6 Favorites from the 60’s: A National Classic Movie Day Celebration

Happy National Classic Movie Day to all! Today, Rick at the Classic Film and TV Cafe is hosting a blogathon encouraging participants to write about their six favorites from the 60’s in celebration of this momentous occasion! This sounded like too much fun to pass up and I’m excited to share my favorites with you. Let the party begin!

1. THE MUSIC MAN (1962)

Robert Preston shines in his defining role as Prof. Harold Hill, the ultimate smooth-as-silk con man. It’s not until his travels as a salesman take him to a town in Iowa where his whole world begins to unravel from under his feet, forcing Harold to make some important life decisions.

The Music Man is a great time all around, boasting an excellent cast and story, accompanied by a lively score from Meredith Wilson, and beautifully choreographed numbers. But what makes this film even more special to me is knowing it’s been loved throughout the years by my family – three generations to be exact.

Highlights include Hermoine Gingold’s hilarious turn as Mrs. Shinn, Dorothy Jeakins costumes, the “Marian the Librarian” scene, and Susan Luckey, dancer extraordinaire, as the precocious Zaneeta.

2. My fair lady (1964)

A Cinderella story of a Cockney flower girl trained to become fit for royalty. What she didn’t expect was falling for her inhumane teacher along the way, and he in turn, for her.

My Fair Lady is perhaps the wittiest of musicals with not a lagging scene throughout its nearly three hour run-time. George Cukor’s marvelous direction paired with Lerner & Loewe’s brilliant score creates a dreamy confection of sights and sounds. Audrey is wonderfully charming and perfectly convincing in her transformation from a simple flower girl into a regal lady, but it’s Rex Harrison who has the greatest lines and spectacular delivery of them. I love that while he’s busy transforming Audrey externally, his own transformation, unbeknownst to him, is happening internally.

I remember watching My Fair Lady many times as a child and marveling at the scope and beauty of it all. Consequently, this movie was my introduction to Audrey Hepburn – a constant inspiration to me.

Highlights include Audrey Hepburn’s Cockney accent, Wilfrid Hyde-White as the wonderful Col. Pickering, Cecil Beaton’s costumes, Gene Allen’s sets, and a plethora of lovable character actors.

3. west side story (1961)

Leonard Bernstein meets William Shakespeare. Enough said. The combination of the two absolutely sparkles on the screen. A retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1950’s New York City with innovative and exciting choreography by Jerome Robbins, directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. This film is an artistic tour de force with excellent performances, glorious music, and a timeless message.

The primary reason one comes to West Side Story is for the phenomenal dancing and music. And led by Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, and Russ Tamblyn, you know you are in good hands. Bernstein’s iconic score possesses a lush, rapturous intensity and wistfulness effectively conveying the emotional range of the story from the thrill of first love, to the hatred of the opposing gangs, to ultimately, sorrow and tragedy. In other words, it all fits like a glove.

Highlights include Natalie Wood’s performance as Maria, Rita Moreno’s passionate Anita, marvelous usage of color by Art Director Boris Leven & Set Decorator Victor Gangelin, affecting screenplay by Ernest Lehman, and snazzy Saul Bass credits.

4. yours, mine, and ours (1968)

In this delightful comedy, two middle aged folks try to resist the attraction they feel towards one another because they are both widowed parents with no less than eight children each! When they get married, they undergo a formidable task – attempting to blend the two families into one.

Yours, Mine, and Ours is a cozy, feel good movie with lots of funny scenarios in tow and literally not a dull moment. With Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda at the helm how can you go wrong? Their chemistry is so sweet and real and makes the film work. Van Johnson also co-stars adding to the fun.

This movie is a reminder that love can bloom anytime, anywhere and that home and belonging is not about blood relations, but rather a coming together of hearts.

Highlights include Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll’s “I Love Lucy” style contributions to the story, the excellent screenplay by Mort Lachman and Melville Shavelson, and the screen stealing capabilites of Eric Shea.

