army, the Navy, the Marines,

or join the rest of the world and see the picture.

♪ When there is grief in this land of ours ♪

♪ Then the Red Cross is our friend in need ♪

♪ Bringing relief as our friend indeed ♪

♪ Why regardless of faith or creed ♪

♪ It's the great beacon light of humanity ♪

♪ It's the torch that has lighted the way ♪

♪ So let's all do our part, it's a noble one ♪

♪ Let us join with the Red Cross today ♪

Jones: With the country at war, the cutbacks in spending

saw film production decline briefly,

but something unexpected happened.

World War II actually boosted movie attendance.


♪ The army's what you make

♪ Preferred by the soldiers

♪ To serve this way

At first, films highlighted patriotism.

♪ Join the Navy band when they play ♪

Every tactic was used, including cartoons.

Even boxer Joe Lewis was worked into a patriotic number.

♪ Don't go that far

♪ The well dressed man in Harlem ♪

There were a fair number of films

dealing with wartime activities,

usually showing how Errol Flynn types

would sort of save occupied Burma or whatever.

War was war and there were a lot of war pictures made.

They did affect the films greatly.

Jones: Soon audiences grew tired

of the war action films and dramas.

If you'll tell me, I can keep you out of this.

If you won't tell me,

I'll hand you over to the Nazis.

Masuyama: For 5, 10 cents, you want to go to a film theater

to sit in an air cooled movie with popcorn in your hand

and to go into the world of fantasy

and just forget about the war for the time being.

Bostwick: I think a lot of the musicals did that.

I mean, they just took you to different places.

If you were trying to avoid, perhaps, where you were

that's what musicals did.

Osborne: People wanted to laugh and have a good time

because the world was so serious at that point.

So when they went to the movies they wanted to be entertained

and they wanted Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.

They wanted Betty Hutton

and they wanted people to entertain them.

It was a very creative period for Hollywood

with the musicals.

Masuyama: They would make films that would relate to the boys

out there in the fields.

They wanted escapism.

They wanted something that they could come home to.

They would show them Betty Grable's pair of legs

on the screen and they'd say,

"This is the reason why we want to come home.

This is what we're fighting for."

♪ I'll be marching to a love song ♪

♪ While you're waiting for me

♪ Each mile will melt away

♪ Your smile will be all I see

♪ You'll be marching there beside me ♪

♪ Even though we're apart

♪ For I'll be marching to a love song ♪

♪ The love song in my heart







♪ You'll be marching there beside me ♪

♪ Even though we're apart

♪ For I'll be marching to a love song ♪

♪ The love song in my heart

♪ Marching along

♪ Marching with love in my heart ♪

Man: The new entertainment season opens in a blaze of glory

and a burst of music

as Hollywood prepares to unleash

the greatest avalanche of hits in its history.

♪ The last time I saw Paris her heart was warm and gay ♪

Jones: By 1943, Dinah Shore and that guy from Hoboken

had become America's most popular singers.

Frank Sinatra's ability to make bobby-soxers swoon

made him a guaranteed box office draw

and the ideal star for movie musicals.

He had quickly become a phenomenon.

♪ Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week ♪

♪ 'Cause that's the night

♪ that my sweetie and I used to dance cheek to cheek ♪

♪ I don't mind Sunday night at all ♪

♪ 'Cause that's the night friends come to call ♪

♪ And Monday to Friday go fast

♪ And another week has passed

♪ Mmm

♪ Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week ♪

♪ I sing a song that I sang

♪ For the memories I usually see ♪

♪ Until I hear you at the door ♪

♪ Until you're in my arms once more ♪

♪ Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week ♪



♪ Until I hear you at the door

♪ Until you're in my arms once more ♪

♪ Saturday night is the loneliest night of the week ♪

Jones: The skinny kid with the million-dollar voice

would help the nation, or at least, the female population

temporarily forget the war.

♪ Ol' man river

♪ That ol' man river

♪ He must know somethin'

♪ But he don't say nothin'

♪ He just keeps rolling

♪ He keeps on rolling along


♪ He don't plant tators

♪ And he don't plant cotton

♪ And them that plants 'em is soon forgotten ♪

♪ But ol' man river

♪ Just keeps rolling along


♪ You and me

♪ We sweat and strain

♪ Bodies all aching

♪ And wracked with pain

♪ Tote that barge

♪ Lift that bale

♪ You get a little drunk

♪ And you land

♪ In jail

♪ I gets weary

And so sick of trying

I'm tired of living

But I'm feared of dying

And ol' man river

He just keep rolling



♪ Ol' man river

♪ He just keeps rolling along

Jones: If the Americans needed to escape in a big way,

the movie studios were willing to oblige.

There were comedy musicals and then there were musical comedies

created primarily to make 'em laugh with a few musical numbers

thrown in between the jokes.

