Rare Musicals on TCM – August 2014

Summer Under the Stars is back! TCM’s annual celebration of classic Hollywood features a slew of entertaining pictures with some of the biggest and brightest names. Musical-wise, your best bets are to keep an eye on August 4 (Judy Garland), August 25 (Dick Powell), and August 30 (Betty Grable). But the whole months is full of wonderful treats!

Ben Lyon and Ona Munson in The Hot Heiress
Ben Lyon and Ona Munson in The Hot Heiress

Sunday August 3 – Walter Pidgeon
6:00am / Kiss Me Again (1931)

Based on the Victor Herbert operetta Mlle. Modiste, a French army officer and a singer face a series of trials in trying to meet across Europe.

7:30am / The Hot Heiress (1931)

Rodgers and Hart musical comedy in which a well-to-do society heiress falls for a lowly riveter, but attempts to pass him off as an architect to cover in front of her friends and family.

4:45am / Sweet Kitty Bellairs (1930)

Famous Regency-era flirt Kitty Bellairs woos everyone from highwaymen to lords in this saucy Pre-Code comedy with brief musical interludes.

Monday August 4 – Judy Garland

Happily, most of Judy’s stuff is of course quite easily acquirable, but if there’s any one day to spend watching TV in the dark… it’s today. Check out Girl Crazy, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Pirate, Easter Parade, Summer Stock, Strike up the Band, and A Star is Born today on TCM.

Tuesday August 12 – Alexis Smith
11:45am / Rhapsody in Blue (1945)

Fictionalized biography of George Gershwin played by Robert Alda, with cameos by Paul Whiteman, Al Jolson, and Oscar Levant.

2:15pm / Night and Day (1946)

Alexis Smith stars in another composer biopic—this time Cole Porter as played by Cary Grant.

Monday August 25 – Dick Powell
6:00am / Colleen (1936)

Eccentric millionaire Powell hires—wait for it—gold digger Ruby Keeler to run his business; they may or may not end up falling in love.

7:45am / Naughty But Nice (1939)

If you didn’t catch this last month, here’s another chance: Uptight professor Dick Powell accidentally writes a pop hit, while falling for his lyricist, played by Ann Sheridan.

Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell in Flirtation Walk
Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell in Flirtation Walk

11:15am / Flirtation Walk (1934)

Powell falls for Keeler again, this time as a West Point cadet and the officer’s daughter.

6:00pm / The Singing Marine (1937)

A shy Marine gains a bit too much confidence after winning a talent competition.

4:30am / Going Places (1938)

Powell plays a sporting-good salesman who poses as a jockey in order to boost sales. Origin of the song “Jeepers Creepers.”

Thursday August 28 – Arlene Dahl
12:30pm / My Wild Irish Rose (1947)

Musical biopic of Irish songwriter Chauncey Olcott and his Rose (Dahl). (Please be aware there appears to be significant use of blackface in this picture.)

Saturday August 30 – Betty Grable
9:30am / Follow the Fleet (1936)

Fred and Ginger classic with Irving Berlin songs, and Betty Grable as a chorus girl.

11:30am / Old Man Rhythm (1935)

A businessman goes back to college to keep an eye on his playboy son. Betty combines her dance training with an en pointe tap number!

Grable in Mother Wore Tights. Mother also apparently wore enormous hats.
Grable in Mother Wore Tights. Mother also apparently wore enormous hats.

4:00pm / The Dolly Sisters (1945)

Betty and June Haver star as Hungarian sisters who make it big on the vaudeville circuit.

6:00pm / Mother Wore Tights (1947)

Betty stars as the matriarch of a traveling vaudeville family, with Dan Dailey as papa and an Oscar-winning score.

1:15am / Coney Island (1943)

A con-man hustles his way into managing a Coney Island nightclub and, in turn, makes a star of its chief entertainer (Grable).

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