5. the sword in the stone (1963)

Disney’s telling of the legend of the boy who is educated by Merlin the wizard and becomes King Arthur of England brims with charm, humor, and fun. It has a very short run time and is overlooked in the Disney canon nowadays, but I can’t help loving it. As a child I often chose this over many princess movies (which if you know me, is a big deal).

What I love most about The Sword and the Stone are the characters themselves. The short-tempered but good natured Merlin and his crusty sidekick, Archimedes the owl, bicker and fuss like an old married couple. The two of them tickle my funny bone to no end. As they argue over what’s best for the young protege, Wart’s educational journey leads to many misadventures and ultimately, the meeting of Merlin’s nemesis, the mad Madam Mim. Wart learns many life lessons along the way, most importantly, the using of one’s brain over brawn.

Highlights include the squirrel scene, the wizard’s duel, the vocal talents of Karl Swenson as Merlin, Junius Matthews as Archimedes, and Martha Wentworth as Madam Mim.

6. the man who shot liberty valance (1962)

My introduction to this film was on The Essentials one night on TCM. It left such an impression on me that I had the desire to revisit it years later, and it did not disappoint. James Stewart gives a tortured performance of a lawyer seeking to bring law and order to the old West despite opposition from a farmer (John Wayne) and the fearsome outlaw, Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin).

John Ford leads a cast of colorful characters through this poignant drama/western. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a character-driven, thought provoking piece which lingers in the mind long after the film’s end. Wayne and Stewart have surprising chemistry on the screen – their contrasting acting styles and personas aiding the differences between the men. Vera Miles is the girl who captures both of their hearts and for whom sacrifices are made. This film has so much going on underneath the surface of an already great story. The themes – love, honor, hate, and violence – are subtly handled, making this film one that rewards numerous viewings.

Highlights include Lee Marvin’s performance as the villainous Liberty Valance, John Wayne’s Tom Doniphon, and the symbolism scattered throughout the script and imagery.

Honorable Mention: Born free (1966)

And that’s it! I hope this inspires you to come up with your own list of favorites.

Thanks to Rick at Classic Film and TV Cafe for hosting this blogathon and for letting me participate! Click HERE to read the rest of the entries.

Thanks for reading and for visiting The Classic Movie Muse!

It’s Award Time! – The Liebster Award

A few weeks ago Zoe from Hollywood Genes nominated me for the Liebster Award! Thank you so much, Zoe! The Liebster Award is a way to reach out, connect, and encourage each other in the blogging community.

In order to accept this award there are a few rules to follow, so without further delay let’s begin…

The rules for the Liebster Award:

  1. Thank the nominator in your award post.
  2. Place the award logo somewhere on your blog.
  3. You must state up to 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Complete the questions that your nominator provided.
  5. Nominate as many bloggers as you’d like (11 is the maximum).
  6. Ask your nominees a series of questions (11 is the maximum).

11 Facts about Myself:

  1. I watched GWTW as a teen so many times I practically have the movie memorized and can push a play button in my head to “watch it” with sound included.
  2. I was told by two different people in the same day about ten minutes of each other that I look like Anne Hathaway.
  3. The books on my shelves can be divided into mainly four categories: film; fiction; interior design; and music/art.
  4. For a project in high school I had to draw all 50 of the US flags and as a result I still have a pretty good grasp of them.
  5. Classic film inspired me to take up ballroom dancing. I’m no Ginger Rogers, but I intended to develop my skills in this area as I absolutely love it.
  6. As a youngster I would pretend I was Esther Williams in our backyard pool and imitate her routine from the one film I had of hers.
  7. As a kid, I once ate a bowl and a half of plain Cool Whip in one sitting and haven’t touched it since.
  8. I play two instruments.
  9. My favorite classical composers are Debussy, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff. As for popular music, the Great American Songbook is my jam – Jerome Kern, the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hammerstein.
  10. The Phantom of the Opera is my favorite stage show. I have seen it three times, and would gladly see it again.
  11. I have never broken a bone – knock on wood!

My 11 Questions from Zoe

What is the strangest or most off-brand topic/thing you’ve blogged about?

I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for this one as I try to keep everything on topic as best I can.

Who or what inspired you to start blogging?

