The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (RKO, 1939)
The last and least representative of the musicals Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made for RKO, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, based on the memoirs of Irene Castle, tells of her great love for her husband and ballroom dancing partner, Vernon. After achieving spectacular success in the days preceding World War I, the couple sees their happy, glamorous life torn apart when Vernon joins the Royal Flying Corps, while Irene makes patriotic movie serials to aid the war effort. Astaire and Rogers dance in the style of the Castles, demonstrating how the team launched a nationwide dance craze with the Tango, the Foxtrot and the Maxixe. Directed by H.C. Potter, the movie was adapted by Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Yost and Richard Sherman. 35mm print from the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab in 1989, 93 min.
Friday, September 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Night Music (NBC and syndication, 1988-1990)
Night Music, aka Sunday Night, was a late-night television show and an off-shoot of Saturday Night Live, that aired for two seasons between 1988 and 1990 as a showcase for Rock, Folk, Blues, Country, Soul, and Jazz musical artists. It was hosted by David Sanborn and Jools Holland. The initial idea of the show was to get musicians from different genres, have them perform something individually, and then have a moment where everyone would get together and do something collectively. The musical combinations were often unique, exciting, and unlike anything in television history. Unfortunately only 44 episodes were made. Performers on this video compilation of highlights from the show include James Taylor, Dr. John & Mavis Staples, Boz Scaggs, NRBQ, Al Green, Jack Bruce & Joe Walsh, Curtis Mayfield, Lyle Lovett & Fontella Bass, Carlos Santana & Wayne Shorter, Leonard Cohen & Sonny Rollins, Lou Reed, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Debbie Harry, Allen Toussaint, The Pixies, Miles Davis, Sonic Youth, Eric Clapton, Richard Thompson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Conway Twitty & the Residents. Digital presentation, 90 min.
Saturday, September 21 (2 p.m.)
An Afternoon of Silent Comedy Shorts from the Hal Roach Studio (1923-1928)
Featuring Laurel and Hardy in The Finishing Touch (1928) and The Battle of the Century (1927)–including the latter’s long lost second reel, Charley Chase in The Uneasy Three (1925), the Our Gang Kids (Joe Cobb, Mickey Daniels, Allen “Farina” Hoskins, Mary Kornman and more) in The Big Show (1923), and the female comedy team of Anita Garvin and Marion Byron in A Pair of Tights (Hal Roach, 1928), this program of silent comedy shorts will delight young and old alike. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Andrew Simpson. Digital presentation, 101 min.
Saturday, September 21 (7:30 p.m.)
Babes in Arms (MGM, 1939)
This fun-filled spin-off of the Rodgers and Hart Broadway musical features Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney as the children of vaudevillian parents. The kids aren’t included in their parent’s travels, so they set out to produce a show of their own. The third of eight movies Garland and Rooney starred in together, Babes in Arms would be the pair’s first picture under director Busby Berkeley, who would direct three more Mickey-Judy movies. It would also be the first film for MGM musical maestro Arthur Freed as producer and head of his own MGM unit. The movie retained only three of the show’s original songs, the title song, “The Lady is a Tramp” and “Where or When,” but Freed added some of his old tunes to the adaptation including ”You are My Lucky Star” and “I Cried For You.” 35mm archival film print. 94 min.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: //www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/