Neptune’s Daughter

I woke up to news about the stock market. I went out to go to work. The students seemed to be under a lot of stress on the first day of classes. I went home to watch “Neptune’s Daughter.” After Esther Williams’ death, I meant to see one of her movies but took a long time getting around to it. The plot was one of those mistaken identity comedies that reminded me of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in “Top Hat.” Esther Williams had a pretty face, and she was likable enough. I wouldn’t call her brilliant at delivering her dialogue. Red Skelton did the funny bits. He did dress up as a woman at one point and had a funny scene trying to go through a rehearsal of one of those water ballets. He played in a polo game that felt like it came out of Harold Lloyd’s “The Freshman.” Betty Garrett looked very young. I remember her only from “My Sister Eileen” and the All in the Family television series. Ricardo Montalban looked young and thin, too. He was supposed to be a romantic figure. I couldn’t get Fantasy Island and Star Trek out of my mind whenever I saw him. He had amazingly hairy arms. Xavier Cugat appeared as himself, and Mel Blanc was also in the cast. There was a bit of pain in some of the characters. Red Skelton and Betty Garrett were lovesick people. Keenan Wynn ran the bathing suit business, and he is an unhappy and jealous man. The musical highlight was “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” which won an Oscar. I remember it from “Elf.” I really waited through the whole movie for the finale, which had diving and underwater dance moves. Those last few minutes were enjoyable and made you forget some of the routine plot devices. I like a good Technicolor movie. This would have been a great movie for the late show when I was a kid. The movies that came out in the late forties make you wonder what was going on in the country in the years after the war. One of the special features on the DVD was a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Also, there was theatrical trailers for “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “Neptune’s Daughter.” I’m not sure that I ever liked seeing Frank Sinatra in a musical other than “Pal Joey.” I read that Esther Williams got a D in algebra in high school, which prevented her from getting a scholarship from USC. She found it miserable to work with Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly in “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” She suffered a stroke in 2007, and she attended the Cyd Charisse’s funeral in a wheelchair. I fell asleep a couple times before I went to the library to sit down and work on my syllabus. It had to have a couple of items in it to satisfy the administrators. I felt tired as I walked back home. I ate some strawberries and yogurt and decided that I didn’t want to watch “2 Broke Girls.” I kept thinking about Melody Patterson, and I wondered how she came to die in a nursing home. She was so young and full of life when she started out in television, sort of like a Donna Douglas. It seems like we should be given some sort of warning before these people die. I saw Nipsey Russell, Susan Sullivan, and Marcia Wallace on Match Game. Gene Rayburn said that he was in the Air Force for three years. Charles and Richard played tic-tac-toe on Gene’s vest. I felt terribly sleepy when ten o’clock came around. Some of the people who died on August 25 include Michael Faraday (1867), Paul Muni (1967), Stan Kenton (1979), Truman Capote (1984), Aaliyah (2001), and Ted Kennedy (2009). Today is a birthday for Tim Burton (57), Elvis Costello (61), Gene Simmons (66), Regis Philbin (84), Sean Connery (85), and Monty Hall (94). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for August 25, “The Wizard of Oz” was released nationwide in 1939. In 1958, the Elegants’ “Little Star” was the Number One single. In 1975, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” album was released. In 1984, Truman Capote died at age 59 of liver cancer.

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