One day after watching a film and looking it up online, I came across some of the lovely blogs that I am in contact with now. I thought, “Hey, I wanna do what these people are doing – to join them by way of spreading and sharing my love of classic movies with others.” These films are too great to be lost to obscurity and deserve to be noticed and appreciated for the wonderful pieces of art that they are.

Recast one of your favorite classic movies (pre 1970s) with modern actors.

VERTIGO (1958)

  • Jessica Biel as Madeleine Elster
  • Daniel Craig as Scottie Ferguson
  • Reese Witherspoon as Midge Wood

Recast one of your favorite modern movies with classic actors.


  • Ingrid Bergman as Sophie
  • Gregory Peck as Eisenheim
  • Claude Rains as Inspector Uhl
  • Vincent Price as Crown Prince Leopold

What is a book that you would love to see adapted into a film and why? 

I read a book as a youngster that I loved called The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye. It is a lovely tale with a wonderful message about being loved for who you really are – not for money, status, or appearance. The princess in the story is plucky, self-reliant, happy with who she is and takes the reins in delegating how her life plays out.

What do you consider the biggest misstep behind the scenes in the cinema world (i.e. not casting someone for a role, a specific directorial choice, a remake that shouldn’t have happened, an interview that went on to haunt someone, etc.)

No disrespect to Bogie, but if I was casting Sabrina (1953) I would have cast someone else as Linus Larrabee. Maybe Rock Hudson would have worked…I could see him playing the strictly business type turned soft by Audrey’s charms.

What do you consider the most fascinating film community scandal (past or present)?

Too many to name!

Which actor or actress do you think died way too soon and where would you have liked to see their career go had they lived?

Oh, there are so many I could go with here but my heart always goes out to Marilyn Monroe. She had the intelligence and the popularity to go up higher in the industry. She did have her own production company and I’m sure she could have kept going up the ladder if her life had permitted.

Which actor or actress missed their calling in a specific genre and why do you think they would or would have excelled in this vein? 

I would say Merle Oberon. In The Cowboy and the Lady (1938) she showed she had some comedic chops as well as being a fine dramatic actress.

Which 6 guests would you invite to your Hollywood party and why these specific 6? 

Oh yay, I love this question! I would invite Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Grace Kelly, William Holden, Lucille Ball, and Marlon Brando. I think besides being very talented as well as some of my favorite actors, these six would make a fine bunch to give advice about many things and would be all around awesome to hang out with.

Which onscreen outfit would you wear everyday if you could and why did you pick this one?

Grace Kelly’s dress from Rear Window (1954). Because it would make me feel beautiful and the skirt looks roomy enough to move around in and be comfortable. Wearing white all day would make me nervous though! I wouldn’t want to get it dirty 😉

The Nominees

  1. Pure Entertainment Preservation Society
  2. The Classic Hollywood Blog
  3. Classic Film Journal
  4. Femnista
  5. Hollywoodland Photos

My Questions for the Nominees

  1. When did you first become interested in classic film?
  2. What is your favorite movie quote?
  3. If you had to choose 5 movies to take with you to a deserted island what would they be and why those 5?
  4. Who is the latest actor/director etc. that you’ve discovered and where/how did you discover them?
  5. What’s something you’ve learned about yourself from blogging?

Congrats to the nominees!

Thanks for reading and for visiting The Classic Movie Muse!

On the Road with “I Love Lucy”: My Trip to Jamestown, NY (Part 2)

Happy New Year to all! I trust you have had a safe and happy holiday season with friends, family, and loved ones.

The very first post that I published on this blog was Part 1 of my trip to Lucille Ball’s hometown, Jamestown, New York, where I visited the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum and other sites around the city honoring the famous couple. To begin this new year, I thought it only fitting to start with Lucy once more and finally give you Part 2 of my trip.

But first, some trivia! A really fun aspect of the I Love Lucy show (besides the obvious) is how the zany and lovable Lucy Ricardo character mirrors Ball’s own life in several ways.

