Girl Crazy

I watched the CBS Sunday Morning show, but most of the segments were repeats, so I didn’t pay that much attention.  Russ Mitchell did have a talk with Herb Alpert, who talked about the unfairness of the death of Karen Carpenter, who was 32 when she died.  I went over to the coffee shop and had some orange juice.  Nobody was sending me any messages early on a Sunday.  I scanned the Best Buy advertisement, and it looked like they were taking pre-orders for a new Blu-ray edition of the Lord of the Rings movies.  I like the movies, especially the first one, but for now I’m satisfied with the DVDs.  I wondered when my John Stewart CD from Amazon would arrive.  I’ve wanted to listen to the album for a long time.  I don’t think I’ve ever listen even a vinyl copy in the stores.  I’ve used some vacation time to take the day off on Tuesday for the U2 concert.  I have to use some of that time, anyway, because I’ve accumulated about 324 hours.  What am I doing, working that hard for people who don’t appreciate me?  I watched Anne Makovec talk about the morning news headlines before I headed out to the grocery store.  The clouds looked rather threatening, but I didn’t see any rain during the day.  There’s a girl at work who hardly ever talks and appears to work pretty hard all day.  I rather admire her for not being too chatty, at least not in front of me.  I didn’t watch any sports.  I watched a DVD of “Girl Crazy,” which is a musical featuring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, with Gershwin music and Tommy Dorsey.  I didn’t watch it to follow the plot, which was about a rich kid whose father sends him to a college in the middle of a desert to keep him away from girls.  The young man is a New York City playboy, and he finds it hard to adjust to waking up early, and he doesn’t know how to ride a horse.  The college is about to go under because of declining enrollment, so Mickey hatches a scheme to attract people.  It’s not exactly a let’s-put-on-a-show plan, but it’s close, a rodeo with a rodeo queen to be named.  The whole plan to save the college was starting to smell like the 1981 movie “Taps,” meaning it might have been better off to put the wrecking ball to the place.  The ending is predictable, because you know a musical comedy isn’t going to end with people getting killed.  I kept noticing how short Mickey was.  Judy was only 20.  I couldn’t understand why this movie wasn’t shot in Technicolor.  The musical number, especially, were crying out for color.  Mickey’s roommate at the college is Gil Stratton, who was in “Stalag 17” and “The Wild One,” although I always remembered him from my childhood as a sports reporter.  I never realized from those days that he appeared in movies with William Holden and Judy Garland.  It seemed that Gil had a lot of his scenes cut.  He should have been singing and dancing like Donald O’Connor.  His girlfriend is Nancy Walker.  She became well known for television shows, although I remember her for her Bounty paper towel commercials, and for being the director of the infamous Village People movie “Can’t Stop the Music.”  June Allyson is also in the movie, singing “Treat Me Rough.”  The main attractions are the musical numbers.  “Embraceable You” has some enjoyable dancing to go with it.  Judy sings it with a room full of men.  The song has a pleasing melody, although over the years, I now associate it with the Woody Allen movie “Manhattan.”  Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra perform “Fascinating Rhythm.”  I felt like we had to wait too long between songs here.  I don’t care about the story and Mickey’s attempts to be funny.  The highlight of the whole movie is Judy’s performance of “But Not for Me,” one of the greatest Gershwin songs.  I always liked the reference to Russian plays in the lyrics.  The movie ends with “I Got Rhythm.”  It’s a big production with a lot of extras.  I thought one of the cowboys looked like Jerry Seinfeld.  There was a lot of shooting in the air with guns.  I wondered if that was distracting to the dancers, and I also wondered if the bullets fell back down from the sky and killed anyone.  Where was this little college town, anyway?  I was thinking that it was in Arizona.  The songs ends with a cannon shot right at the camera.  It must have killed the cameraman doing the filming.  The smoke clears a little too suddenly for the last shot of Judy and Mickey singing the line “Who could ask for anything more?”  Gene Kelly had a good scene with this same song in “An American in Paris,” but I couldn’t stand those little French kids who tried to sing.  I can’t quite recommend “Girl Crazy” to people.  I couldn’t stand the story, and I couldn’t see why they had to take the action out to the Wild West.  Some of the settings for the songs would have been better back in New York, I kept thinking.  The way to watch this movie is to program it so that you’re watching only the chapters with the songs, which on this DVD are chapters 2, 8, 10, 11, 18, 21, 23, and 24.  During one of the numbers, Judy pretends to play the guitar.  She could have done a better job of faking it.  Mickey’s piano playing on “Fascinating Rhythm” was done by someone else, but it looked like he could play the instrument.  The disc has an introduction by Mickey Rooney, and an audio commentary track by John Fricke.  It also has another version of “I Got Rhythm,” the theatrical trailer, and an outtake of “Bronco Busters.”  After I was done with all that, I caught a glimpse of the KOFY Dance Party.  They were playing “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.”  I will never forget how the song was used in “Zoolander.”  The other song I heard was Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker.”  How many of those people who were in the studio are old enough to remember 1980?  It looked like a lot of them knew all the words to all the songs.  DJ Katie Green was wearing a Madonna T-shirt.  I turned off the TV and listened to U2 on my computer.  I remember hearing “With or Without You” all the time on the radio during 1987.

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One Response to Girl Crazy

  1. dvp83 says:

    ” Rooney, quite impressively, plays piano with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra during “Fascinatin’ Rhythm.” This in a review of the movie by Robert Osborne of TCM. Rooney was quite proficient in many instruments, including trumpet and drums – not to mention piano.”

    And this, from Wikipedia:
    Rooney’s talents were multiple. In an appraisal after his death, Nancy Jo Sales recounted in Vanity Fair that “He could sing, he could act, he could dance. He learned to play the banjo—scarily well—in a day. He played the drums like a pro. He was an expert golfer, a champion ping-pong player. He composed a symphony, Melodante, which he performed on the piano at Franklin Roosevelt’s 1941 Inauguration Gala. Mickey was some kind of beautiful, talented monster.”[5]

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