♪ Six bleeps in a Jeep that weeps ♪

♪ Now here we go, beep, beep

♪ We're six jerks in a Jeep

♪ The Jeep goes a-jumpin' along ♪

♪ Gonna knock you right off your seats ♪

♪ Here we come, stompin' along

♪ Just a-rompin' along in our Jeep ♪

♪ Beep, beep!

♪ Toot, toot! La-da-da-da

♪ Beep, beep!

♪ Toot, toot! La-da-da

♪ We're six heels on a wheel

[ Scatting ]

♪ Schlemiels on a wheel that will reel ♪

♪ We're lookin', lookin' for a meal ♪

♪ We're six heels on a wheel


♪ We're six jerks in a Jeep

♪ Six of us WAACs in a hack that will leap like a Jeep ♪

♪ Now here we come, beep, beep

♪ All heels, schlemiels, on a wheel that reels ♪

♪ We're six jerks in a Jeep, beep, beep, beep ♪

♪ Six bleeps in a Jeep that weeps ♪

♪ Now here we go, beep, beep!

♪ Here we go, all six jerks in a Jeep ♪


Jones: There were films with names like "Best Foot Forward"

and "Doll Face."

♪ It's always fair weather

♪ When hepcats get together

♪ And every time they meet

♪ Here's the way you'll hear them greet ♪


♪ A hubba-hubba-hubba, hello Jack ♪

♪ Well, a hubba-hubba-hubba, I just got back ♪

♪ Well a hubba-hubba-hubba, let's shoot some breeze ♪

♪ Say, whatever happened to the Japanese? ♪

♪ Well, a hubba-hubba-hubba, haven't you heard? ♪

♪ A hubba-hubba-hubba, slip me the word ♪

♪ I got it from a guy who was in the know ♪

♪ It was mighty smoky over Tokyo ♪

♪ A friend of mine in a B-29 dropped another load for luck ♪

♪ As he flew away, he was heard to say ♪

♪ "A hubba-hubba-hubba"

♪ "Yuk yuk!"

♪ Well, I gotta go a-fishin ♪

♪ That's okay

♪ I'll give you my permission and I'll say ♪

♪ A hubba-hubba-hubba, on your way ♪

♪ And I'll dig you later in the USA! ♪

[ Both scatting ]


Jones: Lots of escapism, over-the-top costumes,

and elaborate sets were the style.

There were lots of brother acts, too.

Of course, there were still the Marx Brothers.

The Berry Brothers.

The Ritz Brothers.

And the Nicholas Brothers.

Withers: Those gentlemen, they just did so much for tap dancing

and they were like no one else in the world.

Nicholas: My brother and I, when we did those films

maybe we on the screen about five minutes.

But those five minutes made us famous all over the world.


♪ I woke one mornin' on the old Chisholm Trail ♪

Jones: There was the occasional singing cowboy flick.

♪ Ki yi yippee yippee yay yippee yay ♪

♪ Come a ki yi yippee yippee yay ♪

Jones: Roy Rogers, king of the cowboys,

was still roping them in with his songs.

♪ Under California stars

Jones: Cameos with big band royalty continued,

for there was a Count...

...and a Duke...

...and the King of Jazz was Louis Armstrong, hands down.

His Majesty graced many musicals of the period

including "Hollywood Canteen" and "A Song is Born."


There were specialty acts like Tip, Tap and Toe.

Six Hits and a Miss.

The Merry Macs.

♪ The Rio Tonto shore


And The Jivin' Jacks and Jills.


The Jivin' Jacks and Jill were Universal Studios'

teenage dance group.

Six couples were chosen from among the best dancers

in Hollywood for that age group.

Sheerer: When I was 12 years old

I started dancing, taking class lessons

and one night an agent named Bob Oakley

came to just look at the class.

He looked around and he called me aside

and called my mother aside

and they were doing a movie at Universal.

They wanted me to come out and be seen and I went out there

and there was dozens and dozens of kids,

and they ran them one by one past the camera.

We did a series of numbers through a lot of movies.


The troupe featured a 17-year-old Peggy Ryan

who was partnered with a 16-year-old Donald O'Connor.

I always had the impression because of Donald and Peggy

that they were kind of trying to do

a less expensive version

of the Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland stuff,

very similar type movies.

Donald and Peggy and I were put under contract to Universal.

And of course, the group absolutely disintegrated

because Don was put in the army

and as soon as that happened it was the end of the group.

He was the heart and soul of the group.





Jones: Youthful stars were in vogue

along with Donald O'Connor and Peggy Ryan,

there was Deanna Durbin, Gloria Jean,

Susanna Foster, Ann Blyth,

and then there was Judy.

Kenrick: Judy Garland was the greatest female star

the musical film has ever known or ever will know.

Wallis: She gave me goose bumps.

We had these great writers who wrote these great songs

but she interpreted them so well.

Allyson: I don't think that Judy ever felt

that she was as magical as she really was.