  • Lucy Ricardo was born in Jamestown, New York, just like Lucille Ball
  • Marion Strong, one of Lucy Ricardo’s friends, was Lucille Ball’s childhood friend
  • Lucy Ricardo mentions playing the saxophone in Celoron High School, the high school Lucille Ball attended

Bonus! The word “McGillicuddy” (Lucy Ricardo’s maiden name) was something that she and her friends called each other when they were young.

Lucille Ball had these similarities written into the script, no doubt adding a personal connection to the material, as well as enjoyment for her as a performer.

Before my trip, I read Lucy’s autobiography to further enhance my experience so I could put the pieces together while I was there. It was really fun seeing these places come to life and picturing Lucy in her stomping grounds before she took Hollywood and the world by storm.

Reading her book and seeing where she came from has led me to a greater understanding and appreciation of Lucy not only as a beloved and talented performer, but as an individual. I recommend both for Lucy fans and for those who are curious to learn more about the queen of comedy.

Now, off to Jamestown…

Lucy’s Birthplace

On August 6, 1911, in this little brown house, Lucille Ball came into the world delivered by her grandmother Flora Belle Hunt. There’s not much to see as the house is privately owned, but it’s definitely worth a drive by. The address is 69 Stewart Avenue in Jamestown.

After her birth, Lucy and her mother reunited with her father in Montana. Three years later they moved to Michigan when Lucy’s father died from typhoid fever at the tragically young age of twenty-eight. Lucy and her mother returned to Jamestown, her mother remarried, and looking for work out of state, she sent little Lucy to live with her husband’s parents. It wasn’t until Lucy’s grandparents bought a home in nearby Celoron that the family lived together under one roof again.

Lucy’s Childhood Home

In Celoron, NY, is the home where Lucy spent most of her childhood. Formerly 59 W. 8th Street, it is now 59 Lucy Lane.

I was eight and a half years old when we all moved into the little three bedroom house on Eighth Street in Celoron…I loved every inch of that weathered shingled house. It had a front porch and a back shed, and a small, dark front parlor separated from the front hall by portieres. These were the stage curtains for our innumerable productions as (brother) Freddy and I grew up.”

lucille ball

Sadly, the happiness of being together lasted only a short while for Lucy’s family. After an accident in the backyard that caused a neighborhood friend to be paralyzed, Lucy’s grandfather was put under house arrest and the house was auctioned as the result of a lawsuit. Lucy, fifteen years old, convinced her mother to let her go to New York City and enroll in drama school.

Presently the home is privately owned, but there are rumors that the owners plan on making it available for tours one day. Whether or not this is true, I’m not sure, but one can only hope! There is a whole website dedicated to the house, its history, and even an online shop. You can check it out by clicking here.

Lucille Ball Memorial Park

Many of the inspirations for our stage plays came from the fine productions we saw on summer evenings at Celoron Amusement Park, which was just a hop, skip and a jump from our house across a daisy field and a railroad track.”

lucille ball

To Lucy, it was known as Celoron Amusement Park. Today, it is Lucille Ball Memorial Park – the home of two statues of the famous resident with quite an interesting story of their own. “Scary Lucy,” unveiled in 2009, earned her name because she looks nothing like Lucille Ball. What was the artist thinking?! (I couldn’t even bear to take a full picture of her!) Both fans and locals revolted, and another statue was erected in 2016, “New Lucy.” This elegant and beautiful statue is worthy of her namesake as she stands proudly, welcoming visitors to the park.

Celoron Amusement Park was very important in Lucy’s life. In her book, she describes the place as a type of Disneyland, a fanciful escape from everyday life. Not only did she have one of her first jobs there as a teen selling hamburgers, she also witnessed plays as well as vaudeville shows. It was here that she gained a love of theater, spectacle, and show business.

Lake View Cemetery

The most humbling part of my trip was visiting Lucy’s final resting place at Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown. A line of red hearts lead the way through the cemetery to the Hunt family plot where she is buried along with her parents, brother, and grandparents.

At this moment of my visit I realized that I was the closest that I would ever be to Lucy. A sobering moment, indeed.

In this post I couldn’t even begin to cover Lucy’s life story and all that she accomplished, but it goes without saying that this woman has taught me so much about life. She has touched the world by her presence. She has been through so many hardships, but always managed to pull through with her wit, intelligence, and strength.

You know the saying Live, Laugh, and Love? That saying has been attributed to a poem called “Success” and I think it can certainly be applied to Lucy’s life.


I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.L.B.


I’m happy that I have brought laughter because I have been shown by many the value of it in so many lives, in so many ways.L.B.


Love yourself first and everything falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.L.B.

Thank you, Lucy, for the lessons, the laughs, and for being you.

On the Road with “I Love Lucy”: My Trip to Jamestown, New York (Part 1)

One of the greatest gifts to mankind is laughter, and one of the greatest gifts to laughter is Lucille Ball. God has her now but thanks to television, we’ll have her forever.”

bob hope

Perhaps no other person in history has captured the love of the world as Lucille Ball. Her face is said to have been seen by more people than any other. The TV show that she created with her husband has been voted the best show of all time (according to a poll taken by ABC News in 2012), winning five Emmy’s and numerous awards, inventing reruns, and changing the way that TV would function in the homes of countless Americans.

This woman came from a small town in the Lake Chautauqua region of New York State; yet, no matter how successful she became she always considered this place her home and visited frequently. The town is very proud of their most famous resident, as they should be, and they honor her and her husband in many charming ways.

Come along with me to Jamestown to celebrate America’s First Couple of Comedy…Lucy and Desi Arnaz!

I am so glad the idea for this post came to me not long ago, for it perfectly coincides with “I Love Lucy Day” (yes, it’s a thing)! On October 15, 1951, ‘Lucy’ aired its first episode, and the world indefinitely became a better place.

Here’s to Lucy, Ricky, Ethel, and Fred! Happy 68th Anniversary!

Desilu Studios

Right in the center of town are two adjacent museums dedicated to these two talented entertainers and their artistic achievements. Desilu Studios is all about I Love Lucy. Inside you’ll see original costumes, props, re-created sets, Emmy awards, and lots of other goodies that you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll learn the history behind the show: it’s inception, creators, and the filming/editing machine that changed TV forever – the “three headed monster.” (Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite. I visited him on display.)

A delightful surprise to see on display was the door that served as the entrance to Studio A at CBS Columbia Square Studios, located on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Many celebrities from yesteryear used the door in making their appearance on radio shows and later, on television. In addition, Lucy and Desi used Studio A to produce the pilot for I Love Lucy.

The list below is only a partial list of Hollywood greats who have used the door. Touching the handle was the closest I’ve been to so many stars at one time! Admittedly, I felt like Lucy when she’s out “hunting” for movie stars at the Brown Derby and she says, “I have a feeling we’ve run into a whole nest of them!”

(Note that William Holden is on the list, but he probably wasn’t covered in pie…yet.)

Lucy Desi Museum

The Lucy Desi Museum takes you through the personal story of these two legends. We learn about their hometown roots, how they got into show business, their movie/stage careers, how they met, and their life together as a family.

I really enjoyed seeing this side of the museum. It is loaded with personal items and correspondence, photographs, costumes, and beautiful works of art.

I loved reading Lucie Arnaz reflect on the time her dad painted a picture for her when she was sick. The happiness that the Arnaz family shared could also be felt when viewing a portrait of Lucy kissing her cow, The Duchess of Devonshire. Simple, everyday, priceless moments.

Desi’s chair from his office at Desilu Studios can be seen at far right, as well as the picture of Lucy that hung on the wall beside it.


Lucy is ever present in Jamestown, even on the sides of buildings! These gorgeous murals were painted by the father and son team, Gary Peters and Gary Peters, Jr. The “California, Here We Come” (top left) mural holds the distinction of being the largest I Love Lucy mural in the world, spanning 1800 square feet.

Read more about Gary Peters and his process of painting these amazing murals in this great article.

I missed the fifth mural on my visit, but it’s on my list for the next time I return!

  • Check out the official website of the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum here.
Lucy’s movie projector from her Beverly Hills home

How are you celebrating “I Love Lucy Day”? Let me know with a comment below and be sure to share your favorite episode!

Thanks for reading and for visiting The Classic Movie Muse!