I don't think she ever felt pretty.

Or I don't think she felt that he had a great voice.

Judy was completely unaware of what she could do to people.

Kenrick: Not only were a series of masterpieces

built around her presence and her talent,

but more importantly her interpretations of songs

did a great deal to change the way Americans performed music

and to change the standards by which singers were judged.

Reynolds: She was the most gifted of all the girls.

I don't think that anyone's ever touched it, including Liza.

And I love Liza. But there's nothin' like mama.

♪ As I wash my dishes I'll be following a plan ♪

♪ Till I see the brightness in every pot and pan ♪

♪ I am sure this point of view will ease the daily grind ♪

♪ So I'll keep repeating in my mind ♪

♪ Look for the silver lining

♪ Whenever a cloud appears in the blue ♪

♪ Remember somewhere the Sun is shining ♪

♪ And so the right thing to do

♪ Is make it shine for you

A heart full of joy and gladness

♪ Will always banish sadness and strife ♪

So always look for the silver lining

♪ And try to find

♪ The sunny side of life

♪ At dancing, Cleopatterer was always on the spot ♪

Jones: Ah, yes. The '40s.

If the musical took a backseat, it was only for a moment.

Rationing luxury items left fewer ways to spend money,

so people flocked to the movies

and they wanted musicals.

♪ Du Barry was a lady

♪ No matter what they may say

Musicals up to this time mostly were backstagers

putting on the show.

And the songs and dances were there up on the stage.

And they were there to make the audience merry.

And they were about show people,

they were about situations that most people don't identify with.

Jones: America had previously gotten a good dose of excess

from the 1930s musicals

where money seemingly had no limit.

Now, during wartime and with tighter purse strings,

directors were creating a new idea

for what a musical should be.

This new idea was the integrated musical.

♪ Let's keep on singing

♪ "Make way for tomorrow"

Jones: Where before the focus was on the individual star,

a team approach was developing with the stars,

just one of the many important elements.

The new ideal was the integrated musical

where songs, dances, and dialogue

flowed together to move the story forward

without breaking into the story unnaturally.

The concept had been explored earlier with films

such as "Love Me Tonight" and "The Wizard of Oz."

Fast forward to "Cover girl" in 1944, with its feet,

as well as Rita Hayworth's gams,

firmly planted between the old musical style and the new.

Hayworth was groomed for stardom by Harry Cohen,

founder of Columbia Pictures who now had a vehicle

designed to make her a major box office attraction.

Rita Hayworth was my favorite, she was a redhead, of course

but she also -- I just loved how she moved and danced.

Jones: "Cover Girl" still had some conventional musical numbers

and an old-fashioned story.

But the plot had begun to integrate the music

and dancing, which was the start of something new.

No longer were songs plopped randomly into the story.

The music flowed with lyrics that advanced the plot line.

♪ Perfection in the dining room ♪

♪ Perfection in the dorm

♪ We even want perfection in the Harvey uniform ♪

♪ Stout black shoes to keep a sense of humor ♪

♪ Please confine your underwear to camisole and rumor ♪

♪ Black shirtwaist, cuffs neat and trim ♪

♪ The apron must be spotless from the collar to the hem ♪

♪ The apron must be spotless and must have the proper swirl ♪

♪ That's the first requirement of a Harvey girl ♪

♪ The uniform must be just right ♪

♪ But Mr. Fred has said that uniform or no uniform ♪

♪ The train must be fed

♪ You're lookin' just as pretty as a Spanish amulet ♪

♪ But now I've got to learn you how to get the table set ♪

♪ First comes the plate

♪ Then the cup and saucy

♪ The knife and fork and here's your spoon ♪

♪ The nappy by the glassy

♪ You serve 'em to the left

♪ You take off to the right

♪ Give 'em ginger peachy service or you'll spoil their appetite ♪

♪ Give them ginger peachy service ♪

♪ Or their appetite will spoil

♪ Gosh, well, ain't it great to be a Harvey girl ♪

♪ Who stole my heart away?

♪ Who makes me dream all day?

♪ Dreams I know can never come true ♪

♪ Seems as though I'll ever be blue ♪

♪ Who means my happiness?

♪ Who would I answer yes to?

♪ Well, you ought to guess who

♪ No one but you








♪ Who's the one you really care for? ♪

♪ Who can it be?

♪ Who can it be?

♪ Can it be?

♪ Who can it be?

♪ Never guess who has stolen my heart away ♪

♪ Dreamin' dreams I know can never come true ♪

♪ Seems as though I'll ever be blue ♪

♪ Oh, who means my happiness?

♪ Who would I answer yes to?

♪ Do do do

♪ Well, you ought to guess who

♪ Who

♪ No one but you

♪ No one but you

[ Applause ]


  • ios
  • apple_tv
  • android
  • roku
  • firetv